How to Foster Belonging in the Workplace - Live Assets

How to Foster Belonging in the Workplace

January 23, 2023 -

Why belonging in the workplace matters


The need for belonging is a fundamental part of being human. It’s in our DNA. Hard-wired in our brains. Belonging is crucial to our life satisfaction, happiness, health and longevity. When we feel like we belong, we feel safe, secure and comforted. In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belonging is considered the third most basic thing a person needs to survive.


According to the Indeed Happiness Score, belonging is one of the 14 key drivers of employee happiness. When employees feel like they belong in the workplace, they are more engaged and willing to contribute and create a happier and better work environment.


What is belonging in the workplace? 


In a literal sense, all employees “belong” to a workplace, but that doesn’t mean they all feel like they belong. Belonging in the workplace describes how an employee feels accepted and valued for their uniqueness in their work. Day-to-day interactions and experiences indicate whether a person feels appreciated for their contributions. Employees are encouraged to continue living authentically when they feel safe in their work environment and with their colleagues.


Belonging can be measured by comfortconnection and contribution.


Comfort: Employees that feel comfortable at work can be their true selves. This comfortability means they feel accepted by their colleagues and don’t fear judgment.

Connection: Building friendships at work can increase your chances of belonging. Those who lack these interpersonal relationships may feel isolated and alienated at work.

Contribution: Employee engagement and active contributions to the company are a great testament to their sense of belonging.


Benefits of workplace belonging:

  • Employees who feel a strong sense of belonging at work take 75% fewer sick days
  • Stronger team bonds
  • 50% drop in turnover
  • Improves employee happiness and engagement


The cost of exclusion:

  • Low employee engagement
  • Feelings of isolation and loneliness
  • Lack of purpose and lower organizational commitment
  • Decline in diversity
  • Self and team sabotage



How to foster belonging

Creating a culture of belonging will take much more than writing up a couple of policies on diversity and inclusion. While it’s a start, ensuring employees feel they belong in the workplace requires a consistent effort from senior leaders.


Don’t forget about your remote employees

With the rise of remote work, more and more employees are becoming victims of proximity bias. Proximity bias refers to the specialized treatment on-site employees receive from working in the same vicinity as their boss. Employees who work from home might be overlooked for promotions, development opportunities, or important projects. Out of sight, out of mind is the unfortunate reality for some remote employees.


Because they lack the physical connection, WFH employees might not feel as strongly connected to the company as in-person employees. Avoid this by fostering a positive remote work culture. Implementing virtual meetings and utilizing collaboration technologies to bridge the distance and help remote employees feel seen and heard.


Encourage employee-led communities

Employee resource groups are voluntary employee-run groups that aim to improve diversity and inclusion in their organization. Individuals in these groups typically have groups that provide support and a safe and accepting space for employees to be their authentic selves. Through these groups, other employees can become better allies strengthening a culture of acceptance and belonging.


Celebrate individuality 

For true belonging to happen, employees must feel like their whole self is accepted. Though DEI initiatives are on the rise, many employees still feel like outsiders at their workplace.

Think about it, life would be so dull if we were all the same, so make an effort to celebrate differences.


Prioritize belonging during onboarding

The first month is a critical time for new hires. Alongside learning their job, they’re also navigating where they fit in with the company. Using effective and thoughtful onboarding strategies, you can make new hires feel welcome from day 1.


Show care through benefits and initiatives 

Offer benefits and perks that are welcomed by all demographics like mental and emotional wellness programs or flexible work hours to show your appreciation and care for employee wellbeing. When employees feel appreciated employees are more likely to feel belonging.


Along with benefits, initiatives that promote diversity and celebrate under-represented groups can also drive a sense of belonging in the workplace. In male-dominated industries, such as Information and Technology, celebrating women in the workplace can unite your team and promote acceptance.


Encourage mentorship

Mentorship programs pair veteran employees with new hires or employees looking to change positions. Mentoring strengthens teamwork, job satisfaction, knowledge transfer and professional development. These connections can help employees build self-confidence and feel more comfortable and accepted. Regardless, if your organization has a formal program, you can still encourage and help facilitate mentorships.



IT Recruitment Agency in Toronto | About Live Assets | IT Staffing Solutions

Live Assets is a boutique IT Staffing/Recruiting firm specializing exclusively in building IT teams of excellence for the Information Technology sector.

We are a small, but productive team that works closely together and has had a 96% success rate for the past number of years!

We have a diverse number of clients and industries and focus on both full-time and contract I.T. opportunities.

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