6 questions to mesure your sense of belonging in the workplace

sense of belonging

Feeling included is a basic human need. When people feel a sense of belonging at work, they’re not only happier and more social– they’re also much more productive. A sense of workplace belonging builds confidence, which leads to greater flexibility, efficiency, and happiness at work. But how to measure it? Assess your sense of belonging within your organization. 

Respond to each statement by selecting a number to indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. 

I generally feel that people accept me in my organization: 

Strongly disagree 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 Strongly agree 

I feel like a misplaced piece that doesn’t fit into the lager puzzle of the organization: 

Strongly disagree 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 Strongly agree

I would like to make a difference to people around me at work‚ but I don’t feel that what I have to offer is valued:  

Strongly disagree 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 Strongly agree 

I feel like an outsider in most situations in my organization:  

Strongly disagree 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 Strongly agree   

I am uncomfortable that my background and experiences are so different from those who are usually around me in the organization: 

Strongly disagree 1 — 2 — 3 — 4 — 5 — 6 — 7 Strongly agree 

Scoring: 

  • Step 1: 2, 3, 4, and 5 are reverse scored, so subtract each of your answer choices from 8 (8 minus your answer choice number) and then add them up to get a subtotal
  • Step 2: Add your answer choice number from 1 to your subtotal.

A score of 0–15:  You don’t feel a sense of belonging. You do not feel safe and valued for expressing your true self.  

Your main opportunity: Understand that it’s normal to lack a sense of belonging in the first year of a new job. 

Try to identify the situations in which you don’t feel a sense of belonging: Is it in certain settings (like video calls) or with certain groups of people? Then try to find a culture buddy or mentor who can help you decode these situations. This is someone who understands the culture and can answer your questions and give feedback on items small (e.g., how the tone of your emails is coming across) to large (e.g., helping you understand that feeling out of place is normal). Note: When you still frequently lack a sense of belonging after two years, it’s time to think about moving to a different group or organization.  

 A score of 16–30:  You feel some sense of belonging. You mainly feel safe and valued for expressing your true self, but there is still room for improvement.  Your main opportunity: Remember that feeling like you belong doesn’t mean work will suddenly be a walk in the park—it means the normal ups and downs of office life won’t cause you quite so much stress. Look for ways to model creating a sense of belonging in your own team. For example, assume good intentions. If a colleague you know and trust makes a misstep, explain why their behavior made you feel excluded and propose an alternate action. 

A score of more than 30:  You feel a good sense of belonging. You feel that you can usually share your thoughts and know you’ll be respected and heard. 

The importance of  the sense of belonging at work

Because it affects both employee happiness and corporate performance, the sense of Belonging in the workplace is so important. Everyone at work needs to feel a sense of belonging in order to perform at their best.

Employees are more likely to feel anxious about their position in the company and have less freedom to be themselves if they don’t feel a sense of belonging. And that uncertainty, that anxiety, limits their capacity and willingness to work together, as well as their performance.

According to some conducted researches, when workers feel like they belong at work, they are:

  • 3 times more likely to feel people look forward to coming to work
  • 3 times more likely to say their workplace is fun
  • 9 times more likely to believe people are treated fairly regardless of their race
  • 5 times more likely to want to stay at their company a long time

How can an increased sense of belonging enhance the workforce experience?

The number one human capital problem that firms are currently facing is “Belonging,” according to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends report. 73 percent of those who responded said developing a sense of belonging was crucial to the success of their organization, and 93 percent said that sense of belonging promotes organizational performance (1). But why is belonging rising as such an important topic for organizations?

According to research(2), a sense of belonging benefits both employees and businesses. Belonging can result in a 75% drop in sick days, 2X more employee raises, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, an 18X increase in employee promotions, a 167% increase in employer net promoter score, and a 56% improvement in job performance. All of this is a reference to the benefits of “belonging” for employees, which increase engagement and improve the working environment.

An organization’s capacity to promote belonging and improve employee experience is influenced by three variables (3), specifically:

  • Organizational culture
  • Leadership behaviors
  • Personal relationships

Organizational culture is the set of values, attitudes, and conduct that determines how work is carried out inside an organization (4). Inclusion must be prioritized in addition to diversity and equity if we are to create a culture where everyone is valued and has the opportunity to flourish. The sense of belonging is increased by having a culture that supports employees being their true selves, owning their uniqueness, and sharing their ideas fearlessly. To establish a comprehensive corporate culture:

  • Building an open environment that promotes dialogue across differences can help establish the expectation that all choices will be made with equitable representation and diversity.
  • By investing in collaboration technologies that encourage and enable productivity and ease of connection, teams can establish the standard that they are empowered to cooperate in ways that suit their working styles and demands (meeting norms, etc.).
  • By gathering information throughout the entire organization to gauge and comprehend the business impacts of belonging, you can highlight the value of the innovation and resiliency of your hybrid workforce.

Leadership Conduct: Leadership behavior is vital in reinforcing the importance of fairness, respect, and safety in order to establish an organizational culture of belonging. Workers are motivated by this to feel valued and a part of a community. To cultivate effective leadership skills:

  • Seek to comprehend and clarify what people require in order to feel like they belong, then act empathetically in response. Aim to make policies and practices more fair by keeping an eye out for those that favor particular workforce/people groups.
  • Create harmony by tying the duties of remote and on-site workers to the overall business vision and goals. Mentor coworkers from other backgrounds by telling them your true story, encouraging them to do the same, and paying close attention when they are being heard.
  • Encourage projects started by members of historically underrepresented communities and organizations. By matching the work to the employees’ interests and talents and removing barriers, employers can aid in their advancement.

Personal Relationships: Because teams are the foundation of modern work, it is crucial for employees to feel included and involved in order to contribute. A stronger sense of belonging is cultivated when individuals are free to express their opinions without fear of repercussion, when constructive debate is encouraged, and when they feel connected to other team members on a personal basis. To improve interpersonal connections:

  • Look for meaningful and inclusive methods to involve your coworkers who feel excluded or marginalized. By leading with vulnerability, demanding clarification, challenging presumptions, and refraining from defensiveness, you can show your colleagues that you trust and appreciate them.
  • By showing interest in your coworkers’ stories and well-being, you may demonstrate how much you respect and care about them. Open doors and turn on cameras as examples of connecting behaviors that respect different working methods and preferences.
  • Regularly congratulate coworkers on their accomplishments and provide steadfast support during difficult times. Look for opportunities to appreciate your coworkers on a daily basis (thank you notes, meeting spotlights, etc.).

1Creating a culture of belonging | Deloitte Insights

2Designing the Workforce Experience | Deloitte US

3Culture of Belonging POV_vF_2020.pdf

4Creating a culture of belonging | Deloitte Insights

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