Diversity & Inclusion

D&I Survey: how to encourage a sense of Belonging at work

Steffi Maranan

At Qlearsite we measure Inclusion by four main areas – Safety & Access, Trust & Fairness, Acceptance and Belonging. All play a key role in shaping the inclusive experience of employees within an organisation – in this article we’ll be focusing on the idea of Belonging. 

What is Belonging, and why is it important?

Belonging is where everyone feels valued in the workplace, all identities are celebrated and organisations embrace differences. This can be broken down further into three components that contribute to how much a person feels as though they belong in an organisation:

  1. CelebratedBeyond acceptance, diversity is seen as a strength, and all forms of identity are openly applauded as being positive and differences are celebrated.
  2. ValuedDifferent opinions are valued in the workplace and there is a feeling of genuine worth within individuals  – employees feel valued.
  3. ConnectedEmployees feel emotionally connected to their organisation which strengthens their sense of belonging.

The feeling of belonging is integral to inclusion in the workplace and can have a significant impact on other areas of the employee experience. For example, a 2019 study by BetterUp found that workplace belonging can lead to an estimated 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, and a 75% decrease in employee sick days. Despite the positive impacts of workplace belonging, in the UK only 32% of office workers feel as though they completely belong within their company. 

How to help foster belonging in your organisation

As we’ve seen, the extent to which people feel as if they belong can have a knock-on effect on other areas of the workplace experience. It’s therefore important to consider what you can do to foster a feeling of belonging among employees. A few examples to help foster belonging in your organisation are:

  1. Don’t just measure diversity, make sure you also measure inclusion in your organisation – Diversity looks at the statistics and demographic makeup of your organisation, but inclusion looks at the experiences of your employees which is the gateway to insight into how people feel when it comes to belonging and any feedback that could improve their experiences.
  2. Instill a sense of community in your organisation – Creating a culture where everyone feels as though they are accepted, welcome, and part of one team can help to cultivate a sense of belonging and inclusivity. Reflect on your values and purpose as an organisation to see how you can encourage the idea of community.
  3. Celebrate all holidays – An important part of belonging is ensuring that no one feels left out or overlooked. A simple but impactful way to acknowledge the different religions and cultures within your organisation is to acknowledge and celebrate all religious and cultural holidays – all you need is an up-to-date calendar that can be shared across the organisation to keep everyone informed.
  4. Recognise and reward employeesMaking employees feel valued is integral to a sense of belonging, especially when you recognise individuals for their unique abilities and accomplishments in your organisation. Everyone is different, so everyone will have different achievements to be recognised for.
  5. Hire the right people While it’s important to hire a diverse workforce, it’s also crucial to hire individuals who align with your purpose, values, and vision. If someone doesn’t align with your company culture and values it’ll be hard for them to feel as though they truly belong. Make sure your people feel connected to your organisation as this will naturally cultivate a sense of belonging.
    Belonging is only one piece of the puzzle to inclusion. For more information on measuring inclusion in your organisation please click here.

It’s time to start the conversation

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