Humans are wired for connection. As the global landscape of work changes and offices are increasingly adopting hybrid/remote models, companies will need to find new ways to build community among their staff. Organizations and managers can lead by fostering intentional space for connection and acknowledging individual successes among staff.
The feeling of being connected to a community can be overlooked in hybrid work arrangements.
Belonging to a community fulfills a basic human need.
People are healthier, happier, and more productive when they feel that they belong.
Workplaces that foster a sense of community and belonging are places where employees care about the well-being of their co-workers, and are motivated to seek shared success. By working toward a common goal, these workers benefit from collaborative relationships that capitalize on each other’s strengths and enable people from different backgrounds to achieve shared progress.
When properly developed, workplace communities assist the United Nations Global Goal to reduce inequality within and among countries. By designing processes and practices that support the whole group, inequalities are diminished, and the pathway toward flourishing for all is established.
A sense of community in the workplace fulfills a basic human need for connection
From complimenting each other’s efforts to accepting personal responsibility, our Wisdom Weavers find that each person plays an active role in shaping an organization’s culture.
Wisdom Weaver Dr. Dana Ardi explains the uniting power of complimenting a job well done. She believes that people want to feel they are making a valuable contribution to the community.
I think in companies we need to always say to people, “you’re doing a good job at what you do really well,” and they don’t have to move up a ladder to get more money or more status or more rewards in the system. We have to say you’re valued by this community for the type of work you do. The future of work is the same as the past of work. People want to feel good about what they do and feel valued at what they do and be respected for the work that they do. And I think, you know, regardless of how many machines we bring into the workplace and how data drives us, people will still want to feel that they’re making a contribution to one another…We’re social creatures. We want to be in. We want to live communally.
Wisdom Weaver Arlen Solodokin highlights the importance of personal responsibility among members of a community.
I always like to think of all [workers] in this vision of being all members of a community, and I know [in] the leadership trainings that I do, I highlight the importance of personal leadership, of you taking the lead and of yourself, of your organization, of your team, regardless of their rank that you have in the organization.
Wisdom Weaver Donna P. A. Eiby finds that Covid-19 accelerated change and magnified the importance of human connection.
Community, cultures of belonging, adaptive thinking, collaboration — it’s completely changed overnight. Literally, in a month it pivoted and people [and] organizations were asking for programs around humans connecting. How do we get a culture of belonging and a hybrid workforce. . . [in] big organizations with hundreds of thousands of employees? The big or financial services as an example, so I’ve seen a big change. I love it. People become important now.
Intentional system design is crucial for creating environments in which community can flourish
Individual connection must remain a priority — especially as technological advances transform workplace practices into highly efficient and transactional behaviors. Organizations must take deliberate action to create space for listening, sharing, and growing together in order to preserve relationship-building.
Wisdom Weaver William Ayot believes that human connection fosters care for others, which influences decisions that are inclusive and community-centric.
There will be certain people who will do very, very well, and there will be less of other people who do not do so. And until we change that I think we’re in real trouble. The only way to do that is to keep a notion of community that is small enough so that everyone knows everyone and that everyone has contact with everyone shown, and so I think that there’s a need. How do we get back to this idea of the viable village community in which everybody knows everybody and everybody effectively has a say and that there is a sense of consensus, rather than top down?
Donna explains that we must design systems that foster behaviors that draw humans together.
I think all that legacy stuff gets kicked to the curb and we start looking at that which fosters social cohesion in people, and that is Community. We look at Community [as] the future of work. We have the trust to redesign how humans come in, based on what attracts us so that which compels us to come together.
Dana affirms the importance of designing systems that promote community through shared responsibility and purpose. She believes that meaning fosters human connection and understanding.
People are people and history is history, but we haven’t changed. People are social creatures. They need connection. They want to feel valued. They like community. And we can go on and on anthropologically as we tell our stories of the ages. But again, how do we create work structures? How do we create value for our societies by finding meaningful ways that people can participate? And so we don’t just have societies of haves and have nots and knowledge workers and then people without anything to do. And so I think we have to think about how do we retool not just the world of work, but the world of education, the world of community, the world of responsibility to one another. And we really have to think about futures as being linked together and all of those ecosystems because technology will eat us. It is an enabler, but it enables us to do away with things that traditionally were done with humans. So how are we going to teach humans other skills, other opportunities to find meaning?
Coaching Empowers People
The Community Development Society is one of many groups that fosters community development by convening citizens to engage in issues that directly impact their community. Community coaching and facilitation is an emerging practice that cultivates constructive dialog and supports both individual and group success. Coaches help individuals learn to thrive with the support of their community, which generates a ripple effect throughout the group.