What is employee belonging at work: Definition, benefits, and top survey questions to ask your employees in 2024

Kailash Ganesh
16 min read
What is employee belonging at work: Definition, benefits, and top survey questions to ask your employees in 2024
What is employee belonging at work: Definition, benefits, and top survey questions to ask your employees in 2024

In our fast-paced world, where deadlines loom like storm clouds, fostering a culture of belonging is often overlooked. But let me tell you, my friend, it turns a group of individuals into a high-performing team. It's the glue that binds diverse talents, experiences, and perspectives into a force to be reckoned with.

Now, you might be wondering, "How do I go beyond the superficial team-building exercises and truly nurture a sense of belonging and a diverse workforce?"

Fear not! In the next few scrolls, we're unraveling the intricacies of creating an environment where your employees not only work but thrive.

We'll explore the subtle art of recognizing and celebrating individual strengths, the importance of authentic communication, and how leadership plays a pivotal role in setting the tone.

Consider this blog your guide to transforming your workplace into a hub of creativity, innovation, and genuine camaraderie where everyone is treated fairly.

What is employee belongingness at work?

Employees are connecting puzzles in the workplace
What is employee belongingness at work?

Employee belongingness at work is the magnetic force that transforms a group of professionals into a cohesive, empowered team. It goes beyond the typical workplace camaraderie, delving into the realm where every individual feels valued, respected, and an integral part of the organizational fabric, forming meaningful relationships.

It's the shared sense of purpose, the feeling that one's contributions matter, and the understanding that diversity is not just acknowledged but celebrated.

Moreover, employee belongingness enhances employee well-being and mental health. When individuals feel accepted and valued at work, they experience lower levels of stress and anxiety, leading to higher levels of job satisfaction and overall happiness.

So, an employee's sense of belongingness is the alchemy that turns a job into a fulfilling journey, fostering a workplace where people don't just clock in and out but actively contribute to a shared vision with a genuine sense of connection and commitment.

What are the 5 pillars of belonging?

In the intricate architecture of a thriving workplace, the concept of belonging stands tall, supported by five robust pillars. Each pillar, meticulously crafted and fortified, serves as a cornerstone for creating a workplace environment where individuals don't just coexist but flourish together.

1. Inclusive leadership

The foundation of belonging is laid by leaders who champion diversity, equity, and inclusion. Inclusive leaders actively listen, value diverse perspectives, and create an environment where everyone feels seen and heard.

2. Authentic communication

Open, honest, and transparent communication is a pillar that supports the structure of belonging. When employees are kept informed and engaged, they feel a sense of trust and connection, crucial for fostering a culture of belonging.

3. Recognition and appreciation

Acknowledging and celebrating individual and team achievements is a cornerstone of belonging. When employees feel their efforts are recognized and appreciated, it validates their contributions, reinforcing a positive and inclusive work environment.

4. Personal growth and development

Empowering employees to learn and grow is a pillar that sustains a sense of belonging. Providing opportunities for skill development, workforce experience, and career advancement not only enhances individual potential but also communicates a commitment to the personal growth of each team member.

5. Cultural integration

The fifth pillar is the integration of organizational values into the daily fabric of work. When company culture aligns with the beliefs and values of its employees, it creates a sense of unity and purpose, fortifying the sense of belonging within the organizational community.

How do you help employees feel like they belong?

Employer and employee hi-fying each other in the workplace
How do you help employees feel like they belong?

Creating a workplace environment where employees feel a strong sense of belonging is paramount for fostering employee satisfaction, productivity, and retention. To achieve this, organizations must implement various strategies aimed at ensuring employees feel valued, included, and supported.

Firstly, effective communication plays a pivotal role in helping employees feel like they belong. Regularly sharing updates about company goals, initiatives, and achievements fosters transparency and keeps employees informed, which in turn cultivates a sense of belonging.

Open channels of communication also encourage employees and provide opportunities for employees to voice their opinions, concerns, and ideas, demonstrating that their input is valued and considered.

Moreover, promoting a culture of inclusivity is essential for creating a sense of belonging among employees. This involves embracing diversity in all its forms and actively seeking to create an environment where every individual feels respected, appreciated, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives and talents.

Encouraging collaboration, listening to diverse viewpoints, encouraging employees, and fostering an atmosphere of mutual respect are key components of building an inclusive workplace culture.

Recognizing and appreciating employees' contributions is another crucial aspect of fostering a sense of belonging.

Regular acknowledgment of employees' achievements, both big and small, not only boosts morale but also reinforces the idea that each individual's efforts are recognized and valued by the organization.

