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Belonging at work is a critical driver of employee engagement and productivity. In this article, we’ll dive into the five actions organizations can take to boost engagement by establishing and nurturing a sense of belonging.
Employee engagement begins with belonging
This year, Achievers Workforce Institute is on tour, meeting with HR leaders across North America to talk about belonging in the workplace. A major buzz word of late, we’re unpacking what belonging means to organizations and the people within them.
Partnered with From Day One — a conference series focused on innovative ways for companies to foster stronger relationships with employees, customers, and communities — we’re hosting workshops around cultivating a workplace community that supports engagement and retention.
Conversations around building community
Facilitated by Achievers, the Belonging Tour has 18 planned stops, with workshops in Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Brooklyn, Chicago, and more. At each of these in-person events, we’re sharing what we’ve learned about belonging in the workplace, uncovering new perspectives and actionable ideas, and are bringing them to the wider HR community.
What is belonging in the workplace?
The Achievers Workforce Institute defines belonging as an experience of connection, security, and community — it’s about feeling at home in one’s place, without reservation.
A true sense of belonging at work is the deepest outcome measure of engagement. It is also one of the best predictors of the extent to which one will thrive at work, and therefore, is a critical driver of individual and organizational success.
According to the AWI survey, people with a strong sense of belonging are significantly more likely to be engaged in their role. They are also more than twice as likely to be productive, resilient, committed to their company, satisfied with their job, and feel enthusiastic about their role.
What are the 5 pillars of belonging?
Cultivating this sense of belonging requires genuine effort in five key areas. The pillars of belonging, which all correlate positively and significantly with a stronger sense of belonging, include being:
“When organizations invest in the 5 pillars, each pillar becomes a 3x driver of the business outcomes our people programs are intended to deliver, such as engagement, productivity, and trust.”
– David Bator, Managing Direct at Achievers Workforce Institute
The tactical and practical: 5 action areas for organizations
77% of leaders are concerned about the recession and point to resilience as a way to overcome turbulence. Resilience isn’t just about our ability to survive — it’s about being elastic enough to change.
HR leaders across the country are using the pillars of belonging as a guide for supporting engagement and retention during challenging times (and beyond).
Here are some takeaways from our workshops on how to put these pillars into action to nurture belonging within your organization:
- Welcomed: What are you doing to welcome employees to your organization and their teams?
- Deliver welcome kits ahead of an employee’s start date
- Invite executives to meet and greet new hires weekly
- Encourage ongoing participation in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
- Known: How do you encourage employees to bring their whole selves to work?
- Use an assessment or tool to understand what people are interested in/personality types, and how they work together
- Leverage learnings from pulse surveys so employees feel heard, and their needs addressed
- Try fun conversation starts, such as asking who their celebrity influences are and why
- Included: What are the opportunities for employees to co-create their experience at work?
- HR leaders participating in organizational events/groups to hear/experience first-hand what employees need at work
- Support phycological safety by creating open forums where people can bring their experiences, questions, etc. without judgement
- Continual surveys that provide employees with a voice in shaping their experience at work
- Supported: How do you support managers in supporting the individuals on their teams?
- Train soft skills to help managers better relate/understand their team members
- Create a culture of mentorship within the organization
- Provide translations, phonetic spelling, and sign language as needed to support better communication and understanding
- Connected: How are you connecting employees to the mission, vision of the organization — and to each other?
- Quarterly employee awards based on company’s values
- Help employees establish friendships at work through employee recourse groups, team building activities and coffee chats
- Establish frameworks around regular manager x employee connections
People who say their company supports them in building meaningful friendships at work are 2.4x more likely to feel a sense of belonging.
How belonging at work boosts everything
When you create conditions that support belonging at work, you allow your people to be more productive and positive — and to do the best work of their lives.
We’d love to see you in person at one of our stops on the Belonging Tour to talk about how to cultivate a workplace community to boost engagement and retention. View upcoming dates and register to attend.
Empowerment & trust: Create a culture of feedback with employee listening
Discover the Achievers Workforce Institute culture of belonging at work whitepaper
Pillars in practice: How belonging drives business outcomes