A connected and inspired workforce gives real, bottom-line benefits.
Gains emanate from inclusion. Even greater gains are derived from belonging.
Employee engagement models routinely incorporate leadership, autonomy, flexibility and empowerment. A sense of purpose, clear objectives, and a degree of motivational incentives also help. But without a sense of inclusion and belonging, engagement will continue to fall short. Belonging and inclusion work hand in hand to produce an engaged and high-performing workforce.
The burning question is: how might you engage your workforce differently to sustain that engagement over time to ensure inclusivity and belonging?
The missing ingredient in the engagement recipe might be everboarding. While the idea of everboarding isn’t new, it does give organisations a fresh recipe for welcoming and involving employees in the company’s purpose, values and strategy. In doing so, this helps leaders unlock their peoples’ potential and enable individuals and teams to align performance with strategic goals so that they might perform to their highest points of contribution.
Present and connected
Most organisations have solid onboarding programmes that help new employees build good working relationships and kickstart their learning and career growth journeys. But what happens when the onboarding process ends? What is in place to consistently align and bring all employees in line with the organisational culture and refreshed strategies in a way that everyone understands their unique contribution to feel more valued and connected?
Most often, onboarding programmes are focused on new hires only and the opportunity of engaging with the larger majority of the talent pool tends to be left in the hands of management performance processes. Is it time to shelve the traditional onboarding programmes that have defined start and end dates in favour of an ongoing process to unlearn and relearn new ways of work designed to continuously build connection?
Connectedness is a flywheel for performance
It’s a noticeable characteristic that people who get satisfaction from their work are more present and committed – they feel connected to the organisation and feel that they belong (right seat, right skills, right place). Everboarding is a methodology that helps organisations and individuals continuously align and build connection.
Used effectively, everboarding helps to evoke thoughts like: ‘I can grow here’, ‘I can perform here’, ‘I can collaborate for impact here’, ‘I feel I belong here’. It’s an approach that helps you shape your performance landscape with culture-aligned habits to ensure that managers are encouraging the right behaviours, leveraging employee strengths and that they use positive coaching feedback mechanisms to help leadership teams tune into the employee’s voice (even the voices of the quiet or marginalised).
Everboarding also helps everyone tune into the spirit of the organisation and encourages cross-functional connection-building and trust-building conversations that will help to empower leaders and teams to move from a ‘Me’ mindset to a ‘We’ mindset. It can also help promote a more humanistic approach to incorporate alignment for hybrid working teams into the ever-evolving organisational culture.
So, essentially what everboarding really means is how an organisation says to each of its people, ‘I want you to stay connected and feel like you belong. I’m interested in your contribution, in your wellbeing and in your progress. I’m interested in you – forever’ – a powerful lever in building a psychologically safe place to work and perform.
Everboarding helps take care of employee growth and development needs, integrating lifelong learning as a key aspect of career development. With this mindset shift, organisations can meet the needs of their talent pool (who may be hungry to learn and grow) by integrating learning and development into the flow of work, ensuring a learning continuum culture.
Some truth-seeking questions…
- How is my organisation helping our employees feel included and connected?
- What beliefs do our organisation hold that create a sense of belonging?
- What role does our current onboarding play in helping to build diverse, inclusive, high-performing teams?
- How might everboarding help us get the most out of connection-building and trust-building conversations?
- In what ways can everboarding help us truly shape and retain our talent pool for the future?
Everboarding is not a one-size-fits-all silver bullet. However, when it is tailored to your organisation’s unique needs, it can ensure a sense of inclusivity and help to build an enabling environment where people can fulfil their potential.
The gist is that when people feel they belong, they perform better. If you want them to belong, you need to immerse them into the culture over time. This means building an everboarding connection continuum that works for your organisation.
Irwin van Stavel, Senior Partner at LRMG and Managing Director LRMG Africa. For guidance on how to make the move from onboarding to everboarding in your organisation, contact Irwin van Stavel at email@example.com or contact LRMG: +27 87 941 5764, www.lrmg.co.za. The LRMG Group of companies specialises in igniting the performance of people.