Belonging at work is a fundamental human need. It's the feeling you get when you’re accepted, valued, and appreciated for who you are and what you bring to the table. It’s excruciating when it’s missing, I know when that’s happened to me it led to feelings of isolation and self-doubt, not great for my wellbeing or my productivity at work. In a high-demand environment feeling like you don’t belong creates the perfect conditions for burnout.
Belonging at work brings a sense of comfort, security, and a feeling of being part of something greater than yourself. It's the foundation of a healthy workplace culture, and it's something that many of us work hard to achieve, but isn’t entirely in our control to experience. The way you’re treated, valued and recognized plays a big part in supporting (or sabotaging) your feelings of belonging.
Belonging also provides a sense of purpose, one that’s often built in at home (unconditional love) but can feel very “conditional” at work. Ensuring belonging is reliably present in the workplace is key for organizations, because you’re more likely to collaborate with your colleagues and share your knowledge and expertise freely, which leads to better outcomes for everyone involved.
While it’s not always in your control to experience belonging at work, there are ways you can actively contribute to creating a stronger sense of belonging for yourself:
Building a sense of belonging is a collective effort, and as an individual, you can make a significant impact by fostering positive relationships, promoting inclusivity, and actively engaging with your colleagues. Fostering a deeper sense of belonging at work also enhances your wellbeing. You spend a significant portion of your life at work, and it's essential you feel a connection with the people with whom you work. Wellness and belonging are linked because belonging means you’re less likely to experience stress, anxiety, and burnout (and if you do, you have people around you at work who can help).
Belonging at work is essential for your wellbeing, engagement, and productivity. It's a basic human need that we all crave and when you feel like you belong, you’re more likely to be satisfied with your work, making meaningful contributions to your organization's success. It's an investment that pays dividends for everyone involved.