In Groysberg’s and Abrahams’ model of motivation, belonging is met by:

  • Making employees feel part of the team
  • Being people-oriented
  • Caring about people on a personal level

There’s still a debate going on about whether hybrid work supports or interferes with collaboration and teamwork.

A recent CEO survey in The Australian showed that quite a few Australian CEOs will be promoting an increased amount of time spent in the office in 2023.

They say it’s to increase teamwork, collaboration and wellbeing.

The conclusion that Ticky Fullerton (Business Editor at the Australian) drew in her analysis of the survey results was that ‘CEOs are realising that too many days working from home is eating away at their workplace culture, often at an intangible level that cannot be measured easily.’

I could really get stuck into this latter point: ‘intangible’ – what does that actually mean? That it can’t be measured easily? Have they tried? How have they tried? What does the research on this say?  If it’s intangible and can’t be measured easily can we really say that it’s detrimental to workplace culture?  I don’t think so.

The article also highlights that some CEOs are sticking with hybrid and others are working out how to do a better version of hybrid.

I’m very much of the view that culture, and a sense of belonging to it, shouldn’t be affected by location of work. The question we should be asking is ‘what’s the best way to grow belonging no matter where we work?’ And the reason we should be asking that question is that the overall goal of leadership efforts is to increase employee motivation. The Groysberg and Abrahams model weights belonging as 25% of the motivation equation, so it’s worth leveraging belonging, as employees experience it, not just as we want it to be.

Diagram with 4 quandrants showing Belonging is one of the key levers for good leadership

I don’t dispute that it’s great to get together with people face to face, and that face to face interaction is wonderful.  But I’ve seen too little of leaders adapting the way they do leadership remotely to say that we can’t do remote belonging and collaboration well.

In their article, Groysberg and Abrahams identify some good practices.  Ethan Bernstein and Tsedal Neely, whose work I’ve written about previously, also identify some great ways to do remote collaboration.



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