Building a culture of belonging

Culture isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you must nurture every step of the process. But how do you do that? Elizabeth Tancreti, People & Culture specialist at, shares what tools and tactics her team uses to build and nurture a culture of belonging.

Building a culture of belonging

A strong workplace culture goes beyond camaraderie. It encourages employees to bring their whole selves to work and creates a safe space where they feel integral to a purpose-driven community. This culture not only influences job satisfaction and retention rates but also fuels innovation, creativity, and a collective commitment to organizational goals. 

I firmly believe that a strong workplace culture doesn’t arise by accident. It must be nurtured at every step of the process. That means not only defining the values that guide your company’s mission and vision but actively embedding each value into the daily activities that everyone at your company engages in. 

Culture isn’t something that happens to you; it’s something you help cultivate. When employees feel a sense of belonging, they become more engaged, contribute their best, and create a positive ripple effect throughout the company. 

Core values drive belonging

At, our core values drive our culture of belonging: 

Our company's core values of transparency, empathy, responsibility, and awkwardness have played a pivotal role in defining it. From the very first welcome email sent to new hires to the monthly all-hands meeting, where our executive team transparently shares the good and the challenging company-wide news. 

When we have team members who feel like they belong, especially those who feel that sense early on, they are more likely to assist a new team member, help out a cross-functional team contributor with a stretch project, bring a new culture idea to our team, and share a sense of responsibility.

How we have incorporated a sense of belonging into our company culture

Your employees are the foundation of your company. As your values become ingrained within your workforce, various programs and initiatives will naturally emerge that align with these values and are embraced by your employees who exemplify them.

As a fully remote and globally distributed company with over 250+ employees, we at must be very intentional in building our company culture for it to be effective and impactful.

Our values are all great pillars to build our cultural efforts off of and are the life source of programs like our allyship donut check-ins, our multiple touch points of getting folks together to build trust batteries outside of just their day-to-day tasks, and employee-led programs as well.

We’ve introduced a suite of programs designed to foster a culture of belonging that goes beyond traditional team-building exercises. The goal? Create a workplace environment where employees can truly be themselves. 

Let’s dive in!

Donation matching program

In line with our core values of responsibility and empathy, we created the donation matching program in partnership with Percent Pledge. It allows employees to donate—on a monthly or annual basis—to a cause that matters most to them; in return, will match each donation up to a specific amount. 

Why is this program important? Making a positive impact is important, and donating to causes that employees support is a natural reflection of the company's identity. 

Ami Ambassador Program

Our People Team recognizes the importance of events in fostering cross-functional relationships. Even better if those events and activities have personal significance to each individual. 

Thus, the Ami Ambassador Program was born. Volunteer-led; this program consists of monthly employee-led events, like lunch and learn sessions on various topics, donation drives, monthly health challenges, and more. 

Wondering what “Ami” means? Team members at are referred to as "Amis," which means "friend" in French.

Sip’N’Sees and Donut Chats

In a remote environment, casual encounters in hallways or at the "water cooler" are impossible. To address this, we have incorporated monthly Sip'n'Sees and Serendipity chats. 

Sip’n’Sees provides an opportunity for the entire company to gather and learn something new together. As the name implies, employees are encouraged to bring a beverage of choice to each event, whether that be their go-to coffee or a glass of wine. Previous events have included mediation learning sessions, unconscious bias training workshops, and charcuterie board-making classes.

We also use Donut, a Slack-based app that randomly matches team members for one-on-one introductory chats. These Donut chats are a fun and low-effort way for employees to connect with folks they may not have regular contact with at the company. Team members are encouraged to discuss anything they'd like unrelated to work, such as hobbies or interests. Of course, all chats are optional!

By giving our employees opportunities to connect with others and play or learn together, we allow them the opportunity to de-mask their work selves and just exist in space with others. They are small doses of inclusion, but they continue to build off of each other and allow folks chances to get to know each other outside of their day-to-day tasks and roles, finding things that connect them as well. Connection builds community.

Employee interest-based Slack channels

Remote environments should intentionally encourage communication and connection. This is why we created various interest-based Slack channels for employees to chat virtually about a variety of topics. Topics include  #women-who-code, #elder-emos, and #our-weekends—a channel where members share pictures of their recent weekend activities. 

When that lens is narrowed from the whole company to a smaller group of employees who share those things, it can increase one’s sense of psychological safety and empower everyone to feel that safety more and more outside of just those channels. And in these, you often get more specified support around similar challenges or successes.

Mental health support

All culture-focused initiatives may become ineffective if employers fail to consider the role of mental health in the workplace. That's why we partner with Modern Health, an online service providing mental health and career coaching. Modern Health allows employees to book sessions with coaches and therapists and provides a library of mental health resources like ebooks, recorded sessions via special topics, and much more to improve their well-being.

Scaling our culture as we grow

Scaling an inclusive culture is always a work in progress. Of course, what works for a 50-person team might not work for a 250+-person team. That's why we regularly audit and adjust company-wide programming—and take cues from our employees. After all, company culture begins and ends with the people you work with every day.