2 minute read 11 May 2019
Shot of a group of colleagues having a meeting in a modern office

Five findings on the importance of belonging

By

Karyn Twaronite

EY Global and EY Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer

Driver of diversity and inclusiveness programs to provide equitable opportunities and experiences for all. Passionate advocate for creating a sense of belonging.

2 minute read 11 May 2019

Our research shows that when people feel like they belong, they are more productive, motivated and engaged.

The latest EY Belonging Barometer study uncovers how more than 1,000 employed adult Americans define belonging, what makes them feel like they belong at work and what makes them feel excluded in the workplace.

Key finding 1: Diversity and belonging are workplace expectations.

  • Nearly half of respondents believe that diversity is best represented at work and more than one-third feel the greatest sense of belonging at work.
  • 45% of respondents believe that diversity is best represented at their place of work, second only to home (62%).
  • 92% of respondents feel like they belong within their current workplace – 93% of men and 90% of women agree. When asked in what ways they belong:
    • 56% of respondents feel they belong most at work when they feel trusted and respected, with baby boomers feeling this way the most at 63%, compared with Gen Xers at 56% and millennials at 53%.
    • 39% of respondents feel they belong most at work when they can speak freely and voice their opinions.
    • 34% feel they belong most at work when their unique contributions are valued, with Caucasian respondents agreeing the most at 36%, followed by black respondents at 31% and Hispanic respondents at 27%.
  • 34% of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging at work across generations and ethnicities, ahead of their physical neighbourhood (19%) and place of worship (17%).

Key finding 2: Regular check-ins prevent workers from checking out.

  • 39% of respondents say that when colleagues check in with them about how they are doing, both personally and professionally, they feel the greatest sense of belonging at work, ahead of receiving feedback (31%).
  • 44% women and 33% men agree to the importance of regular check-ins.
  • Regular check-ins were most popular across all generations, with 35% of millennials, 40% of Gen Xers and 45% of baby boomers agreeing.
  • Across all generations, the check-in took priority over actions such as:
    • 23% public recognition
    • 20% being invited to out-of-office events
    • 14% being asked to join a meeting with senior leaders
    • 9% being included on emails with senior leaders

Key finding 3: Is exclusion a form of bullying? Women seem to think so.

  • The majority of women believe that exclusion is a form of bullying in the workplace, the majority of men believe it is not.
  • 54% of all respondents believe that exclusion is a form of bullying at work, 46% do not.
  • 68% of the LGBTQ community believe that exclusion is a form of bullying.
  • 57% of Hispanic respondents believe that exclusion is a form of bullying, compared with 53% of Caucasian respondents and 50% of black respondents.
  • 48% of millennials are least likely to feel that exclusion is a form of bullying compared with 46% of Gen Xers and 44% of baby boomers that do.

Key finding 4: The emotional barometer: respondents feel ignored across the board.

Respondents were asked to choose two emotions they feel when excluded at work. 40% of them across generations and genders say they are most likely to feel ignored. Also, 26% of men feel stressed and 28% of women feel sad, when they are excluded.

Emotional barometer respondents feel ignored across board

Summary

While today’s social climate has been associated with controversy and disagreements, it also seems to be banding people together in a more positive way – surprisingly at work. Regardless of background, gender, sexual orientation or race, individuals are coming together in search of a sense of community and belonging, with many expecting and finding it within the workplace. 

About this article

By

Karyn Twaronite

EY Global and EY Americas Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer

Driver of diversity and inclusiveness programs to provide equitable opportunities and experiences for all. Passionate advocate for creating a sense of belonging.