Sense of Belonging: Definition and How to Create One


A sense of belonging is an emotional attachment to certain things. In the workplace, this kind of feeling is shown through positive relationships among coworkers.

This strong feeling of belonging is required to create effective teamwork. The company itself, its work culture to be exact, has a significant influence in the emotional bonding of its employees

However, what is actually a sense of belonging? How to create a sense of belonging? And what are the examples? Check out the answers below.

Sense of Belonging Definition

It is a sense of ownership that includes affection and care for something. This emotion does not imply a desire to control the workplace, but rather a desire to contribute to the organization’s vision and goal.

Employees who have a strong feeling of belonging tend to perform better at work. This is due to their higher incentive to contribute to the company. Furthermore, the presence of employees who have a strong feeling of belonging will help the organization to continue moving forward and achieving its objectives.

Theory of Sense of Belonging

  • According to Baumeister and Leary (1995), a sense of belonging is an incentive to develop and sustain essential and pleasant interpersonal connections.
  • According to Hagerty and Patusky (1995), a sense of ownership is personal experience of engagement in a system or environment, so that a person feels like they are part of the organization.
  • According to Goodenaw (in Ting, 2010), a sense of belonging is a sense of being welcomed, respected, involved, and supported by one’s surroundings. This involves having the sense of being an important and useful member of the group.

The Advantages of a Sense of Belonging

A close relationship between employees and the firm will benefit both parties, including:

Create Emotional Bonds Among Employees

Knowing each other leads to emotional closeness. This will also impact team cooperation inside the organization. Therefore, emotional connections can boost the overall interaction between management and employees.

It will be simpler to communicate information and solutions related to work if management establishes an emotional relationship with employees. Management also finds it easier to direct employees to progress or improvement.

Creating a Family-Like Work Environment

Employees spend 7-8 hours of their most productive time at work each day. Activities at work will definitely affect their quality of life. Therefore, the company must pay attention to their employees’ comfort in order to prevent employees from getting stressed.

In this case, the company should be able to create a family-like work environment. The comfort that employees get from such an environment at work can motivate individuals to perform more efficiently.

Developing Employee Career Paths

The presence of a sense of ownership will create a healthy rivalry among the employees. If individuals are comfortable in showing their abilities and achievements at work, management can explore their possibilities for new roles.

How to Improve a Sense of Belonging

You may wonder how to create a sense of belonging or how to improve a sense of ownership at work. Below are the explanations.

Build Trust

Building trust is the key to improve one’s feeling of belonging. The team will find it difficult to cooperate if members do not trust each other. In fact, trusting each other is one of the ways to have good communication among employees.

Trust in the organization has two components: affective and cognitive. A trust-building strategy often begins with the cognitive element, persuading employees that everyone in the company would collaborate to finish certain goals. After that, emotional trust is established in order to strengthen and broaden that positive relationship.

Establish Social Bonds

Professional ties inside the organization should be followed by healthy and close friendships. According to Wildgoose, having close colleagues in the office can increase employee performance.

Social bonding can grow from a flexible environment such as family gatherings, interactive games, or even having lunch together.

Set Goals

Setting objectives allows employees to feel like they are a part of the organization and aspire to accomplish those goals. Team members should support each other whenever challenges arise in the process.

Evaluate Regularly

Regular evaluation can also help build a feeling of belonging in the workplace. Employees can advise colleagues and management when doing the evaluation.

Of course, a secure and pleasant environment must be created so that employees do not feel compelled to submit feedback.

Open to Discussion

One of the biggest issues in building this sense of ownership is lack of transparency.

Allowing managers and workers to talk about their experiences and company ambitions can boost ownership and lessen the danger of internal conflict.

Sense of Belonging Examples

Familiarity program is one of events that can be held in order to create a feeling of belonging in an organization. This program allows employees to get to know their coworkers.

You may organize activities that encourage workers to share their background, hobbies, and abilities. Through these activities, management and workers may present themselves more freely and build friendships with one another.

A feeling of belonging is the secret for a company to have committed and motivated employees. Management is responsible for adopting the appropriate approach to build social relationships among employees.

It won’t be simple, but that doesn’t make it impossible, does it? Of course, you may use some of the suggestions for improvement and examples provided above.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *