As social scientist Brene Brown wrote, “… belonging is an irreducible need of all people.” In fact, when asked who we are, we often reply by describing our relationships with the people and places that are important to us: our families, friends, communities, countries — and employers.
Despite “belonging” being a universal human need, though, it is often overlooked by employers — almost as if we believe it happens automatically, without any effort on the employer’s part. In fact, though, belonging needs to be cultivated.
To reinforce this notion, we conducted a global study of over 10,000 respondents to find out what it means to belong at work, across genders, generations, geographic regions and workplace hierarchies. In what ways can we nurture belonging? What are the challenges in doing so? Here are six takeaways gleaned from our initial analysis.
1 Belonging is a universal human need
We asked respondents about the importance of belonging at work.
While there is some regional variation, 92% of respondents overall said it was important to “feel like you are appreciated for who you are and what you can contribute.” Given that most people will spend a substantial portion of their adult lives in a professional work environment, it should come as no surprise that, globally, we have a consuming need to feel a sense of belonging at our place of work.