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Why Belonging is the Key to Employee Engagement

Three Simple Ways to Help Your Coworkers Feel Like They Belong

As the workforce continues to evolve and our social dynamics grow increasingly complicated, the need for healthy work environments has never been greater. Employee engagement and workplace satisfaction have long been proven to be crucial elements of retention and optimal performance, so it’s vital to understand their nuances and apply them to today’s workforce.

Belonging is a powerful driving force of employee engagement. Read on to learn more about the foundational nature of belonging and how to foster it in your organization.

What is belonging at work?

Belonging is the feeling of being accepted for who you are, recognized for your unique contributions, and connected to people and purpose. In order for individuals to feel like they belong, the environment which they’re in must be structured to propagate a diverse and inclusive culture. Belonging at work is an ongoing process that can be cultivated by employers and employees alike.

What is employee engagement and why does it matter?

Employee engagement is the process of building passion and enthusiasm for an employee’s work and organization. It is defined by employees feeling connected to their work, having positive interactions with their colleagues, enjoying what they do for a living, and understanding how their daily tasks contribute to the bigger picture. It also translates into extra, discretionary effort beyond the base expectations of a job. Employees who are engaged at work tend to be more innovative, exhibit stronger loyalty, and are happier in general.

Employee engagement matters because it essentially defines the degree to which an employee is invested in their work. This directly ties to organizational efficiency and business outcomes. In order for a company to be successful, they need to pay special attention to employee engagement and satisfaction. Engaged employees help companies grow from within, so it’s in any organization’s best interest to have as many engaged team members as possible.

How does belonging create engagement?

Vityl’s proprietary research has found that employees who feel they belong are 8.8x more likely to feel engaged at work. Put simply, when employees feel a strong sense of belonging, they are 8.8x more likely to be productive, to ideate, and to connect with their true purpose. Belonging and employee engagement are deeply connected.

Belonging plays a key role in the future of work, especially as organizations grapple with engaging remote or hybrid workforces. As more organizations embrace flexible working arrangements, establishing a culture of belonging becomes even more important in order to maintain optimal collaboration, performance and productivity.

How can companies cultivate belonging at work?

A sense of belonging can be cultivated by employees and employers alike. Employers should implement practices that create a culture where everyone feels like they belong, whether that’s through more frequent 1:1s between managers and their direct reports or enhanced inclusion efforts. The more employees engage with each other in a positive way, the stronger their workplace community will be.

Fostering a sense of community in the workplace is the foundation of belonging at work and engagement, and it’s something that employers should intentionally aim to create. Employers can increase a team’s sense of community by encouraging employees to show up as their authentic selves, work with colleagues outside of their primary workgroup (such as committees or working lunches), or attend social events with their teams.

What are the challenges employees and organizations face in creating belonging?

If an employee feels rejected or unwelcomed by colleagues, it can impede on their sense of belonging and create a vicious cycle where they feel isolated from their team. Employees who lack a sense of belonging will be less likely to engage in meaningful relationships with their co-workers, participate in ideation sessions, or take smart risks at work for fear of judgment or exclusion. In short, they’ll be less likely to meaningfully participate and excel at work because they feel unsupported, unrecognized, and undervalued.

On the other hand, inviting employees to step outside of their comfort zone can be difficult. For example, an introverted employee may prefer to keep to themselves and avoid socializing with the entire team. If employers press employees to participate in community-building activities, it can create further divide between them and their co-workers. Employers should be mindful about how they approach this topic so as to avoid inadvertently isolating employees with different personality types.On the other hand, inviting employees to step outside of their comfort zone can be difficult. For example, an introverted employee may prefer to keep to themselves and avoid socializing with the entire team. If employers press employees to participate in community-building activities, it can create further divide between them and their co-workers. Employers should be mindful about how they approach this topic so as to avoid inadvertently isolating employees with different personality types.

Additionally, while traditional structures of Human Resources are intended to facilitate the solutions to these challenges, they are often inhibited by a lack of support or bandwidth. HR can sometimes even have an opposite effect, unintentionally focusing their efforts on managers or senior leadership and making employees with no managerial responsibilities less likely to become involved with their workplace at all.

Having the right system in place to bolster workplace culture without overwhelming employees or HR teams is critical to long-term employee engagement. With the proper solutions, businesses can equip themselves to deal with the challenges of the modern workforce and be prepared for new ones to arise.

Leveraging technology to bolster belonging

The future of HR is flexible and mobile-based, with employees’ work experiences advancing alongside the vast technological capabilities that are at our fingertips. Workplace culture will become increasingly reliant on intuitive solutions for facilitating conversation, collaboration and community building across an organization, helping to remove barriers between remote employees, teams, and senior leadership.

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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