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The Belonging Blueprint

Updated on November 14, 2023

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Topics Covered:

Attracting and retaining talent

Belonging and DEI

Employee engagement

Rewards and recognition

You’ve heard a lot about belonging at work and the importance of fostering it for your employees, but if you’re unclear about what belonging is, how to measure it, what drives belonging, the ROI of belonging initiatives, or what specific actions you can take to increase belonging, then the Belonging Blueprint from Achievers Workforce Institute is for you.

Starting with an introduction to belonging from Workday’s Kumari Williams, including lessons and initiatives from personal experience, the Belonging Blueprint aims to combine thought leadership with practical best practices.

Belonging Basics

The Achievers Workforce Institute (AWI) defines belonging as an experience of comfort, security, and community — it’s about feeling at home in one’s place, without reservation.

But knowing what belonging is doesn’t clarify how to impact it. To that end, AWI developed the Belonging Model™ based on academic and business research.

What are the pillars of belonging at work?

The five pillars of belonging are: welcomed, known, included, supported, and connected. When any single pillar is activated, feelings of belonging double. When all five are activated, belonging triples.

What is the business case for belonging at work?

The business case for belonging at work is not just warm and fuzzy. Employees with a strong sense of belonging are twice as likely to be engaged, productive, resilient, and committed. In fact, even getting an employee from low belonging to moderate belonging increases engagement and productivity rates by 400%.

How can I increase employees’ sense of belonging at work?

Increase employees’ sense of belonging at work with organizational and manager actions that are targeted to areas that have the biggest impact on the belonging pillars. These include compensation and benefits, recognition, feedback, relationships, manager effectiveness, and culture alignment.

Making meaningful change

Part two of the Belonging Blueprint is all about taking action. From data-driven insights into the programs that drive belonging to specific toolkits for each belonging pillar, this is for every HR leader that knows where they want to go and isn’t sure how to get there.

How do I measure belonging at work?

Measure belonging at work by including specific questions in engagement and ad hoc employee surveys to identify strengths and risks. AWI uses six belonging questions, one for each pillar and an additional overall belonging metric.

Six questions to ask employees to measure belonging and the belonging pillars

Six questions to measure belonging

  1. Overall sense of belonging: I feel a strong sense of belonging at my organization
  2. Welcomed: I feel warmly welcomed at my company (first day, new team, new role)
  3. Known: I feel known as an individual at my company
  4. Included: I feel included at work (can be myself, my opinions are valued, can respectfully disagree)
  5. Supported: I am supported at work in achieving my personal and professional development goals
  6. Connected: I feel a strong connection with peers and colleagues

What should I focus on to drive belonging at work?

Drive belonging by focusing on the biggest area of opportunity in your organization. While there are five pillars of belonging (welcomed, known, included, supported, and connected), it’s impossible to focus on all five at once. Survey your employees to see where the biggest gaps and opportunities exist, then focus your resources there to start.

Read the Belonging Blueprint today and save it for later so you have all the latest belonging research and best practices at your fingertips when you’re ready to activate another pillar.

Ready to drive results?

Dive into the practical tools, strategies, and data-driven insights necessary to make meaningful change within an organization.

Get the Belonging Levers reportright arrow

Only want one part of the Belonging Blueprint?

Part one of the blueprint, the Belonging Basics, focuses on the foundational data about what belonging is and why it matters.

Download the Belonging Basicsright arrow

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