Belonging at Work empowers business leaders, change agents, visionaries, and those on their way to joining them with the knowledge, skills, and … To address this question, we conducted a series of experiments. A sense of belonging can come from working with people with similar interests, hobbies or outlooks and from giving employees the opportunity to come together over shared interests. The benefits of a diverse company are tangible. Because if you have nothing but like-minded people on a team, your thinking isn’t likely to be challenged. Diversity is about hiring in such a way that your organization reflects the global communities in which we operate. Second, it offers new, evidence-based interventions to boost inclusion. But does exclusion actually cause measurable hits to team performance? Much like ERGs, which represent underrepresented minorities, a company’s affinity groups — for employees who practice yoga, ride motorcycles, love dogs or cats, you name it — are another important way to create connections and belonging. For team leaders and colleagues who want to help others feel included, serving as a fair-minded ally — someone who treats everyone equally — can offer protection to buffer the exclusionary behavior of others. How to Help Your Employees Create a Sense of Belonging at Work Control. Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA. Employees with higher workplace belonging also showed a 167% increase in their employer promoter score (their willingness to recommend their company to others). It is when an individual can bring their authentic self to work. Have you ever wondered if your sense of belonging has an impact on your behaviors at work? While you’re here, don’t forget to browse hundreds of articles by topic — from talent attraction to employee experience, diversity & inclusion, leadership and more! U.S. businesses spend nearly 8 billion dollars each year on diversity and inclusion (D&I) trainings that miss the mark because they neglect our need to feel included. An empowered employee is more likely to be confident, creative, and committed to meaningful goals. Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group. Establishing trust. Fostering the sense of belonging may be one of a leader’s most powerful levers. Like what you see? Ask the Economist: Why Are Tech Job Postings Down? It might be difficult to identify exclusion on the spot as it’s happening, so another valuable intervention strategy would be to buffer workers against the negative effects of exclusion in the first place. However, companies and their leaders can do something to counteract the deleterious effects of loneliness. As work has become increasingly significant in modern life, providing much of the social support that used to be gained from families and community, as well as a sense of identity, validation, self-worth, and a sense of belonging and inclusion at work is critical to our well-being, our behavior, and performance in … During a recent week, my team members were encouraged to change their video conference background to a picture of their favorite superhero and share why that character speaks to them. And yet, 40% of people say that they feel isolated at work, and the result has been lower organizational commitment and engagement. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. Researchers... Self-Expression. Both she and Lalanne said that a sense of belonging means that people can bring their full selves to work, and not feel like they’re a different person there than at home. 56% said they feel they belong most at work when they are trusted and respected, while only 36% said a sense of belonging stems from their unique contributions being valued. To feel left out is a deeply human problem, which is why its consequences carry such heft and why its causes are so hard to root out of even the healthiest workplaces. Belonging is defined as a feeling of choosing, wanting, and feeling permission to be part of a community or group, such as a work team, department company, volunteer organization, church, sports team, etc. The unifying thread across these themes is that they all revolve around the sense of being accepted and included by those around you. A company’s affinity groups are another important way to create connections and belonging. Inclusion in the workplace is about the actions and behaviors we take to create a culture in which employees feel valued, trusted and authentic. Feeling a sense of belonging at work is essential if you're going to be happy in your career. Isn’t belonging just another HR buzzword? Leaders and organizations should invite employee feedback, and take it seriously; this behavior is a cornerstone of  inclusive companies. As Indeed’s Vice President of Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B), I’m sometimes asked questions like this. Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place� It’s the basic fundamental drive to form and maintain lasting, positive, and significant relationships with others � At the workplace, these relationships can be extended to the organization and its values and to the work itself� Fortunately, our findings show that we are not powerless in the face of exclusion. From this 10,000-foot perspective, the costs associated with this drought of workplace belonging are eye-catching. People like to connect over food, which is why kitchens and break rooms have traditionally helped foster belonging at work. Recognize employees for their unique efforts and accomplishments. To better understand this basic need to belong — a key missing ingredient in the D&I conversation — BetterUp conducted research to investigate the role of belonging at work and the outsized consequences of its absence. As organizations become places of shared community, workers are craving a sense of belonging and celebration of life events at work. Through that connection, they experience a sense of purpose and belonging, because they know that what they do and say matters. In your next employee survey, consider