David Sprinks is an author and an expert at building communities, with companies such as Udemy and Google using his teachings and frameworks.
In his book, “The Business of Belonging” he explores the idea that companies can improve their bottom line by creating a sense of belonging among employees, customers, and communities.
Whilst this sounds like a ‘fluffy’ topic, I can assure you that the book is extremely practical and I am positive that you will take something away from it that you can apply to your business.
You only have to look at CrossFit to realise the power of community and belonging. The fanaticism of its followers has led it to become the most dominant fitness trend of all time and for some to even compare it to a cult. Although I think that may be a harsh assessment!
Much of the success of CrossFit is down to the strong focus on community, tapping in to a primal need for human social engagement.
I’ve put together a few of the key takeaways from David Sprinks’ book in the hope that it encourages you to read it yourself and apply some of its principles to your business:
Sprinks argues that a sense of belonging is a powerful motivator that can drive employee engagement, customer loyalty, and overall business success.
As this global study shows, a sense of belonging emerged as the strongest driver of employee engagement – ahead of typical drivers like trust in leadership and ability for career growth.
A sense of belonging not only meets your employees’ basic needs, it inspires their work and drives better business results, giving you a better return on your investment.
The author emphasises that belonging must be purposeful and meaningful to have a real impact on the bottom line. This means that companies must go beyond simply creating a fun office culture and instead focus on creating a sense of purpose and connection among employees and customers.
Sprinks stresses the importance of leadership in creating a sense of belonging. He argues that leaders must set the tone and lead by example, demonstrating their commitment to belonging and creating an environment that supports it.
Cultivating a sense of belonging will help your team be inspired, productive and engaged. And that leads to greater results.
The author notes that embracing diversity is crucial for creating a sense of belonging. Companies must strive to create an inclusive workplace culture that celebrates differences and recognises the unique perspectives and experiences of all employees.
Diversity is often viewed purely in the context of ethnicity or other demographics, but it is much more than that. By employing people with differing skillsets, backgrounds and thought processes, you reduce the chance of creating an ‘echo chamber’ in your business and bring new ideas to the table. Your business can improve its problem solving abilities, creativity and effectiveness.
Sprinks argues that companies can build a sense of belonging by creating a sense of community. This can be done by encouraging employees to participate in team building activities, hosting events, and fostering open communication and collaboration.
This concept is nothing new, and in fact, if you were to ask most people what they thought of first when you asked them about community at work, it would probably be some sort of team building activity. These are definitely things to keep in the toolbox, but are actually just a small part of what it takes to build a successful, cohesive team that has achieved a sense of belonging.
The Impact on Business Success
Sprinks concludes that companies that prioritise belonging are more likely to see improvements in employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and overall business success. He argues that by focusing on creating a sense of belonging, companies can differentiate themselves from the competition and achieve long-term success.
Companies can spend thousands of pounds (or even a lot more!) on team building. Often this is to attract the best talent, incentivise their team or, from a rather cynical view on my part…win a ‘Top 100’ award. The fact is, it takes more than events and a company manual to build community, but when you manage to achieve this in your business, it can have a massive positive effect on key business metrics.
Employees that feel part of the ‘tribe’ will be more dedicated, less likely to do the types of things you don’t want them to do (miss work without good reason, steal, treat customers badly etc.) and more productive when they are at work. Customers that feel part of your community will spend more money with you and will be less likely to seek out alternative providers.
In a post-pandemic age of remote working, zoom calls and digital customer journeys, I think it is incredibly important to consider how you can foster a sense of belonging and community within your team and customers, it may just provide you with a competitive advantage and tangible business success.
Overall, “The Business of Belonging” presents a compelling case for the importance of belonging in the modern business world. By creating a sense of purpose and community, companies can improve employee engagement, drive customer loyalty, and achieve long-term success.
I highly recommend checking out the book if you’re looking for something new to read, and want to sink your time into something that can have real-world application to your business.