This Is Actually What Employees Want to Hear to Feel Valued At work

There’s a new study for the University of Exeter that’s throwing a lot of old beliefs about employee happiness and mental wellness out the window.

Traditionally, leaders have thought that fairness and inclusion were the keys to a healthy workplace. However, these new findings are showing that it’s not enough.

As lead author, Dr. Christopher Begeny says,

“Organizations and other groups often recognize the importance of members treating each other fairly — with dignity and without bias. In six studies of workplaces and other groups, we find that this is indeed key to fostering individuals’ sense of belonging. However, individuals also need to be shown that they have some distinct value to the group.

“When colleagues or fellow group members show interest and appreciation for an individual’s more distinguishing qualities, that individual benefits.

“This kind of distinctive treatment has real benefits for mental health too, including less anxiety and depression.”

It makes sense, as people we all want to fit in and be part of a group. However, at the same time, no one wants to feel like they’re just another cog in the chain.

Every employee at your business has been chosen to fill their role for a reason, and therefore, it’s important that these people are reminded of just how skilled they are on a regular basis. 

When asked how organisations could embed this feedback into their workplace, Dr. Begeny said: “It helps to have supervisors with the time and energy to recognize and tap into the particular skills and knowledge of the different people they supervise.

“Another method is to create well-developed systems of mentorship, allowing people to share their experience and expertise.

“This can also foster a workplace culture that is not just inclusive, but value-affirming — where people regularly seek each other out for advice, which is beneficial to both parties.”

Dr. Begeny finally concluded by saying, “Individuals need to feel more than inclusion. As well as ‘fitting in’, they need to ‘stand out’ — to feel that they have some distinct value and worth that they bring to the group.”