Employee Stickiness: Everyone wants to be wanted in some way or the other

As humans, isn’t social belonging, or a feeling of being loved by someone or more, a fundamental need? Yet there are more people I meet at many workplaces or outside who don’t feel belonging or feel isolated. Are we losing our very purpose of creating a culture? Has the idea of money, or the idea of making money in the whole commotion of the current race of becoming a Unicorn or the race to the finish line of the IPO gone to our heads? Well, yes, we all are in business to make money; of course, none of my statements above denies that, but in the path to get there, we surely do end up trampling a lot of feelings and the belongingness of an employee.

An organisation is a sum of all employees and their work. It is a sum of all the diversities of thought, emotions, and feelings that radiate onto the organisation to what we today call its culture. Every company has a look and feel we identify with. It’s like a country. As a nation, we identify with something in the country to call our own, which is why we feel like we belong to a particular nation. Be it any nation, or just like our homes. We belong! All of this finally stems out of one thing and one thing alone… Behaviours from the heart. From the CEO to the fresher in the organisation, it is the sum of all behaviours that constitute a look and feel of the company, or what we call the culture of the organisation that we most relate with or belong to, to call it our own.

And then, simply put, it’s the repetition or the consistency of the same behaviour on an hourly and daily basis that forms the foundation of the culture and even a change in the culture if need be. Where does this behaviour from the heart come from? From affirmations to self or by saying it time and again and by living it continuously in the present.

Imagine, If there is a CEO who tells the HR Head to fire the bottom two performing employees monthly. How would you view that organization? With a lot of love? No right? You will never join that organization or probably even ever want to read up about it. How can that organization even emit a culture of success or guided success for employees? There is no way there would be belongingness in that organization. The only employees who may feel a sense of belonging would be trying to impress the CEO and getting brownie points accordingly. You can rest assured that most of the employees would be active on job portals daily trying to get out of that situation. How does that help any organization become successful? Can you imagine a company’s sales soaring if 70% of the employee strength puts all their energies and emotions into a daily job search? What a pity and a sad waste of resources, money and time!

These things are associated with a massive cost drain from a satellite view. One doesn’t realize this, but sometimes the more intangible the issue, the more draining it becomes. Exclusion of any kind is damaging because it hurts. No one wants to be left out. Not only does it physically hurt but imagine the mental pain and trauma. We have all experienced this at one time or another, then why we have to inflict it on someone is beyond me.

Yes, there is a lack of belongingness apparent in a bad culture. You are itching not to get unnecessary attention that can get you into trouble. There is also another extreme to all of this. The ‘lack of belongingness’ in the ‘let it be’ culture of an organization that feels that they are giving their employees all the freedom and are letting them be, or as they call it, a ‘Good Culture’. Does good culture mean letting it be and giving employees so much freedom that the motivation to do well or be successful deteriorates? I have been an HR leader myself that believed in providing too much space. It doesn’t work after some time. It kills the passion and drives to do some excellent work; it also creates boredom and a certain lack of sense of the challenge.

It’s not a one size fits all situation by a long shot. It deserves attention. Do you know why? Because at the end of the day, every employee wants something to get self-going. Every employee is different. Every employee wants to be valued in their own personal way. It finally boils down to something that comes before ‘Belongingness’. It boils down to one word… “CARE”.

Think about it, if we care… not unanimously, but individually about that very human being, will the summation of that Care not be equal to a unanimous feeling of ‘Belonging’?

Belongingness Formula: Care 1 + Care 2 + Care (infinity) = Unified Belongingness at a Workplace and beyond…

Let’s start with one person today in your team and see the viral magic, as witnessed by someone who has learnt it the hard way but has seen magic unfolding right in front of him.


~ HR Expert


Stay up to date! Get the latest content delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the Emeritus Newsletter for our latest blogs, free bite-sized videos, course updates & more.

Courses on Leadership Category