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Leadership development programmes that create belonging

4 in 10 people are planning to leave their jobs in the next 2 years – a third of whom would leave without another job lined up. There are so many factors affecting retention right now, but one of the biggest is belonging.

Us humans have a deep need to fit in or feel like we are an important member of a group. When thinking about the workplace, this has wider implications than just being friends with your colleagues – it also gives us a sense of security when it comes to acceptance and inclusion.

It all starts with community

The 2023 Global Culture Study by O.C Tanner Institute has many interesting and eye-opening statistics that every HR team will want to see.

Their findings show that 72% of people say it’s important for them to feel like part of a community at work. And, they found that when organisations have strong workplace communities, there is a 62% increase in employees’ estimated tenure.

And, strong workplace communities have 785% higher odds that employees feel like they belong. That’s a pretty hard stat to ignore.

Belonging leads to better retention

An increase of 43% to be exact. It also leads to higher engagement, less burnout and increased productivity.

McKinsey & Associates also found that the second highest reason that people quit their jobs is not feeling a sense of belonging at work (51%), just behind not feeling valued (54%). It’s pretty conclusive that belonging is essential to keeping hold of your people.

How to create belonging

There are 2 key areas that HR teams have control over – environment and skills.

1. Environment

There has never been a more important time for human, effective leadership. We hear about technology and AI replacing people in roles, but only humans are able to create connections, create teams, create inspiration. And that’s what we really need to focus on with our leadership teams. This level of human leadership needs to be role modelled throughout your organisations so people can start to connect with it.

We also need to rethink how we use physical space. People don’t need the office for a desk and wifi; they need it for a sense of community, belonging, to inspire each other. This may require a rethink – we don’t want to bring people into the office just so they can sit on Teams calls all day. And when it comes to virtual working, we need to create space for people to chat, have one-to-one conversations and create real connection, real relationships with their colleagues. This is vital for building that sense of community.

2. Skills

We believe that this period of our history is the shining moment for L&D. When people go on a develop programme it’s one of the few times when they get together with a group of people. So you need to choose programmes that allow time for proper networking, deep and meaningful connection – real sharing of information and experiences. And that’s for both virtual and face-to-face. So really think about the way your development programmes are structured.

Then you need to think about the kind of development you’re offering people.

Elke Edwards, Founder of Ivy House, says: “Leadership and the role of the human leader will be the golden thread that runs throughout your organisation. And, there’s a whole new focus on personal development – how do people build their own personal resilience, build core strength and take true ownership of their wellbeing?”. (TIP: We’re running an event on 19th January on how to get the wellbeing thing right – register here.)

The team here at Ivy house have spent years tweaking and changing our programmes to ensure that all of these pieces are put in place, and that it’s done it well. If you’d like to find out more about the Ivy House learning, have a read of our latest brochure.





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