Feeling left out or ignored at work can have tremendously negative effects on workers’ well-being. In a recent survey, researchers at the University of Ottawa found that workplace ostracism does greater harm to employees’ happiness than outright harassment. But what does feeling “included” at work even mean? And how can managers foster an environment where all employees — regardless of age, race, gender, or personality type — feel valued?
Employees who feel included are “much more productive, their performance is higher, they are more loyal, they are more trustworthy, and they work harder,” says Christine Riordan, provost and professor of management at the University of Kentucky.
Help people shine
David Schabel was a senior project analyst at an Ohio-based enterprise software company when Robert* was hired as part of an expansion. Robert “came in with a lot of great ideas,” says David, but he was quiet and shy, and didn’t always know how to interact with his mostly Type-A colleagues. As a result, Robert was soon being left out of discussions, meetings, and working dinners, which meant that he was losing out on new assignments and work projects. “We needed to identify how to enable him to succeed,” David says.
David soon realized that one major reason for Robert’s solitude was that he felt out of his depth. “We had hired Robert for a role that didn’t match his skills and interests,” David says, “so he was being brushed aside by coworkers because he couldn’t do what came easily to them.” After several months of meeting Robert for coffee with a handful of other colleagues, David assigned him to a group that focused more on strategic objectives, which he knew would be a better fit based on the conversations they’d had. “Robert truly came alive in this new role,” David says. “Before long, he had assumed the position of managing the group,” and was being included around the office.
By reassigning Robert to a project that better aligned with his skill set, “the organization avoided losing a valuable person and employee,” says David. “We learned to repurpose Robert in a role that maximized not only his personal fulfillment, but also his value to the company.” Harvard Business review…Carolyn O’Hara
AUGUST 27, 2014
*Not their real names
Who are the members of your team family? Those who are also pursuing the same vision, whether they are employees of the company, members of the community, online community, church members or family members. Do they feel ostracized? What is the greater good that is trying to be achieved? Connect & Network rather than compete. (sign up to be apart of TeamFamily businesses by sending us your information via email on our website)