Take for example "Starbucks". They have many employees who, and as far as I understand, work for minimum wage. Do they really have a "sense of belonging"? Is it possible to have one when working for a big corporation at minimum wage? If so, how does a big organization implement that?
The answer lies in creating an aspirational culture, or a culture of opportunity. Organizations owe their employees pathways for recognition and upward mobility, with inbuilt mechanisms for mentorship and skill augmentation. In a sense, organizations promote their brand to a customer and employees alike -" this is what we stand for, this is who we are, trust us, we will take care of you!"
McJobs being devoid of these qualities are then high turnover, whereas the Starbucks job is a pathway to learning customer service and management skills under middle class values.
But yes, creating this ethos takes enormous concerted effort! Complicating matters are trends of talent poaching and paypacket competition between industry rivals (this affects mid level and up more).
Great question - happy to help you create a strategy of belonging!
With a company like Starbucks sure lots of them work for minimum wage, most jobs like Starbucks supplement low pay with store vs store competitions, store self chosen nicknames, and lots of discounts from partner organizations with huge discounts. Some other larger organizations will do monthly reviews with some sort of results based bonuses etc. If you are looking for more information feel free to give me a call.
Creating a sense of belonging is not only possible, it is critical. My research indicates that there are five key ingredients necessary for a business to scale. A sense of belonging or purpose is one of them.
A lot of research supported the fact that that salary has little impact on developing a sense of belong. As long as people are receiving what they deem to be "fair," adding additional salary or bonus-based incentives have little effect on engagement.
The key, I believe, is purpose. If you can create a compelling purpose that your employees want to believe in and if you authentically live for that purpose from the CEO and board level all the way down, you will create the "soft power" or "moral force" that enables great organizations to succeed.
My advice would be to develop regular communications to employees using whatever communications channels fit your company's culture. The smaller the organization, the easier it is to check in and evaluate whether employees feel valued. The larger the organization, the more challenging it becomes. But, don't let anything stop you from moving forward. A first step is always a positive step and you can get valuable feedback from your employees if you end the message by asking if the information presented was valuable to them and their roles in the company. You can also poll employees with this question as well to learn if they'd also like to engage in team building events, community service projects or town hall-style meetings. Hang in there and remember to take the first step and ask / engage your employees every step of the way.
Look at how the employees behave you can understand the character of the CEO.
How can this be?
The CEO's values-behaviours-mindsets (good and bad) will be converted into the corporate culture. The good culture is strong when the conversion is done well.
When you talk about "how to" create that "belonging", we are looking at:
1. The employees like the culture/ practices/ behaviours of the company.
2. Does the culture reflect on the "good" part of the CEO's values-behaviours-mindsets? if not, which part?
3. What else will make the employees like more so much so that the employees want to be part of the organisation in long-term (or join the big organisation as a family member)?
4. Plan out and make that change.
The above is a systematic, goal driven, strategic approach. There are some more factors to consider, but the above should suffice for the "how".
You should now on your way to developing a miniature culture to create that small "belonging" to test the likeness level.
Check out with me more should you still face any challenges ahead