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New Research Shows Factors That Create Belonging in the Workplace

In today’s uncertain times, it has never been more important for employees to feel a sense of security in the organizations they devote their time and energy to work for. A recent survey of 1,000 employees across industries in five countries showed a large majority of people (82%) feel some sense of belonging in their workplace, but only 45% of employees strongly agree that they feel they belong at their organization.

The top three factors that make people feel they belong at the organization where they work are being recognized for accomplishments (61%), feeling contributions are valued (59%), and having opportunities to express honest opinions (40%). The top three barriers to achieving a sense of belonging and contentedness in the workplace are lack of appreciation or recognition (45%), heavy workload (45%), and inadequate leadership (37%).

Despite identifying these factors, less than half of workers (49%) feel their organizations are supportive and just more than one in three (37%) can get answers quickly to questions or concerns about work/working for the organization. Results also reveal that one in three (32%) workers strongly agree the company conducts regular satisfaction surveys and even fewer (24%) that their employer follows through with effective action plans to surveys.

More detailed investigation highlights the fact that only about a quarter of people (26%) strongly agree that their organization’s communication programs and techniques are effective. This lack of basic listening infrastructure and communication capabilities highlight weaknesses that need to improve, particularly in an expanding era of remote work.

Further results show that the next most cited factor that gets in the way of a sense of belonging at work is too few opportunities to meet face to face, with one in three (31%) citing this as a barrier to feeling connected at work. The exact same proportion agrees they feel lonely at work.

“If employers want to create a greater sense of belonging, they will need to address these issues as well as the fact that nearly half of employees are suffering from burn-out,” stated Debbie McGrath, Chief Instigator and CEO of HR.com. “Especially in light of current events, leadership should ensure everyone knows their roles in communicating and supporting each other to stave off feelings of isolation and disengagement, as well as understand the relative value of diverse communications offerings to literally connect people in this digital day and age.”