Shared Learnings
| May 13, 2024

Belonging in the Workplace: Building an Adolescent-friendly Culture

On April 29, 2024, we had the honor of being in conversation with Dr. Joanna Williams, Senior Director of Research, Search Institute, and Julia Hillengas, Executive Director, PowerCorps. Below you will find resources and insights to continue the conversation.


When building a culture of belonging in a multigenerational workforce where adolescents (18-25 years old) are present, you can strengthen their sense of inclusion by better understanding their developmental needs.

A few reminders from Joanna Williams, Ph.D., Search Institute:

  • Belonging is rooted in biology and is necessary for survival (Allen,2020; Baumeister & Leary,1995; Maslow,1943).
  • Understanding who we are and where we fit in are aspects of identity development, a core task in adolescence and emerging adulthood.

From Julia Hillengas, PowerCorps, we were gifted examples of how our organizational mindset and workforce practices can better support adolescents and strengthen their sense of belonging:

  • At our worst, we disregard relationships as secondary and/or create “to” or “for” relationships while at our best, we center relationships (with each other, with young people, with partners), aiming to create a “with” partnership.
  • At our worst, we assume that others are not doing their job/are incompetent/don’t care and do not talk with them directly while at our best, we assume the best and ask questions to seek understanding.

On the Web  

To Read

You can find a recording of the Learning Session below or on YouTube. Tune in, rewatch, or share with friends to pick up all the learning dust you can!

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