New report highlights importance of workplace belonging

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Employees with a strong sense of belonging are happier and more hardworking in all kinds of times, according to a new report from Achievers. Matt Seadon, APAC CEO of the company, discusses the main findings of the report.

Impressed by the success with which your team rose to the challenge during the uncertain and torn Covid-19 months of 2020 and 2021? Or maybe you’ve seen them struggle to cope with the events in their wake and watched productivity plummet, as the pandemic unfolded?

It is an understatement to say that employers and employees have faced some “interesting times” lately. Prolonged lockdowns, remote working, travel restrictions and supply chain disruptions have made it impossible to maintain the status quo for thousands of Australian businesses of all stripes and sizes.

Employees, from the C-suite to the working face, were asked to dig deep; do whatever it takes to maintain business continuity and continue to provide service and support to customers.

Membership matters

Fatigue and emotional exhaustion are familiar conditions for many workers, but those who are deeply invested in their employer’s success generally have handled them better than others.

This is not surprising, given what researchers have recently learned about membership and how much of a difference it makes in terms of employee productivity and well-being.

The Deloitte 2020 Global Human Capital Trends survey showed that 79% of organizations worldwide consider this to be an important part of their success. Achievers Culture of Belonging Report 2021 reveals why: Employees with a strong sense of belonging are twice as likely to be engaged, productive, engaged and resilient as those who do not feel integrated into the organization who pays their wages.

Membership result

Australia Bulletin

This is an area where many Australian organizations could and should do better. The report found that only 23 percent of workers feel a strong sense of belonging to their organization. The same number said that every employee has an equal chance to succeed and grow, while only 15% felt their unique background and identity was valued at work.

Less than a fifth of Australian workers say they are regularly recognized by their managers, and only 11% work for companies that provide them with the means to develop and maintain friendships at work.

As a country, we are on par with global trends, except when it comes to administering personality and value tests: only 10% of Australian respondents have completed one, compared to 14% of respondents globally.

Understand what it means to belong

So what’s the secret to helping employees feel inside the tent, not outside in the cold?

According to an Achievers Workforce Institute executive, there are five pillars of belonging:

  • New recruits must be welcomed on board – introduced, inducted and integrated into the organizational team and culture;
  • They must be known, as individuals with unique qualities to celebrate, not anonymous cogs in the wheel;
  • They must be included; valued and accepted in the sheepfold, without reservation;
  • During their time with the organization, they must be constantly supported, to develop their skills and advance their careers;
  • And finally they need to feel connected, to colleagues and colleagues in the company.

Affiliation and employee experience

How a recognition program can help

Not sure how your organization can start to do things differently or better? Employees who are regularly recognized and rewarded for their efforts are twice as likely to feel a strong sense of belonging than those for whom pat on the back and public shouting are rare.

A formal recognition and rewards program can provide a framework for company leaders to engage and recognize employees whose efforts contribute to the success of the organization, in a positive, meaningful and authentic way. Without it, it’s too easy for good intentions to fall by the wayside, for strong contributors to be taken for granted and new hires to feel lost in the crowd.

Stronger together

Your team is likely to be your greatest asset; second light of day. An engaged and enthusiastic workforce of people who feel they are part of the history of the organization and have a personal interest in seeing it succeed cannot be bought, but can be built. Taking steps to foster a sense of collective belonging is a great place to start.

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