Belonging at Work with Charles Vogl

Charles Vogl at the CultureLab podcast

Belonging is not a by-product of success – it’s a necessary condition for any team.

One of the biggest threats to exceptional performance and innovation is the failure to cultivate a sense of belonging among team members.

Top-tier organizations, whether non-profit, political, faith-based or commercial, know that meaningful connections unlock unprecedented outcomes. But too many organizations mistakenly rely on superficial, transactional relationships to connect with partners, employees, and customers.

As a passionate community builder, I have been researching the topic of belonging for quite some time, with the following question taking the centre stage in my work:

How do we nurture successful communities that promote and sustain belonging?

In this episode, I am joined by one of the most prominent experts on belonging and community building, Charles Vogl, and together, we do a deep dive into some of the foundational principles of nurturing authentic and supportive communities at work and in life.

Episode highlights
  • The importance of bringing people together around shared values and purpose.
  • “Campfire experiences” and the three criteria that need to be met for them to foster belonging.
  • Creating meaningful connections in the context of remote and hybrid work.
  • The paradox of inclusion – the role boundaries and exclusion play in creating safe spaces for people to connect.
  • “3 am friends” – what makes them so important in our lives.
  • Friends at work as a predictor of engagement and job satisfaction.
  • What we can learn about onboarding new team members from powerful initiation rituals.
  • Rituals and their role in signaling that something is important.
  • The modern symbols and “temples” – the role they play in creating an engaging and productive environment where people belong.

“We know we’ve achieved belonging when people believe that others understand them intellectually and emotionally.”

Listen to the interview in the player below or on iTunes. If you like what you hear, please leave a review, and it may be featured on a future episode.

More about Charles Vogl

Charles Vogl is an adviser, speaker, and the author of three books, including the international bestseller The Art of Community.

He works with Google in several capacities, including as a trusted thought leader for the Google School for Leaders, which develops over 20,000 Google managers. He is also a founding member of the Google Vitality Lab, which works toward innovating healing strategies in our era.

His work is used to advise and develop leadership and programs worldwide within organizations, including Airbnb, LinkedIn, Twitch, Amazon, ServiceNow,, Wayfair and the US Army.

His latest book, Building Brand Communities (with Carrie Melissa Jones), was awarded an Axiom Business Book Gold Medal. His first book, The Art of Community, won the Nautilus Silver Award for Business and Leadership.

His work reflects a calling to help leadership create a culture of belonging in the most lonely era in organizational history. Drawing on three thousand years of spiritual traditions, Charles teaches the wisdom and principles to build deep community and resilient relationships that foster innovation and integrity within organizations and around the world. He holds an M.Div. from Yale, where he studied spiritual traditions, ethics, and business as a Jesse Ball duPont Foundation scholar.

Books mentioned in this episode

The Art of Community by Charles Vogl.

Rituals for Virtual Meetings by Glenn Fajardo and Kursat Ozenc.

Social chemistry by Marissa King.

The trusted advisor by David H. Maister.

Additional resources

CultureBrained® Community – a one-of-a-kind virtual community for Heads of Culture, founders, and leaders who want to up their culture game.

The Culture Playbook Guide

Discover Your Personal Values


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