This can take the form of formal recognition programs, as well as informal gestures of appreciation such as personalized thank-you notes or public praise.

Investing in training, mentorship programs, and career development initiatives not only equips employees with the skills they need to succeed but also demonstrates the organization's commitment to their long-term success and well-being.

Why is it important for employees to feel a sense of belonging?

Diverse employees are standing together
Why is it important for employees to feel a sense of belonging?

A sense of belonging is not a mere nicety in the workplace; it's the cornerstone of organizational success. When employees feel a genuine connection to their workplace, a ripple effect of positive outcomes ensues.

Firstly, belonging enhances morale, igniting a passion for work that transcends the confines of job descriptions. This emotional investment leads to heightened collaboration, as team members willingly share diverse perspectives, fueling creativity and innovation. Moreover, a strong sense of belonging acts as a buffer against stress and burnout, bolstering mental well-being.

Employees who feel valued and heard are more likely to stay loyal to their organization, reducing turnover rates and the associated costs. Ultimately, a workplace where belonging thrives becomes a magnet for top talent, fostering a positive culture that attracts, retains, and propels individuals and the organization toward unparalleled success.

What is the difference between inclusion and belonging?

What is the difference between inclusion and belonging?
What is the difference between inclusion and belonging?

Inclusion and belonging are interconnected yet distinct concepts that shape the employee experience. Inclusion, often viewed as the gateway to belonging, revolves around the deliberate effort to involve individuals of diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences.

It's about creating an environment where everyone is invited to the table, where their voices are not just heard but actively sought. Inclusion strives for diversity and representation, recognizing that a variety of perspectives enriches decision-making and problem-solving.

On the other hand, belonging takes the notion of inclusion a step further. It transcends the act of being invited in and delves into the emotional realm—creating a space where individuals feel a deep, intrinsic connection to the workplace.

Belonging is when employees not only participate but thrive, finding a sense of identity and purpose within the organizational culture. It goes beyond statistical diversity, acknowledging and celebrating the uniqueness of each individual.

Additionally, an important aspect to consider in understanding the difference between inclusion and belonging is the role of leadership.

Effective leadership plays a pivotal role in promoting both inclusion and belonging within an organization. Leaders who prioritize inclusion actively lead by example, demonstrating inclusivity in their actions, decisions, and interactions with others.

Fostering a sense of belonging requires intentional efforts from leadership to create a culture where employees feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique talents and perspectives.

This involves nurturing a supportive environment where individuals can authentically express themselves, form meaningful connections with colleagues, and have a sense of ownership over their work and the organization's goals.

What is an example of belonging?

Imagine a bustling office where the hum of productivity is matched only by the symphony of diverse voices seamlessly blending together. In this vibrant space, employees don't just share a workplace; they embody a sense of belonging that transcends the professional realm.

An example of belonging manifests when a new team member, fresh to the organization, is not just greeted with a generic onboarding process but is embraced by colleagues who make an effort to understand their unique strengths and contributions.

Picture a scenario where employees, instead of merely collaborating on projects, actively seek each other's insights, valuing the diverse perspectives that each team member brings to the table.

It's in the small yet powerful gestures: a team celebrating the success of one member as if it were a collective victory or colleagues rallying around an individual facing a professional challenge, offering support that extends beyond the scope of job responsibilities.

In this example of belonging, research shows it's not just about clocking in and out; it's about a shared journey where individuals find a genuine connection to their work and their colleagues.

It's the feeling of being an integral thread in the rich tapestry of the organization, where each person's uniqueness is not only acknowledged but celebrated, contributing to a culture where everyone thrives.

5 Employee belonging at work benefits you should know

Employees are hi-fying each other
Employee belonging at work benefits you should know

Employee belonging brings a lot of benefits. Here are the top ones that you will organization will also enjoy if you take this aspect of engagement seriously.

