The Importance of Belonging

A diverse, equal and inclusive workplace results in social belonging, writes Dave Casey.

Social Belonging is an inherent and the most basic human need, deeply ingrained in our neurobiological makeup. However, a significant proportion of individuals (up to 40%), express a sense of isolation inside their workplace, leading to a decline in organisational commitment and engagement. The cost linked to this lack of workplace belonging is noteworthy. Exclusion is detrimental as it elicits physical discomfort, causing harm. It is a hurt that we have all encountered at some point in our careers. The experience of feeling excluded is a profoundly human issue, which is why its repercussions are significant and its origins are challenging to identify even in the most conducive work environments.

Diversity is a fact of life. It comprises a diverse range of human characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, abilities, and socioeconomic origins, in addition to other factors.

The acknowledgment and commemoration of these distinctive characteristics are crucial in enhancing the resilience and liveliness of our societies. Embracing diversity entails recognising that every individual contributes a valuable viewpoint and personal background.

If Diversity Is a Fact, Equity Is a Choice, Inclusion Is an Action, then Belonging Is an Outcome.

In order to gain a deeper comprehension of the fundamental necessity for belonging- diversity and inclusion must include this important pillar. Belonging, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are. Dr. Brené Brown has a lot to say about belonging. She defines belonging as “being part of something bigger but also having the courage to stand alone, and to belong to yourself above all else. The ultimate result of a diverse, equal, and inclusive workplace is the experience of belonging. The sensation of belonging is characterised by a profound sense of connection and acceptance among individuals within their communities, organisations, or social circles. It refers to the sensation of being acknowledged, listened to, and appreciated for one’s true self, without the need to comply or compromise one’s individuality. Belonging cultivates a feeling of confidence, cooperation, and mental security, which subsequently promotes originality, ingenuity, and individual development.

The connection of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging are intricately linked and exert significant influence on various aspects of our society, workplaces, and individual experiences. By acknowledging and appreciating the variety present within our communities, making deliberate decisions to advance fairness, implementing practical measures to cultivate inclusivity, and establishing settings that engender a profound sense of belonging for all individuals, we can strive towards a more equitable, inclusive, and harmonious workplace and global society for all.