To “belong” or “fit in”

Some teams are developing “house rules” or team charters, to set out to desired tone and behaviors. A great, easy-to-implement process, where unspoken expectations and reservations can be brought to the surface.

Businesses develop company values, where employees’ feeling of being valued and welcome will frequently feature centrally. Sometimes, the employees are even mentioned as the most important thing for the company and encouraged to bring their “true self” to work.

Truly belonging to a team, rather than just fitting in, means being accepted and valued – even if you’re different. Having your special skills and capabilities appreciated, and your background, boundaries and priorities respected.

This first day of the Ramadan is a good occasion to think about operationalizing your team or company value of belonging – or encouraging your employees to bring their “true self to work”. For Ramadan participants, the daily routine changes radically, almost to an extent where day becomes night and vice versa. Some businesses respect that, allowing their employees to start and leave earlier in the day (this is the case at global service giant ISS) or to have shorter working hours.

Team or company values are void of meaning and credibility if they are not expressed as behaviors. As desired behaviors, values become actionable guideposts, not just posters in the reception area.

For team members to “belong” rather than ”fit in” you’ll need to look at how you address sexism, racism, ethnocentrism, etc. The potential discomfort from having such discussions in your team will be totally worthwhile.