  1. Elevated employee engagement: Employee belonging is the secret sauce for supercharging engagement. When individuals feel a deep connection to their workplace, they become more invested in their roles. This heightened engagement translates to increased productivity, creativity, and a genuine passion for contributing to the organization's success.
  2. Enhanced team collaboration: Belonging fosters a collaborative spirit where team members actively seek out and value diverse perspectives. This sense of unity propels effective teamwork, breaking down silos and fostering an environment where collective business success is prioritized over individual achievements.
  3. Reduced turnover rates: Organizations that prioritize employee belonging experience lower turnover rates. When individuals feel a strong sense of connection and purpose, they are more likely to stay committed to their roles and the organization. This reduction in turnover not only saves recruitment costs but also ensures continuity and stability within teams.
  4. Increased innovation and creativity: Belonging unleashes the full spectrum of individual talents and creativity. Employees who feel valued and included in the entire team are more willing to share their innovative ideas without fear of judgment. This diversity of thought fuels innovation, driving the organization forward in an ever-evolving landscape.
  5. Positive impact on mental well-being: Employee well-being is at the core of belonging. A workplace that nurtures a sense of belonging acts as a support system, reducing stress and burnout. When individuals feel supported and valued, their mental well-being flourishes, creating a positive ripple effect that benefits both the individual and the overall workplace culture.

7 Employee belonging statistics to be aware of in 2024

Employers are studying the recent statistics
Employee belonging statistics to be aware of in 2024
  1. Studies have shown that organizations with a strong sense of belonging experience a 56% increase in job performance compared to those without a focus on promoting belonging (HumanCapital).
  2. Companies that prioritize employee belonging see high engagement and witness a 43% reduction in turnover rates (Gallup).
  3. Organizations fostering belonging alongside diversity and inclusion practices are 3.5 times more likely to outperform their peers (Deloitte).
  4. Diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. (Deloitte)
  5. A sense of belonging at work is linked to a significantly lower risk of mental health issues among employees (National Institute of Health).
  6. Companies emphasizing belonging and engagement observe a 22% increase in overall employee productivity (Harvard Business Review).
  7. A high belonging in work reduces sick days of employees by 75% (Harvard Business Review).

20 Employee belonging survey questions to ask your employees at work

20 Employee belonging survey questions to ask your employees at work
20 Employee belonging survey questions to ask your employees at work

Designing a comprehensive employee belonging survey is crucial for gaining insights into the well-being and satisfaction of your workforce. Here are 20 survey questions that can help you assess the sense of belonging among your employees:

  1. On a scale of 1 to 10, how strongly do you feel a sense of belonging in our organization?
  2. Do you believe that your unique skills and contributions are valued by your team and the organization?
  3. How comfortable are you expressing your authentic self at work? (Very Uncomfortable to Very Comfortable)
  4. To what extent do you feel included in decision-making processes within your team or department?
  5. How often do you receive recognition or appreciation for your work from your colleagues and superiors? (Rarely to Frequently)
  6. Do you feel that your opinions and ideas are actively sought out and considered by your team?
  7. In your opinion, how diverse and inclusive is our workplace? (Not Inclusive to Very Inclusive)
  8. To what degree do you think leadership supports and promotes a culture of belonging?
  9. Have you ever witnessed or experienced behavior at work that made you feel excluded or uncomfortable? If yes, please provide details.
  10. How well do you believe the organization communicates its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion? (Poorly to Excellently)
  11. Do you feel that your career growth and development are supported by the organization?
  12. How satisfied are you with the level of collaboration and teamwork within your department? (Dissatisfied to Very Satisfied)
  13. Do you think there are enough opportunities for social interaction and team-building activities within the organization?
  14. To what extent do the organization's mission and values align with your personal values?
  15. How would you rate the accessibility of resources and support for employee well-being in our workplace? (Inaccessible to Very Accessible)
  16. Do you feel comfortable providing feedback on issues related to diversity, inclusion, and belonging?
  17. What suggestions do you have for improving the sense of belonging within the organization?
  18. Are there any specific initiatives or programs you believe could enhance the sense of community among employees?
  19. How effective do you find our current channels for addressing concerns related to belonging and inclusivity?
  20. In your opinion, what role can team leaders play in fostering a more inclusive work environment?

Common challenges in promoting employee sense of belonging

Employer climbing up on a ladder
Common challenges in promoting employee sense of belonging

Promoting a sense of belonging among employees is essential for cultivating a positive workplace culture and fostering employee engagement and retention.

