Organizations that cultivate a sense of belonging for the workforce thrive with higher productivity, per Dr. Vic, TEP.Global, company culture & talent expert.

Create a Sense of Belonging in the Workplace

Create a Sense of Belonging in the Workplace

By Dr. Vic | Apr 23rd, 2024 | Employee engagement, HR consulting, Management consulting, Organizational development, People management, | 0 Comments

People who feel a sense of belonging in the workplace perform better and produce better results.  Organizations can promote belonging in the workplace by creating a shared culture that values individuals.

In our last article, we talked about how to address and welcome cultural identity, cultural differences and diversity in the workplace. Creating a sense of belonging in the workplace is the flip side of the same coin, since the two go hand in hand in fostering a vibrant, diverse, and productive environment and workplace culture.

People need a sense of belonging

People need connection – we are social creatures who naturally build communities.  But there’s more to community than simple proximity. To thrive, people need to feel that they are included, accepted, and valued by their communities. In short, people need a sense of belonging. 

Yet that feeling has been in decline, especially after the pandemic. The U.S. Surgeon General warns of an “epidemic of loneliness” that can have adverse impacts throughout life.  But the Surgeon General also says, “there is a medicine hiding in plain sight: social connection.” Social connection improves health, wellbeing, and has many other benefits.  

Improving the sense of belonging at work should be a part of the solution. Belonging and inclusion make happier workers and drive positive business outcomes. This article will consider the need for belonging and ways to create a shared culture that brings people together.

Belonging in the workplace

Workers want a sense of belonging in the workplace. They want to feel valued, respected, and recognized. A 2022 survey by McKinsey found that over half of employees quit due to feeling a lack of belonging.  

Deloitte’s 2020 Global Human Capital Trends cited a sense of belonging as one of the top human capital issues, with 93% of responding organizations agreeing that “a sense of belonging drives organizational performance.” Other research supports the idea.

For example, the Harvard Business Review reports that people who feel “high belonging” at work improve their job performance by 56%, are 50% less likely to quit, and use 75% less sick time. The bad news, according to the same report, is that 40% of employees say they feel isolated at work.

The challenge is to create a workplace where employees feel a sense of belonging and have a supportive environment allowing them to shine.  

Creating a culture of belonging

To develop a sense of belonging at work, start by creating a shared culture. In a world that’s increasingly divided and at odds, make the workplace an environment where shared goals and values foster connections between people.  

Here are some ways to build a shared workplace culture:

– Define a shared vision: People want to feel part of something larger than themselves and have a positive impact. Inspire employees with a compelling vision of the unique purpose and values that define the organization. A purpose driven organization can bring together employees of different cultures and backgrounds to work towards shared goals.  

– Establish fairness:  Employees should be confident from the start that the organization will support them regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, and so forth. Make clear that the organization will treat people equally. Policies reflecting diversity, equity, and inclusion (“DEI”) are on the rise, but it is just one of many steps toward creating a sense of belonging.  

– Promote inclusion: Create an environment in which different personalities and working styles complement each other. Recognize and value individuality to avoid groups of “insiders” and “outsiders.” One way to start is to encourage collaboration among teams to avoid a “silo” mentality. Managers will need to make sure that all voices, not just the loudest ones, are heard.  

– Be flexible: Let teams find their own ways of working. Different teams will have different needs and ways of doing things. A technical team and a sales team will have different styles and attract different personalities, for example. When different teams collaborate, encourage them to set their own standards and methods.  Being flexible will encourage more individuals to contribute their best efforts. 

– Listen to feedback: To find out whether employees feel included and supported, ask them. Start by conducting regular “check-ins” with team members or conduct anonymous surveys. Find out whether they have concerns or needs that aren’t being addressed. The organization must develop trust to encourage honest communication. It should have a practice of responding to the feedback and acting on it when needed.

– Be a servant leader:  To reduce the disconnect resulting from the old “command and control” paradigm.

Organizations that are responsive, flexible, and inspiring can create a shared vision, culture, and an environment where people feel a sense of belonging, and work together for a common purpose.


TEP.Global not only has a combined 100 years of experience and expertise in people management, talent acquisition, executive assessment, but also deep knowledge in building workplace culture in organizations of all sizes.  For more information and insights, please contact us

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