Our need for inclusion includes our work life. When we think of inclusion, we typically think of a social situation – children on the playground, teenagers struggling to fit in with their peers, a family moving to a new neighbourhood. But our need for inclusion, or a sense of belonging, extends beyond just our personal lives - it’s also important to our sense of happiness and performance at work.
More than 40 per cent of employees say that they feel isolated at work; that they don’t feel like they “belong”. And a lack of belonging leads to decreased commitment, engagement and ultimately, performance. Companies have tried to address this issue in many ways, including employee engagement surveys, implementing diversity and inclusion programs and various retention programs, but if an employee doesn’t feel that they’re a valued member of a team, that they have a sense of belonging, these programs will not improve team or individual performance.
Employees want to feel accepted. Even if an employee is performing work that they are skilled at and enjoy, the lack of a sense of workplace belonging can drastically impact their performance. Humans are born social, and although each of us has varying needs when it comes to social interaction, we all want to feel connected and included – especially in the arena where many of us spend 40 or more hours a week. The stronger the quality of connection between people has a direct correlation to the strength of the team. It's the reason why some teams click and others don't.
Organizations that prioritize a sense belonging perform better. Building that sense of belonging amongst your employees isn’t just important to their sense of wellbeing – it can also have a significant impact on their overall performance and consequently, on the performance of the organization as a whole. Recent studies have found that organizations with a strong sense of employee belonging saw a 56 per cent improvement in job performance, a 75 per cent decrease in sick days and a 50 per cent drop in their employee turnover. Stats such as these are very convincing reasons to turn your attention to measuring and enhancing your employees’ sense of workplace belonging.
Employees with higher workplace belonging also see greater success in their careers – they receive twice as much in pay increases and 18 times more promotions. They’re also much more likely to recommend the organization to others as a place to work – and recommendations from current employees are key to recruiting other strong performers.
Start 2021 on the right track. 2020 was unquestionably a challenging year for both organizations and employees, and in 2021 CEOs and CHROs are focused on making those changes that will allow their organizations to succeed in an uncharted business environment. Consider including a program that prioritizes a sense of belonging and inclusion for all employees and you’ll reap the benefits both in employee happiness and organizational performance.
Although 2020 is in the rear-view mirror, many organizations are still facing unparalleled challenges. Many employees continue to struggle and some may really need your help – but do you know who?
Why CEOs and CHROs should care about the quality of employee connections at their company.
In today's unsettled world, a competitive edge is even more critical.