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What Every Chief People Officer Needs to Know about Belonging

What Every Chief People Officer Needs to Know about Belonging

When employees feel like they don’t belong at work or within their teams, their professional performance and personal lives suffer as a result. To increase employee engagement and performance, as well as to support business goals, creating a culture of belonging within your organization is the key. 

The feeling of not belonging at work can come in a variety of forms, including not feeling accepted for who you are, feeling invisible or underappreciated, or feeling disconnected from those around you. These experiences are painful and powerful, and trigger a natural response to withdraw. 

HR leaders can likely empathize with employees that must fight hard to feel a strong sense of belonging. The oft-invoked “seat at the table” sought after by HR leaders, hoping and deserving to be equally valued members of business leadership teams, perfectly symbolizes that innate desire to belong. 

Ask yourself: In your organization, do people have a strong sense of belonging? If not, or if you’re not sure, then you may need to change how you think about your company’s culture. As a CPO or HR leader, you have the opportunity to energize your approach to culture and inclusion by fostering a sense of belonging amongst your employees and teams. 

What is workplace belonging? Why does it matter?

Before we discuss how to create feelings of belonging, let’s define it more carefully. Our definition of belonging at work is the degree to which a person feels accepted for who they are, recognized for their contributions, and connected to people and purpose.  For almost all professionals, embracing change, speaking up confidently, and contributing to their full potential are only possible when they feel a sense of belonging. 

Belonging is not an outcome of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. While the majority of companies now have programs in place to promote a more diverse workforce, this far from guarantees that all employees will feel they belong. Diversity efforts often introduce new and necessary challenges to belonging. Similarly, efforts to drive greater inclusion don’t necessarily create belonging. Rather, inclusion unrooted from belonging can feel performative, insignificant, or even patronizing. Imagine being included without feeling accepted, recognized, or meaningfully connected. The overwhelming commitment to diversity and inclusion by CPOs everywhere further underscores the need to invest in building greater belonging.

At Vityl, we conducted two comprehensive studies involving more than 1,300 full-time employees across the US – here’s some of what we learned about belonging in the workplace:

  • 60% of employees feel they have to try hard to belong. When employees are trying hard to belong, they are unlikely to be realizing their full potential in other ways. 
  • Employees that feel they belong are 24.7x more likely to feel satisfied with their job. This astounding number reflects just how critical belonging is to a positive employee experience. 
  • There is a 76 point eNPS (employee Net Promoter Score) score increase for employees that feel they belong compared to those that don’t feel they belong. Employees that belong are proud advocates for their organizations, and serve as magnets for their talent networks.

The statistics above tell an interesting story. Belonging is crucial for workplace culture, team engagement, and job satisfaction to thrive, and many organizations risk missing the mark in a major way. 

Chief People Officers everywhere are increasingly embracing belonging as a cornerstone for culture and competitiveness. A recent Deloitte study revealed that 79% of employers recognize belonging as a powerful driver of culture and organizational performance, but only 19% feel ready to foster it in their workplaces. Similarly, Vityl’s research discovered that 73% of employees want to take actions that promote belonging for themselves or others, but only 21% feel strongly prepared to do so. In the midst of the Great Resignation, this readiness gap is costing organizations talent and money while failing to deliver on the promise of belonging. 

How can CPOs measure and create belonging for every employee?

There’s a reason HR leaders face this readiness gap. Until recently, the selection of tools for CPOs to measure and create belonging have been extremely limited, and offer only a broad way to measure belonging without any way to convert that into immediate action or change.

That’s where Vityl comes in. Backed by leading research, we focus on empowering leaders and employees with prescriptive recommendations and resources to grow individually while building culture together. As employees engage in new actions and achieve culture goals, employers realize stronger retention and performance.

Belonging is the ultimate force multiplier for today’s teams and organizations. To learn more about Vityl and unlock the power of belonging, visit the Pricing page.

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