Mattering in the Workplace

Mattering in the Workplace

Does Mattering Still Matter?

Has belonging and mattering in the workplace lost momentum or mojo lately? What was on everyone’s mind a year or so ago has now been replaced by AI or the obsession with bringing everyone back to an office. It seems like business focus on cultural necessities varies and changes as rapidly as the next big thing on your LinkedIn feed. Talent investments in the area of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion have been among some of the first to go as companies have been trimming expenses.

It’s almost as if we’re saying, “Everyone belongs here…Now go over there and get to work and matter quietly…”

The future of work in our lifetime is people.

That’s so important, we’ll repeat it: The future of work in our lifetime is people.

Everyone Matters

And that starts with believing and acting on the principle that Everyone is Unique. If your current core values as an organization do not champion that belief, then you are saying, “Shhh – go matter quietly.”

Having Everyone Believing and coming together around the value and celebration of individuals across all three parts of their minds – Cognitive, Affective, Conative – is a foundational practice that organizations must live to bring a true sense of belonging and mattering to the workplace. If not, you are saying, “Shhh – only parts of you matter.”

The humanworks8 philosophy of The 8 brings together everything that creates a culture of belonging and mattering:

Everyone’s Unique

Everyone Believes

Everyone Connects

Everyone Contributes

Everyone Rises

Everyone Learns

Everyone Thrives

And it culminates with bringing work to life and life to work – Everyone Matters

Believing that everyone is inherently significant, and taking specific and tangible actions to bring this to the forefront of your culture, from how you interview and onboard new talent to how offboard and transition talent in the best and worst of times.

Leadership and Mattering in the Workplace

The power of a strong belonging culture comes from individual leaders finding their own way into the concept of belonging and mattering.  A company-wide program is only as strong as its individual leaders and executives belief in and role modeling around their perspectives and actions on the topic.

How do you get your executive and leadership teams to act differently around the belief that Everyone Matters?

First thing’s first: Let’s agree that we all live in this world so must take action and be practitioners. What does it mean to be a practitioner? On-going, active engagement, learning and practice.

Ways Into DEI, Belonging and Mattering in the Workplace

Mattering begins and ends with me. It’s my job – no one else’s. I have a choice. Think about that – Does every people leader in your organization believe that? And if they don’t start there, what good will any organizational program have?

If you’ve found yourself feeling guilty for not leading the conversation on this topic before, cut yourself some slack. The second-best time is today.  The second-best time is right now.

True belonging and mattering starts in hearts. So start in the heart…

How do you feel about the idea?

How have you experienced it?

How has it impacted you personally?

What stories are you telling?

Jars

“It’s hard to read the label when you are inside the jar.”

Let me share three jars I am in:

  1. I am in a male jar.
  2. I am in a white jar.
  3. I am in a LGBTQ+ jar.

The only way to truly see inside the jar is to get out, and the moments we need to create are conversations with employees and leaders on how to get out of our jars…

Three Ways Out:

  1. Lead with mistakes and then move to how you overcame them. Mistakes such as thinking you already knew (lack of knowledge), not being vocal enough, thinking it was someone else’s work.
  2. You will see it when you believe it.
  3. Listen until your head hurts and heart swells – then you may be touching understanding. Share what you don’t know versus what you think you do.

Use this image to help you and help others – allow it to start moments of conversations around belonging.

Diverse Choices

Challenge yourself: What experiences can you curate for your life to evaporate ignorance and biases?

I have choices in how I live my life. Can I make more diverse choices?

Consider what you read. My bookshelves look so different over the last few years. How did that happen? I started asking others what I should be reading on this topic versus going with what I knew…I am curating my reading so very differently than I was.

Bubbles

What do children like to do most with bubbles? Pop them. Maybe look for a moment in awe…and then run after them and pop them.

Pop them because they are hard to catch – because they almost torment in how quickly they escape. Children are motivated to run faster – pop quicker.

We all have a bubble around us at times. It’s thin but feels protective. We don’t think anyone can see it. We may not even realize it’s there because it is so transparent. If only we could capture that childhood quality of wanting to pop as many as possible as quickly as possible.

Open ourselves up for understanding. Open ourselves up for re-learning what we thought we knew. Seeing something anew as if for the first time. Having an a-ha moment that brings clarity. A dawning. A recognition.

Let’s try one – I’m a part of the LGBTQ+ community. Any bubbles you have around you on that topic?

Let me burst two….

1 – I don’t own anything with a rainbow flag on it. I don’t like that many different colors all in one place. Bubble burst – sometimes even within the LGBTQ+ community.

2 – My husband and I have been together for 35 years. That even amazes me. I am still shocked when I state that fact to heterosexual couples that I may meet for the first time, and they give me this look of amazement when it seems so natural to me – bubble burst.

I am constantly working to live a life filled with gratitude, peace, and love. It may not always check all the boxes for a specific community. It may not check all your boxes. And that’s ok – what can we learn from one another about the life you are living and how it can add to and inform mine?

Pop – Bubble Burst – New Perspective.

How can you burst a bubble by just being yourself? Maybe it’s one of your own bubbles –maybe it’s someone else’s.

How can you be more inclusive and change a mindset or call out a behavior that goes against what you believe to be true?

Burst a stereotype bubble.

Burst a race bubble.

Burst a gender bubble.

Be a child again and see things differently.

Moments of Belonging Matter

Using an image to open up the dialogue can spur great moments of conversation. Leaders and executives must find their own personal way into the belonging and mattering conversation – because it must start there, with the heart.

Make the moment matter because it matters to you.

How can you lead that effort? Moments of belonging matter.

The humanworks8 You Matter Here Conversation Planner is a tool that kickstarts these moments. Let it be a jumping off point to other questions you could consider for this practice. Help leaders discover how to have meaningful one-on-one conversations that show and elevate their interest and caring about the person sitting next to them.

One small question from a member of the HR team or a leader can be the highlight of an employee’s day. Multiple moments build into an employee experience that is memorable and supports someone giving their best effort in a role, feeling a part of something.

Let’s keep practicing together – reach out and share an image or technique you use, a book you read that made you pause, a speaker that made you see something from a new perspective…

For more mattering and belonging insights, listen to this blog post in its original podcast form in Episode 9 of Culture(&): The Future of Workplace Culture.