What we know about belonging
According to a recent survey of US workers,³ having a sense of belonging at work is among the top five key factors in an employee’s decision to stay with an employer. At the same time, during the pandemic, this has been challenging for some companies. While the new hybrid workplace model that combines in-office and remote work comes with many benefits (e.g., greater flexibility, more time with family and friends), it also imposes a “belonging tax” on your people, resulting in a sense of seclusion, more isolated social experiences and missed opportunities for advancement.
For most individuals, the belonging tax is simply accepted as the price they must pay for convenience, flexibility and work-life balance. And at the same time, for many, the “stickiness” created by proximity of making personal connections, visibility and influence is gone. And so, for organizations, the belonging tax means increased costs as job satisfaction suffers and employees seek alternatives elsewhere.
How high-belonging teams enable better retention
High-belonging teams achieve this “triple play” in two key ways. First, because every human wants to be valued; seen; heard; and treated fairly as an authentic individual with personal values, ambitions and needs, a high-belonging approach to teaming fills a void that has exacerbated the Great Resignation. Second, most workers want to be part of cultures and teams where they are treated as the unique human beings they are — their authentic selves.
“… employees are rethinking not just how they work, but why they work and what they most want to do with their careers and lives.” – Ryan Roslansky, LinkedIn CEO⁴
“Not only are people are talking about when, where, and how they work, but also why they work. They really want to recontract, in some sense, the real meaning of work … .” – Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO⁵
Why high belonging matters and how to achieve it
One of the most significant attributes of High-Belonging Teams is the increased sense of trust that accompanies more inclusive and empathetic behavior. For example, in the 2021 EY Empathy in Business Survey, 88% of respondents said that empathetic leadership creates loyalty among employees toward their leaders. It also leads to higher psychological safety and lower stress among team members, empowering them to be their authentic selves, take risks and experiment with innovation, actively work to improve connection and collaboration, and have a greater sense of fulfillment and engagement, all of which lead to better retention. The results of the 2021 EY Empathy in Business Survey further demonstrate these benefits (see Figure 1).