asking belonging-related questions that can help you measure and make improvements. Notably, the mentorship and empowerment tools were so powerful that those excluded participants worked even harder for their team than their included peers. You can be vulnerable with others and be who you are — which, in turn, helps you connect with others. Belonging calls on leaders to acknowledge that enduring feelings and a need for connection exist in a workplace. And you can’t help but dance; it’s your jam! Following earlier BetterUp studies on loneliness and purpose, we first surveyed 1,789 full-time U.S. employees across many industries and then conducted a series of experiments with more than 2,000 live participants to observe and measure the costs of exclusion. What differences did we see between the excluded and included teammates? Building that sense of belonging takes an active effort, with employees favoring certain factors more than managers might typically expect. For several years, Verna Myers, activist and VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, has said that “diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” I love that quote — and I’d like to adapt it by adding that belonging is knowing all the songs. All three interventions succeeded in causing excluded team members to behave more like included ones. As such, a new round of our experiments tested three interventions, each designed to mitigate the costs of exclusion: (1) Gaining perspective: Previous participants shared reflections with current participants on their exclusion experience and how they coped; (2) Encouraging mentorship: Participants imagined how they would coach someone else through exclusion; and (3) Finding empowerment: Participants planned out how they would restructure this team experience to make it more inclusive and enjoyable. sense of belongingness, a key driver of human behavior. In fact, 56 percent of respondents in the EY report stated that feeling trusted and respected creates the greatest sense of belonging in the workplace. These findings beg the question: Can exclusion be fixed? For several years, Verna Myers, activist and VP of Inclusion Strategy at Netflix, has said that “ diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.” Initially, workers were assigned to a team with two other “participants” (bots programmed to act like teammates), using a collaborative virtual ball-toss game. Here’s How to Write a Good Job Description – Not a Lazy One. When employees understand your organization’s mission, values, strategies and objectives and key results (OKRs) — and the role they play in achieving those OKRs — they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated. Our research demonstrates clear, actionable paths forward to help resolve the epidemic of workplace exclusion. Belonging at work is a feeling of community with the people and environments that make us feel connected. Conversely, my more extroverted coworkers at headquarters, may feel a stronger sense of belonging because they have the opportunity to be more socially active, oftentimes with a good story or idea that gathers in newcomers as well as old friends. These strategies would help workers not only navigate tricky workplace dynamics,but also drive their own version of change, especially when the system isn’t working for everyone. Belonging at Work really does matter” - Jamison Green, Ph.D., Author, Educator, Community Leader, and Corporate Executive. Employees, in fact, seek to belong—and seek to enhance their sense of belongingness in work settings. One possibility is that having an ally might take the sting out of being excluded by other team members. To Lalanne’s point about storytelling, Bastian said Zillow uses the technique as well. Feeling free to express one’s opinions at work is also a major component in creating a sense of belonging. If people’s sense of belonging impacts their workplace behavior, we all need to understand this connection. In a nutshell, companies are blowing it. Recent research from Betterup shows that if workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits: better job performance, lower turnover risk, and fewer sick days. Create opportunities for connections. Leaders successfully foster trust and respect by maintaining a balance of: Here are a few meaningful steps I recommend to help you get there. Leaders can turn to a solution that costs little and has major dividends: a sense of belonging. Based on this research, Glint advocates for making belonging a key focus o… When employees feel like they don’t belong at work, their performance and their personal lives suffer. Harvard Business Publishing is an affiliate of Harvard Business School. Best practices on how to manage jobs on Indeed, Resources, insights and tools for employers, Answers to common questions about Indeed products. And for 45 or 50 hours every week, I feel isolated.”. Why does this study matter? Many solutions have been proposed, but few are based in experimental evidence. If your company is already focusing on diversity and inclusion, do you really need to emphasize belonging, too? For this project, defining belonging became our first, and in some ways, trickiest, task. The pandemic has made gatherings more problematic, of course, so accomplishing this connection will require creative thinking as well as adherence to social distancing and other safety precautions. Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA. It is a fundamental factor in the organization’s success. The task of creating a sense of belonging among remote workers can seem daunting for organizations and managers. It’s the humane, human, and smart thing to do. The harmful effects of exclusion can be reversed. I’ll explain their benefits. It defines sense of belonging in the workplace as “feeling part of a team, group or organization.” The Psychology Behind Belonging “The need to belong is often overlooked in the workplace,” according to Switch and Shift’s Lisa Kelley. Searching for a sense of belonging is not only a natural instinct, but it is considered a basic human need. Individuals coping with left-out feelings can adapt these new evidence-based tools of gaining perspective from others, mentoring those in a similar condition, and thinking of strategies for improving the situation. The most successful businesses have always had a great sense of belonging amongst employees and will actively foster a positive environment where employees feel engaged, included and respected. Most organizations actively pursue diverse representation in their workplace, but this won’t necessarily ensure that all employees feel included. Consider this recent story in The Guardian, which prompted people to share their own experiences of feeling left out at work. The benefits of creating a sense of belonging at work, for ourselves and others, extends well beyond diversity and inclusion. They also received double the raises, and 18 times more promotions. It’s good for people — and for the bottom line. Foster better social bonds. More stories from Lead with Indeed to spark your interest. Use Indeed’s simple and powerful tools to source, screen and hire faster. Having a sense of belonging is a basic human need like food, water and shelter. Zooming in a bit helps focus on the reality of the problem. In Indeed’s latest employee survey, we asked respondents to consider five statements regarding inclusion and belonging and select an answer ranging from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” Two of the statements were specifically related to psychological safety, the underpinning of belonging: Use your workspace to create a sense of belonging. After this, participants completed a simple task where they could earn money either for themselves or for their entire team. Diversity is about hiring in such a way that your organization reflects the global communities in which we operate. One anonymous worker in the United Kingdom lamented, “I get paid well to do something I enjoy, and…[I’m] surrounded by clever, funny, like-minded people. (1) Belonging is good for business If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. Thank you! Teams with diverse members with different work styles, problem-solving techniques, life experiences, backgrounds, perspectives and skill sets are more likely to be innovative. Laura Savino is an iOS developer who lives in Seattle and works … You can ask questions and raise issues without fear. Included workers had teammates that consistently threw them the ball, whereas excluded workers only got the ball a couple of times. It’s also a smart business strategy. lower organizational commitment and engagement, because they neglect our need to feel included, To Retain New Hires, Make Sure You Meet with Them in Their First Week, Why Great Employees Leave “Great Cultures”, this behavior is a cornerstone of  inclusive companies. Yet belonging “can literally feel like a life or death matter.” She explains: To build a sense of belonging requires active effort and practice. A genuine sense of belonging is built on mutual trust and respect. I’ll start to answer them by defining diversity, inclusion and belonging. Nearly half of respondents believe that diversity is best represented at work and more than one-third feel the greatest sense of belonging at work. While inclusivity is the implementation of specific action items to engage diversity, the emotional life and longevity of your organization depends on balancing results with a strong sense of belonging. Psychological safety is what makes us feel we belong. Experiments show that individuals coping with left-out feelings can prevent them by gaining perspective from others, mentoring those in a similar condition, and thinking of strategies for improving the situation. We are conducting this study to attempt to answer this question. The research is novel in two ways: First, it quantifies the value of workplace belonging, both with correlational and experimental findings. Finding the right candidate shouldn’t be a full-time job. In fact, evolutionary psychology shows that the desire to belong is hardwired into the DNA of social animals, and cognitive psychologists explain that social rejection leads to the same neural and physiological patters as physical pain. For team leaders and colleagues who want to help others feel included, our research suggests that serving as a fair-minded ally — someone who treats everyone equally — can offer protection to buffer the exclusionary behavior of others. Having an ally protects workers from exclusion. The result of these efforts is less video chat fatigue and a sustained sense of belonging. Thus, the responsibility for creating sense of belonging falls to all leader’s, manager’s and employees. We can now say that feeling excluded causes us to give less effort to the team. According to the report, research indicates that people become close to … In the context of the workplace, loneliness undermines performance and productivity, at a minimum. Creating a sense of belonging is especially challenging during COVID-19, shelter-in-place orders and the rise of remote work. Key finding 1: Diversity and belonging are workplace expectations. Having the ability to express your thoughts and opinions at work is more about fostering an open, honest environment where employees can’t fear to challenge the status quo. Businesses often employ dress codes to ensure a uniform presentation of company values. Knowing all the songs goes beyond simply being invited to the party; you feel like you belong there. In order for people to feel like they belong, the environment (in this case the workplace) … Trust is critical for the success of our relationships with colleagues. The longer participants persisted in the task, the more money they earned. Humans are so fundamentally social that we can even bond with strangers over the very experience of not having anyone with whom to bond. We replicated this effect again and again, across four separate studies. A sense of belonging gives us a feeling of being valued