However, despite the best intentions, organizations may encounter various challenges in their efforts to promote employee belonging. Some common challenges include:

  1. Lack of diversity and inclusion initiatives: Without robust diversity and inclusion initiatives, employees from underrepresented groups may feel marginalized or excluded, hindering efforts to create a truly inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected.
  2. Poor communication: Inadequate communication can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and feelings of disconnect among employees. When employees are not kept informed about company goals, changes, or initiatives, they may feel disconnected from the organization and its mission.
  3. Limited opportunities for collaboration: A lack of opportunities for collaboration and teamwork can hinder employees' ability to build meaningful relationships with their colleagues. Without a sense of camaraderie and connection, employees may struggle to feel like they belong to a cohesive team.
  4. Inadequate recognition and appreciation: Failing to recognize and appreciate employees' contributions can undermine their sense of value and worth within the organization. When employees do not feel acknowledged or appreciated for their efforts, they may become disengaged and less motivated to contribute positively to the workplace culture.
  5. Limited career development opportunities: Without opportunities for career growth and advancement, employees may feel stagnant and unfulfilled in their roles. The absence of clear paths for professional development can erode employees' sense of belonging and commitment to the organization.
  6. Negative workplace dynamics: Toxic workplace dynamics, such as gossip, favoritism, or bullying, can create a hostile environment where employees feel unsafe and unwelcome. Addressing and mitigating these negative behaviors is crucial for fostering a sense of belonging and psychological safety among employees.
  7. Remote work challenges: In the era of remote work, maintaining a sense of belonging can be particularly challenging. Without face-to-face interactions, employees may feel isolated and disconnected from their colleagues and the organization as a whole.

How to set and stick to employee belonging guidelines?

Employers are holding a sign that says - guideline
How to set and stick to employee belonging guidelines?

Establishing and maintaining employee belonging guidelines requires a thoughtful and deliberate approach. Begin by clearly defining what belonging means within the context of your organization, aligning it with your mission and values.

Engage employees in the process, seeking their input to ensure diverse perspectives are considered. Once established, communicate these guidelines transparently, emphasizing their importance and the commitment to fostering an all-inclusive workplace environment.

Consistency is key. Ensure that belonging guidelines are integrated into all aspects of the employee lifecycle, from onboarding to performance evaluations.

Provide regular training sessions to reinforce these principles and equip employees with the skills to embody them. Implement mechanisms for employee feedback and continuous improvement, acknowledging that organizational dynamics evolve.

Leadership also plays a pivotal role as they should model the desired behaviors outlined in the guidelines. Regularly assess the effectiveness of the guidelines through surveys and other feedback mechanisms, adapting them as needed.

By weaving belonging into the organizational fabric, you create a culture where these guidelines become not just rules to follow but an inherent part of the workplace ethos.

Culture of belonging in the workplace

Employers having a meeting with an employee
Culture of belonging in the workplace

In today's dynamic corporate landscape, fostering a culture of belonging in the workplace is not just a lofty ideal but a strategic imperative.

An inclusive work environment where every employee feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their best is paramount for organizational success. Here's a comprehensive guide on how to cultivate and sustain a culture of belonging:

  1. Leadership commitment: Top-down commitment is indispensable. Leaders must champion diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, not just as a checkbox exercise but as an integral part of the company's ethos.
  2. Diverse hiring practices: Actively recruit from a diverse talent pool. Implement blind hiring techniques to mitigate unconscious biases and ensure a level playing field for all candidates.
  3. Cultural sensitivity training: Provide comprehensive training programs to promote cultural awareness and sensitivity among employees. Encourage open dialogues and discussions on diversity-related topics.
  4. Employee resource groups (ERGs): Establish ERGs that cater to various affinity groups within the organization. These groups provide a platform for employees to connect, share experiences, and advocate for inclusive policies.
  5. Inclusive policies and benefits: Review and revise HR policies to ensure they are inclusive and equitable. Offer benefits such as flexible work arrangements, parental leave, and mental health support to accommodate diverse needs.
  6. Transparent communication: Foster a culture of open communication where feedback is encouraged and valued. Ensure transparency in decision-making processes to build trust and foster a sense of belonging.
  7. Recognition and celebrations: Recognize and celebrate diverse cultural holidays and milestones. Organize events and activities that promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation.
  8. Mentorship and sponsorship programs: Implement mentorship and sponsorship programs to support the career growth and development of underrepresented employees. Pair employees with mentors who can provide guidance and advocacy.
  9. Zero-tolerance for discrimination: Enforce strict policies against discrimination, harassment, and microaggressions. Provide clear channels for reporting incidents and ensure prompt and fair resolution.
  10. Continuous evaluation and improvement: Regularly assess the effectiveness of DEI initiatives through surveys, focus groups, and other feedback mechanisms. Use data-driven insights to identify areas for improvement and refine strategies accordingly.

How do you measure belonging in the workplace?

Employer measuring the recent metrics
How do you measure belonging in the workplace?

Measuring belonging in the workplace involves a multifaceted approach that goes beyond traditional metrics. Begin by conducting regular surveys specifically focused on belonging, using questions that assess employees' perceptions and experiences.

