Wellbeing in the workplace is closely connected to a sense of belonging. Recent research from Belonging Space and 3Gem Research suggests that a third of the UK working population has felt isolated or lonely in the workplace at some point.
Over a quarter of respondents in the study did not feel a sense of belonging to their wider organisation, even if they felt more of a connection to their immediate department or team.
“The importance of belonging is not something businesses and organisations should underestimate, or ignore,” cautions Greg Searle MBE, Chief Innovation Officer for Keys Business Concierge. “Whereas people feel more naturally drawn towards smaller groups, fostering a sense of belonging within a whole organisation is more challenging.”
“It is challenging, but also essential in developing employee wellbeing and engagement,” Greg points out.
“You need a workforce that feels fully connected, with one another and to the overall objectives of their employer. You want them to care, and to do this, they must also feel cared for”
The Impact of Belonging
Under Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, for human satisfaction and fulfilment, belonging ranks third, after self-actualisation and esteem.
A sense of belonging operates on three levels:
- Whether the work is interesting
- Whether people feel connected to their co-workers
- Whether they feel their work has meaning
“To foster a sense of belonging, an organisation or business cannot afford to simply assume that a this will naturally occur,” says Greg. “Employees will only truly be engaged if they feel they have a role to play and that their employer values their contribution.”
Threat or Reward?
Subconsciously, as humans we constantly scan our environment, determining whether it is safe or not.
“We’re working out whether we belong instinctively,” Greg explains. “This can then trigger two areas in the brain, the threat response, and the reward response.”
“Triggering the threat response can have a significantly poor effect on productivity,” warns Greg. “It leads to anxiety, avoidance of certain tasks and a lack of cooperation.”
Belonging is a powerful need, and the brain will react if it feels it is denied it. However, when the brain is in the reward state, employees are more likely to be collaborative, and to perform better.
“An environment that supports instinctive social needs fosters a sense of belonging,” suggests Greg. “And if employees feel this sense of belonging they will identify with the organisation and feel motivated to work for its goals.”
The Business Concierge Solution
How should businesses demonstrate how much they care about their employees’ wellbeing? Greg talks about the long-term benefits of a business concierge service.
“Concierge services are not simply a luxury add-on,” says Greg. “In fact, they can work as an integral part of someone’s working life.”
“This kind of support can resonate deeply and embed a firm sense of belonging,” Greg emphasises.
“It brings with it practical benefits, both to the employee and employer, while retaining a powerful sense of reward, a daily reminder of how an organisation recognises an individual’s achievement,” concludes Greg.
For an additional read, please visit:
- Employers: Are You Improving Your Employees’ Quality of Life?
- Concierge Service: How Valuable is Giving Back Time?