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The 3 Pillars Your Company Needs to Cultivate a Culture of Belonging Part two of a two-part series identifying how to build a company that people want to stay with.

By Patti Fletcher Edited by Ryan Droste

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

We previously established what it means to build a culture of belonging. Now, we'll explore the practices needed to create this culture.

Whether you are a startup with minimal funds or preside over a large workforce, it's the culture that will make people want to stay with your company. We need to start thinking about this from day one, because it's so hard to go back and fix your culture. As you define your company's environment, keep the following pillars in mind.

Purposeful alignment

When I say I am purpose-driven, I mean that my purpose is defined by something far bigger than my outside life. For me, I want to level the playing field so that all women can disrupt. I want to change the way the world views female disrupters. I want to do this because I believe that all talent should thrive through work. And I realize everyone doesn't share my purpose.

We need to get dynamic on how we view purpose. Shifting and expanding our views on purpose alignment will help bring us closer to a more inclusive culture. If we recognize the person who has the purpose of changing the world through work, we must also recognize the person working to fulfill an alternative purpose, such as home and family. We must accept the varied and distinct reasons people work. And during a time when people are expecting more from their employers, we must respect an individual's resolve toward work — and then create a culture that supports it.

Related: How to Build a Company Culture That Retains Loyal Employees

New company values

Workers were previously lured to companies based on pay and benefits, for the most part. While this is important, workers are expecting companies to raise the bar. It's no longer enough to simply provide a paycheck and basic healthcare. Instead, people now want to work for a company that values and respects how their workers spend their time within the company.

More importantly, they want to work for a company that cares how they spend their time outside of it. For example, they expect to get mental health help, if needed — not just for themselves, but also for their family. They want to work for a company that supports and respects their ability to decompress when the work day is done.

Ultimately, people want to work for a company that invests in their well-being just as much as their financial health.

Related: 4 Relationship Tips to Increase Employee Commitment and Loyalty

The employee experience

Rather than look at the employee xxperience, it's important to remember that employees hold significant power. Employee's experience represents the employee's perspective so much so that they can look in the mirror and say, "I belong at this company. I belong in this job."

The employee experience represents the top-down definition of the entity in defining how work will get done. The worker must be at the center of the organization's definition of employee experience. By doing so, we are going to retain valuable workers.

While traditional practices — tech and innovation — continue to contribute to a company's worth, it's not everything. The conventional life-cycle of a worker begins with their application and ends when they leave the company. But what if we extended this relationship beyond an employee's end date? By doing so, we allow for the growth of connection with each other and with the company itself. In return, employees are more likely to make referrals and recommendations to a company that they feel linked to and that holds their same values.

To this end, an employee's experience should now include the cultivation of these relationships. Working adults often find most of their friendships in current and previous workplaces. Organizations should recognize this and ask: What are we doing to set up these long-term relationships?

We need to establish a new set of values that support a worker's sense of belonging. If we focus on purpose alignment, new company values and the employee experience, we're headed in the right direction in creating a space where people feel it is the right place to stay.

Patti Fletcher

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® VIP

Leadership Futurist and Gender Equity Advocate

Dr. Patti Fletcher is the author of Disrupters: Success Strategies from Women Who Break the Mold (Entrepreneur Press 2018). Dr. Patti is an enterprise tech CMO, gender equity expert, board member and keynote speaker who has spent her career at the intersection of technology, business and people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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