Social belonging is a fundamental human need—one that naturally extends to the workplace. According to the Center for Talent Innovation, when people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated and engaged, thus making them 3.5 times more likely to contribute to
their fullest potential.
Professional services network Deloitte defines employees’ sense of belonging as how organizations can foster diverse, equitable and inclusive communities for these workers and how they feel like members of the broader world. Furthermore, Deloitte states that creating a sense of belonging requires the following mutually reinforcing attributes:
- Comfort: Employees should feel comfortable at work, necessitating being treated fairly and respected by their co-workers and leaders.
- Connection: Employees should feel they have meaningful relationships with co-workers and teams, keeping them connected to organizational goals.
- Contribution: Employees should feel they contribute to meaningful outcomes, understanding how their strengths help achieve common goals.
Fostering a sense of belonging promotes company success and drives organizational performance. Belonging isn’t just beneficial for employees but for organizations, too. Employee belonging impacts wellness and happiness and affects engagement, motivation and retention. When employees feel connected and comfortable in the workplace, they feel accepted and may contribute to their respective organizations’ shared goals.
How to Create a Sense of Belonging
Here are some common ways to help foster a sense of belonging in the workplace:
- Ensure managers are checking in regularly with employees both personally and professionally.
- Ask employees for input through discussions with their managers or channels such as surveys.
- Give employees a voice by designing meetings so that everyone participates.
- Create a psychologically safe space where employees feel secure in taking risks and being vulnerable in front of others.
Thoughtful belonging efforts can bolster the overall employee experience by allowing staff to bring their authentic selves to work. In turn, these initiatives may carry additional workplace benefits, such as enhanced productivity and performance.