The Importance of Belonging

We have heard the word, Belonging, used several times in relation to employee engagement. Pat Wadors, Senior VP of Global Talent for LinkedIn, believes that Belonging is one of the three key factors that drives employee engagement; it is “the feeling that you can bring your authentic self to work [and that] you are valued and an essential part of your team.” This is just one definition, but I felt as though we could break it down to be even more simplistic. What does it mean to truly belong?

Not too long ago my team and I had the privilege of meeting with a series of different groups to discuss the topic of engagement. This included groups consisting of seasoned professionals, millennials in the workforce, college students / recent grads, and high school students. In these discussions, a similar theme continued to rise up; it was the need to truly belong.

As we inquired further to what was meant by truly belonging, two main factors surfaced: Purpose and Care.

The thought of purpose went beyond the notion of waking up in the morning and having a purpose in life. The meaning of purpose, in relation to belonging, was that of a shared purpose. The individuals in these groups valued the notion of collectively being able to make an impact in their organizations. It is this aligned purpose in collaboration with others that can lead to positive influence.

For example, I can be a part of medical device company – a company that saves lives and makes a difference for so many individuals and families. I do not have the skill set to go into work, create a pacemaker, and then place it in somebody’s chest, but I can be a part of a company that does and play a role that contributes to that. That’s powerful.

It is just like the famous quote from the janitor at NASA when asked by JFK what his job was, he said that he was “helping to put a man on the moon.”

But, a true sense of belonging doesn’t happen with just a shared purpose. The other quality that all of these groups mentioned, was the need to care for one another. It is not enough to simply care for those that you serve (which happens to be the highest scoring engagement statement of all twenty-four measuring the 8 Factors of Engagement), it is equally as important to care about those that you work with.

“People are more likely to remember the great social interaction they had with a colleague than the great meeting they both attended.” ― Ron Garan

“Motivation comes from working on things we care about. It also comes from working with people we care about.” ― Sheryl Sandberg

When you have a clear purpose that people are aligned with, coupled with a culture of caring, this is where individuals can experience a true sense of belonging and a connectedness between the concept of purpose and care. Belonging emerges at this intersection.

It is important that you surround yourself with others who share a common purpose, care about yourself, those that you serve, and those that you work with. When connected with others in this way, you will develop a sense of belonging that engages you to do greater things than you imagined.

When we measure the 8 Factors of Engagement for organizations, they receive the scientifically most balanced and actionable engagement model available. Included in the 8 Factors are the two factors that help to create the deepest sense of belonging: Purpose and Care. Contact us to learn more about creating a culture of Belonging in your organization.