and respected. Not belonging, on the other hand, is among the strongest predictors of turnover. But it can be done. In an inclusive environment, everyone is encouraged to contribute fully and thrive. And I’ll finish with best practices for creating a sense of belonging within your organization so you can make progress toward any DI&B program’s desired end-state: true equality. Even the most effective recruiting strategy for diversity won’t lead to long-term change if new talent isn’t supported to succeed. More than 800 wrote in. U.S. businesses spend nearly $8 billion each year on diversity and inclusion (D&I) trainings that miss the mark because they neglect our need to feel included. Creating an environment that nurtures a sense of belonging isn’t easy — especially during a pandemic and economic crisis. We set out to study how that develops — or doesn’t — in the workplace, what it means for employees and organizations, and whether it’s possible to turn a bad situation around. They want to … Psychological safety is what creates the most high-performing teams, where members build and learn and grow together, push back against the status quo and innovate. We found that having one fair-acting ally made people more willing to work for their entire team, protecting group performance from the negative effects of exclusion. Here’s what we found: If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. That is to say, when employees feel a strong sense of belonging at work, they are over six times as likely to bring their best selves to work and to do their best work. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52M. Workers need to feel like they belong to something they value — and that they have the power to bring about change when it’s needed. Mentioned by a whopping 59% … They can also share stories about how they have coped with similar challenges and see what suggestions teammates have for improving the situation. 45% of respondents believe that diversity is best represented at their place of work, second only to home (62%). We tested this in another experiment, wherein an ally bot was programmed to signal inclusion by throwing the ball to the participant, while the other bots ignored them. Use employee engagement surveys to gauge and measure belonging. For example, my team, and I keep our sense of connections to each other alive despite working remotely. Our data showed that belonging is a close cousin to many related experiences: mattering, identification, and social connection. When participants were told the payouts would be shared with the team, the excluded people worked less hard than the included ones even though it meant sacrificing earnings. When you feel psychologically safe, you believe others will give you the benefit of the doubt. Belonging is defined as the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group or place. They feel a connection to the company. The Importance of Belonging. Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are one example of how organizations can take action to help underrepresented minorities feel included and give them a voice. If we don’t … Visit our Help Center for answers to common questions or contact us directly. Copyright © 2020 Harvard Business School Publishing. All rights reserved. Festive fun and merry conversation are reserved for those who have developed good relationships, who are comfortable being themselves around others at work, and who feel accepted by their colleagues. For the many people who feel a sense of not belonging at work, the office Christmas party can be an incredibly daunting prospect. Glint’s research, with almost one million data points, shows that employees with a strong sense of belonging are over six times more likely to be engaged than those who don’t. Building a Sense of Belonging. It also helps support business goals. Belonging is a feeling Belonging at work is a feeling of community with the people and environments that make us feel connected. A sense of belonging encourages greater productivity, lower sickness and absence rates and higher staff retention. You’re signed up to receive the latest from Lead with Indeed. Used properly it elevates the nature of work with a sense of purpose … And yet, 40% of people say that they feel isolated at work, and the result has been lower organizational commitment and engagement. Our survey findings reveal workplace exclusion as a systemic issue that generates hefty financial losses. Exclusion is damaging because it actually hurts: the sensation is akin to physical pain. How Reddit uses ERGs to create a sense of belonging for employees. And, as we know, greater engagement drives better individual and organizational success. Creating a sense of belonging — an employee’s perception of acceptance within a given group — provides HR leaders with a good opportunity to reinvigorate their inclusion approach and goals. Importantly, the ally only threw the ball to the participant as much as anyone else did; that is, the ally offered equal (not special) treatment. And so, a sense of belonging at work isn’t just about creating psychological safety and driving innovation and moving closer toward equality. One thing we learned: Transition moments, like an employee’s first day on the job, are particularly anxiety-inducing—which makes them great opportunities to create a sense of belonging. We conducted two studies using both field and laboratory data from different populations to investigate the psychological Creating genuine feelings of belonging for all is a critical factor in improving engagement and performance. And it’s a sting we’ve all experienced at one time or another. I feel comfortable coming forward with concerns or complaints, without the fear of retaliation. How do we create a workplace of belonging? Exclusion leads to team (and self-) sabotage. When participants were told the payouts would benefit them and them alone, excluded team members worked just as much as included ones. 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