Belonging Resources

Belonging Resources

The go to page for everything belonging. Learn more about the why, who, where, what and when of how to design your organizations own culture of belonging.

Our most recent white paper“Belonging by Design: Ignite Belonging Through Inclusion and Engagement” explores the 3 key aspects of belonging.  And how using engagement and inclusion to achieve psychological safety in the workplace is the new frontier. Discover the valuable organizational improvements that come with a happier and more efficient workforce. 

Click the image to view and download the white paper.

What is Belonging?

Human beings are driven by a need to feel they belong in the spaces they inhabit – and this includes in the workplace. Not everyone links employee engagement to something diversity, equity and inclusion, but they should! Though belonging and inclusion are inextricably linked – they’re not interchangeable. Belonging is when a person feels safe and doesn’t have to hide parts of themselves. Enter: Psychological Safety. 

When employees feel they authentically included they know they have a voice in their organization, and that their voice is valued by their team that provides space to bring their full and authentic selves into the workplace, to do their best and highest work.

When individuals are truly engaged, they know that they have meaning and purpose in their team, group or institution. When you bring these two together, everyone feels a shared sense of trust and respect so that people are allowed to be themselves. It is a sense that you are a part of, not apart from the organization. A sense that you are valued, treated fairly and honestly, seen as an individual with something to offer and made to feel you are a part of things. The benefits of this are obvious; a happy and safe workforce is a more productive and reliable workforce.  


Even though organizations have made progress by offering Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) initiatives, many employees still don’t feel included at work. When someone doesn’t feel included, they suppress parts of themself, especially those that make them different and unique. Feeling like an outsider is painful, not just emotionally but often physically, too. In fact, researchers at Harvard, Purdue and UCLA that brain scans of those feeling the pain of exclusion reveal activity in the same areas that react to physical injury.

Although everyone in the organization has a role to play in including others, leaders can have the most impact on making employees feel included. In fact, a study by Paolo Gaudiano found that almost 60% of employees stated that when they felt excluded it was due to organizational leaders compared with almost 40% feeling excluded by direct managers and about one-third by peers. The percentages exceed 100% because employees can feel excluded by more than one group.


Employee engagement is also a critical driver to success—impacting top and bottom lines. When employee engagement is high, organizations experience higher retention rates, improved customer loyalty and increased organizational performance. In addition, highly engaged employees can also effectively deal with substantive challenges, such as those that emerged due to the COVID-19 pandemic and societal issues.

Engaged employees are more focused, passionate, innovative and have a sense of urgency. Typically, engaged employees go beyond their job descriptions, which brings meaning to their work. Unfortunately, a Gallup study shows that only a little more than a third of U.S. workers are currently engaged. Globally, the number of engaged employees dropped to just 20%. When employees aren’t engaged, they tend to watch the clock and do just enough to get by.

While most employees are not engaged, 15% are actively disengaged. In other words, they are unhappy at work. Or, today, given everything happening in the world, they may just be burned out. In 2021, 74% of actively disengaged employees were seeking another job. Although an engaged employee sometimes leaves, it is at a much lower rate than employees who aren’t engaged. Inclusion also plays a critical role in engagement. A Gallup study found that when employees feel excluded, they’re more likely to be actively disengaged.

Psychological Safety


In January 2021, Talent Dimensions conducted research to investigate the correlation between inclusion and engagement. In brief, we found that employees who self-identify as feeling included, highly engaged and committed at work, are more likely to have an overall sense of belonging.

Eighty-six percent of respondents who believed they were highly included said they were committed to the success of the organization, while only 14% of respondents in the low inclusion group felt committed to the organization. Further- more, 100% of respondents who identified as highly included stated that they felt valued at work. In turn, no one in the low inclusion group believed they were valued.

In a world where people are exploring new job opportunities in record numbers, inclusion is critical. Seventy-one percent of respondents who felt included said that if they were offered a job at another company, they would stay at their current one. Less than a third of respondents in the low inclusion group said they would stay. In other words, over two-thirds of employees who don’t feel included are likely to resign if another opportunity arises.

The implications of these results are clear; employees who feel included by their managers at work are far more likely to remain with the organization, they are more committed to the organization’s success and they feel valued, i.e., they are more engaged. When inclusion is high, and engagement is high, employees feel an overall sense of satisfaction and acceptance at their job, leading to a feeling of belonging within their organization. If employees feel included, engaged and psychologically safe—they belong— that is the sweet spot for peak individual and organizational performance with a happy and reliable workforce. The key is to make this intersection a part of your organization’s DNA.

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