Why is sense of belonging so important?
A sense of belonging is critical to our life satisfaction, happiness, and mental and physical health. It gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Humans have an instinctive need to belong. We can see that in evolution, where cooperation and group relationships led to higher levels of survival.
Belonging has far-reaching consequences for us and the world around us. Our interests, motivation, health, and happiness are inextricably linked to a sense of belonging to a larger community with which we share common interests and aspirations.
It supports us in our transformation towards a successful future as when we feel supported and appreciated, we produce great work. Creating a strong sense of belonging forms our culture & identity.
Studies show that when we feel we belong at work:
- we are 10x more likely to be satisfied with our jobs,
- we take 75% fewer sick days and
- report an up to 56% higher level of overall job performance.
How do we measure belonging?
One of the simplest ways to understand where we currently stand and measure improvements over time is to simply ask our people. In Siemens, we do this via the Siemens Global Engagement Survey – carried out every six months. We have “core” questions directly related to belonging, which we ask our people every time we survey.
Belonging is achieved through the presence and integration of three factors – and it only works when you have all three working together in harmony: Diversity-Equity-Inclusion.
- Diversity is more than meets the eye. Go beyond the optics to understand and appreciate the many facets of each individual.
- Equity is ensuring everyone has access to the same opportunities and is treated fairly.
- Inclusion is ensuring every individual or group can be and feel welcomed, respected, supported, valued, and empowered to participate and contribute fully.
Improve your work and overall life satisfaction, happiness, and mental and physical health, by fostering a sense of belonging for you and those around you.
Call for Action: Take five minutes at the beginning or end of a meeting to have a ‘Belonging Moment’ where you can:
- Understand what Diversity means, and how each member has unique diversity dimensions which contribute to the team
- Consider how Equity can be improved for all members of the team by exploring the barriers that may be preventing the full participation of some colleagues
- Spend time on the topic of Inclusion to understand how to cultivate a more inclusive culture, starting with your meetings.
A large majority of our waking time during the week is spent at work, and much of that time is spent in meetings. As a host or even a participant in meetings, it’s up to each person to create an inclusive environment during meetings. Be an Inclusive Meeting Maker.
Here are some tips to keep in mind for more inclusive meeting experiences:
- Consider different time zones or unique working schedules of all participants before setting the day and time of the meeting
- Invite and welcome participants who have different perspectives
- Take time to introduce new joiners to the meeting
- If the meeting is ‘hybrid’ (virtual and in-person), take time to ensure all members who are joining virtually are acknowledged
- Pause to create space for questions and discussion between key topics
- Before judging an idea, practice curiosity and ask to understand each perspective
- Rather than saying, ‘no, but’, say, ‘yes, and’ during a conversation
- Consider explaining terms to colleagues who may not be native speakers of the language the meeting is held in, or who may process information differently
- Show appreciation for the time, engagement, and perspective of participants.
Create a safe space, ask with curiosity, and listen without judgment. That’s one of the ways we build trust and create room to grow.
Author: Desa Ćuk, People and Organization Business Partner for CEE, Smart Infrastructure, Siemens AG Austria
About the company: Siemens is a technology company focused on industry, infrastructure, transport, and healthcare. From more resource-efficient factories, resilient supply chains, and smarter buildings and grids, to cleaner and more comfortable transportation as well as advanced healthcare, the company creates technology with purpose adding real value for customers. By combining the real and the digital worlds, Siemens empowers its customers to transform their industries and markets, helping them to transform the everyday for billions of people.