Ask Amy — Practical Advice for Supervisors: How Can I Promote a Sense of Belonging Among Employees?

A Message from Amy Bosley, Vice President, Organizational Development and Human Resources

Think back to a time when you were in a situation where you felt as though you did not belong. Whether it was at work or in your personal life, did you feel left out? Did you feel as though you were not included, as though you could not speak freely, or as though you could not be your authentic self? Whatever your example, I would bet you remember exactly how you felt in that moment. Now, I invite you to think of your role as a supervisor, because you play a pivotal role in helping to foster a community that emphasizes the importance of belonging.

How might we foster an environment of belonging, you ask? This month, I’ve asked two guest writers to answer, Lauren Kelly, director, equal opportunity and employee relations, and Ryan Kane, assistant vice president, organizational development and inclusion.

By Lauren Kelly, Director, Equal Opportunity and Employee Relations, and Ryan Kane, Assistant Vice President, Organizational Development and Inclusion

First, let us start with reflection. As supervisors, we can take an opportunity to explore the current cultures of our teams. Talk to your team, and pay careful attention to employee engagement. Who is participating and contributing in meetings? Who is taking initiative? Who seems to be sidelined or searching for a way to contribute?

Individuals who feel a sense of belonging are more likely to feel engaged with their work. What can we learn from their sense of belonging? How might we connect with those employees that we feel are disconnected? When is the last time we asked them how they are doing or what energizes them about their work? We can gain valuable insights and increase trust by actively listening to our employees and demonstrating our genuine care and concern for each member of our team.

It is all of our responsibility — as supervisors and as colleagues — to include others in a way that empowers employees to be who they are.

We invite you, again, to reflect on that time where you did not feel as though you belonged. What could have helped with that? What were you hoping for from someone else? Now, how might we translate those experiences into action?

It starts with looking at the people on our teams as individuals with individual needs. For example, do you know how each individual on your team prefers to be celebrated or how they like to receive feedback? This personalization is one of the many ways we can help foster a community where our employees feel like they belong.

We can learn so much from each other if we open the door to meaningful conversation and use these conversations to enhance our Valencia community by demonstrating that we value all individuals and what they have to offer.

Ask Amy” is designed to provide supervisors with guidance to successfully navigate opportunities and challenges in your daily work, as you create a culture for employee success within your teams. Each month, I, along with featured guest contributors, will address a question and offer practical solutions from which all supervisors can benefit.

If you would like to ask a question, simply email me with “Ask Amy” in the subject line. Submissions will be included anonymously in the Supervisor Segment and The Grove, and will be addressed monthly as they are received.

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