Questions on inclusion surveys should cover aspects such as inclusion, recognition, and the overall sense of community within the organization.

Utilize quantitative data, such as responses to Likert-scale questions, to gauge the numerical extent of belonging. Analyze trends over time to identify areas of improvement or success.

Qualitative research methods, like open-ended survey questions or focus group discussions, provide valuable insights into the nuances of employees' feelings and experiences.

Review turnover rates, as a lack of belonging can contribute to higher employee attrition. Exit interviews and feedback from departing employees can offer valuable information on belonging-related issues. Monitor diversity and inclusion metrics to understand how effectively these aspects are integrated into the workplace culture.

Leadership behaviors are also crucial indicators. Assess the extent to which leaders model inclusive behaviors and actively support a sense of belonging. Track participation in mentorship programs, cross-functional collaborations, and employee resource groups, as they often correlate with increased feelings of belonging.

You can also conduct regular pulse checks, one-on-one conversations with engaged employees, and feedback mechanisms to create ongoing opportunities to measure and respond to the evolving dynamics of belonging within the workplace.

Ultimately, a holistic measurement strategy encompasses both quantitative and qualitative data, offering a comprehensive understanding of the organization's progress in fostering a culture of belonging.

Role of DEI surveys in measuring employee belonging at work

Role of DEI surveys in measuring employee belonging at work
Role of DEI surveys in measuring employee belonging at work

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) surveys play a pivotal role in gauging employee belonging at work. These surveys go beyond numerical diversity metrics, delving into the nuanced experiences and perceptions of employees.

By including questions related to belonging within the DEI survey framework, organizations gain insights into how employees of different backgrounds and identities feel within the workplace.

DEI surveys serve as a barometer, measuring the inclusivity of organizational practices and policies.

This comprehensive approach allows companies to identify specific areas for improvement, fostering an environment where employees not only coexist but thrive, embodying a genuine sense of belonging and contributing to a culture that celebrates diversity and equity.


Belonging is the secret ingredient, elevating engagement, fortifying collaboration, and reducing turnover.

As we navigate the evolving landscapes of diversity, equity, and inclusion, the importance of measuring and fostering belonging becomes undeniable. It is a journey that requires commitment, thoughtful guidelines, and a continuous pulse on the organizational heartbeat.

Ultimately, in the harmonious symphony of a workplace that values and nurtures belonging, we find the crescendo of innovation, fulfillment, and shared success.


1. How to measure belonging at work?

Belonging can be evaluated through surveys gauging employees' connection, participation in decision-making, and comfort expressing themselves. Analyzing collaboration rates, engagement levels, and turnover provides insights into the effectiveness of belonging initiatives. This data helps tailor strategies to enhance employees' feelings of acceptance and inclusion, ensuring they feel valued and integral to the workplace community.

2. What’s the difference between inclusion and belonging?

Inclusion ensures diversity and equity, while belonging emphasizes emotional connection within the workplace. Inclusion focuses on representation, whereas belonging strives for genuine integration, where employees feel valued and empowered to contribute authentically. This fosters a cohesive, supportive company culture. Both are vital for a thriving workplace where individuals feel respected and others feel connected, contributing to a positive organizational environment.

3. How to promote belonging in the workplace?

Foster belonging by prioritizing inclusivity, through diversity efforts promoting diverse representation, and fostering a culture of acceptance and respect. Encourage open communication, recognize individual contributions, and provide platforms and different spaces for collaboration and social connection. Leadership must champion belonging initiatives, implement supportive policies, and address biases to create an environment where every employee feels valued and included in the workplace community.

4. How to build belonging in the workplace?

Building belonging involves creating an inclusive environment where employees feel accepted, respected, and valued. Foster diversity, provide opportunities for social interaction and collaboration, and promote a culture of appreciation and recognition. Encourage team bonding activities and ensure leadership actively supports and advocates for an inclusive workplace culture where all employees feel a sense of belonging and purpose.

5. What is the role of leadership in fostering a sense of belonging?

Leadership plays a pivotal role in fostering belonging by setting the tone for organizational culture. Lead by example, champion diversity and inclusion initiatives, and prioritize psychological safety. Actively listen to employees, solicit feedback, and address concerns to create an environment where every individual feels supported, valued, and empowered to contribute their best work, fostering a strong sense of belonging.

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash Ganesh

Kailash is a Product Marketer with 5+ years of experience. He loves story-telling in the simplest way possible and he is an avid reader, movie buff, and likes to travel new places to meet new people.