The Four Components of Belonging in the Workplace
When employees feel connected to their employer, they feel purposeful towards their work, increasing productivity and lowering turnover - but how do we facilitate a culture where everyone feels like they belong?
On Season 5, episode 4 of the Survive and Thrive podcast, host Jennifer Ayres discusses fostering a culture of belonging that provides all employees with the motivation to excel.
Why “Belonging” Matters
Before we cover the four components of belonging and how to achieve them in the workplace, let’s first tackle why. Why does belonging matter?
A sense of belonging in the workplace drives employees to be more engaged daily. According to Gallup research, engaged employees are 22% more profitable because they put in higher levels of effort toward their jobs and team.
A Boston College Center for Work and Family study found that employees have a 56% increase in job performance when they feel a sense of belonging. However, there was a 26% dip in performance when employees felt excluded.
This data showcases that belonging is a significant motivator for productivity, which every business needs to expand. To create these feelings of connection, leaders must evaluate their work culture and ensure that all working relationships function and collaborate well.
With today’s growing Gen Z and Millennial workforce, having a healthy and inclusive work culture is at the forefront of worker demands. According to Linkedin, 80% of Gen Z workers expect their companies to align with their values, such as diversity and inclusion. This demographic wants to comfortably interact with their colleagues and management as valued members of the team without fear of exclusion.
When workers feel accepted at work, both for their labor and individuality, emotional barriers are removed that prevent your company from truly thriving.
It’s evident that fostering workplace connection is necessary for the success of any business. Before fostering this culture of belonging, we must first identify the critical factors of “belonging” itself.
The 4 Core Elements of Belonging
According to the DEI Think Tank Coqual, the four components of belonging are feeling seen, connected, supported, and proud.
Your employees feel seen when they are recognized for their efforts. When you show your employees that you appreciate and acknowledge their talents and contributions, they are more grateful to work for you. In turn, they will work harder for you and will be less likely to leave. With employee turnover leading to high costs and lost time, it’s imperative to maintain skilled employees capable of transforming your business.
When your staff is connected, they have genuine, positive interactions with one another, leading to healthy working relationships. When your staff gets along, brainstorming creative new strategies is much more likely. It’s challenging to be innovative when your team is at odds, so facilitating healthy socialization and communication is a commendable business tactic and a compelling example of human-centric leadership.
To feel supported requires employers to demonstrate to their staff that they understand when challenges arise outside their control. Life is challenging, and issues such as burnout, poor mental health, family deaths, or health scares can affect one’s job performance. Showing empathy towards your employees and providing resources, such as meditation apps and increased healthcare inclusions, will allow your team to be in the best position for success, no matter the circumstances.
When your employees are genuinely honored to work for your organization, a sense of pride in their work is created. When you effectively verbalize your business’s core values, mission, and vision, your team will feel part of something bigger, providing them with the fire to make your victories their own. When you let your staff know that their work matters toward the company’s bigger picture, a sense of belonging will be inevitable.
The Core Components in Action
There are many tangible ways of implementing these core factors into an inclusive workplace culture.
One avenue could be sending out anonymous surveys that provide information on how your staff, of all backgrounds and identities, experience workplace culture. This feedback can help you improve your company’s social environment and find structural ways to bring your team together. You can also run a diversity and inclusion workshop to enhance your staff’s interpersonal communication, despite their unique differences. Finally, having celebrations to mark significant milestones or holidays will give your team time to socialize and bond through each other’s achievements.
These suggestions can help your team feel seen, connected, supported, and proud. However, there are many ways to show your employees that you’re invested in them as people, setting up an environment where everyone can succeed together.
By creating a culture where everybody belongs, your employees will work harder and stay longer, expanding your business.
If you would like to learn more about the critical components of belonging, check out this week’s episode of the Survive and Thrive Podcast.