Battling the Great Resignation with Belonging

Posted by Kristin Arnold on February 1, 2022

The Great Resignation is quite real.  A new survey commissioned by Dr. Rumeet Billan, an expert on psychological capital, reveals that nearly half of American workers are considering leaving their current place of employment.

Those who are considering making a switch are less likely to feel a sense of belonging in their current workplace, which is most often associated with being treated fairly and respectfully – though belonging encompasses many more emotions.

The 2022 Workplace Belonging Survey, finds that nearly all employed Americans (88%) agree that a sense of belonging at work boosts productivity. It also explores the gaps in what workers believe would lead to a sense of belonging and what they are currently experiencing at their jobs.

“We have recently undergone life-altering challenges as a population, exposing the need for workplace cultures to be transformed,” said Dr. Billan. “More than 19 million American workers have quit their jobs since April 2021, disrupting businesses everywhere. Companies cannot afford to continue going through this type of employee turnover. It is important that we take the time to learn why this is happening and our recent findings suggest that workers place a high value on the very human and relational aspects of work.”

Employed Americans agree that belonging leads to higher productivity at work. If workers feel like they belong, companies can reap substantial benefits – lower turnover, healthier corporate culture, a more productive workforce, engaged employees, and more.

  • Nearly all (88%) strongly or somewhat agree that a sense of belonging leads to higher productivity at work, including a majority (54%) that strongly agree.
  • Three-quarters (76%) say having a sense of belonging at work means being treated fairly and respectfully.
  • Two in three say a sense of belonging at work means having their perspective and/or contributions valued by their colleagues and superiors (64%) and working in an environment where they feel accepted (64%).
  • The largest disparity between what workers think belonging means and what they currently feel at work is “being treated fairly and respectfully at work” (17 percentage point difference), followed by “having their perspective and/or contributions valued by their colleagues and superiors” and “feeling connected with others at work” (15 percentage point difference for both).

Employees cite fairness and respect as the top driver of belonging in the workplace, presenting the greatest opportunity for businesses and employers to create belonging in their organizations.

“Belonging is not a program or initiative, it is an experience related to social connectedness, feeling included, and being accepted,” said Dr. Billan. “It’s not just about inviting everyone to the proverbial table. What happens when they get there? Now, more than ever, companies and employers must take a more human-centered approach to how they support, communicate, and engage with their employees. Well-intentioned quick fixes can come across as transactional or virtue signaling when this is not complemented with the effort to strengthen relational ties.”

  • Only 36% of employed Americans feel they work in an inclusive environment.
  • Less than half of employed Americans feel connected with others at work (45%).
  • Less than half of American workers (40%) feel aligned with their organization’s mission, vision, and values. This is also true for Millennials, who represent 35% of the total U.S. labor force and are currently the largest working generation. Just over one in three (35%) feel aligned with their organization’s mission, vision, and values.

Belonging is a fundamental human motivation, and we are hardwired towards it. Employees are experiencing stress and burnout. They are seeking a renewed sense of purpose in their work and want connection with their colleagues and superiors. Failing to recognize and invest in creating experiences of belonging and failing to meet the demands of a changing workforce will continue to push workers out instead of pulling them in.

A HUGE thank you and shout out to my good friend and colleague Dr. Rumeet Billan for commissioning this survey and sharing it with me – so I could share it with you!

For more information about elevating your team results, processes and relationships, contact master facilitator, Kristin Arnold at 800.589.4733.

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator.  She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years.  She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action.  Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.

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Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CSP, CPF|Master has been facilitating meaningful conversations between executives and managers to make better decisions and achieve extraordinary results for 25+ years. She's a leading authority on moderating panel discussions and passionate about finding the perfect olive to complement a vodka martini.

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