Deep Understanding About Employee Sense of Belonging

By Jordhi FarhansyahPublished 06 May, 2024

Just like a home, employees can feel comfort and security because of one thing: Sense of belonging or ownership.

When an employee is imbued with a sense of ownership towards the company, the term office as a second home is not just a figure of speech.

Employees can feel comfort, security, commitment, and responsibility just like at their own home. Certainly, this not only has a positive impact on employees but also the company.

Through this article, Mekari Talenta will explain the importance of a sense of belonging in the workplace and provide practical guidance for HR to create an inclusive work environment by fostering ownership.

What is Sense of Belonging?

Deep Understanding About Employee Sense of Belonging

According to the Cambridge dictionary, sense of belonging is the feeling of happiness and comfort due to acceptance from a group or community.

Through this feeling, one experiences connection and becomes part of the group regardless of social, cultural, racial, background, and other differences.

Usually, individuals who have a sense of belonging feel comfortable being themselves, do not feel alone, are happier, and can even endure difficult times in their current environment.

Moreover, referring to Maslow’s Pyramid, a sense of belonging is also part of human basic needs.

According to Maslow’s Pyramid, a sense of belonging includes social needs such as being loved and the need for self-esteem.

When social needs and self-esteem are fulfilled, humans will reach the peak of their needs, which is self-actualization, where humans begin to focus on self-development and their surrounding environment.

This has made the creation of a sense of belonging a primary focus for HR in recent years, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic.

With a strong sense of belonging, employees are expected to be able to actualize themselves, especially in relation to their work.

Some Expert Opinions on Sense of Belonging in the Workplace

Ethan Mayo, an Australian psychologist popular in the 1920s and 1930s, was one of the first to propose the theory of sense of belonging in the workplace.

Through the Hawthorne Studies experiments conducted in the 1920s, the professor found a correlation between sense of belonging and work productivity.

The results showed that social factors such as sense of belonging significantly influence employee productivity.

However, according to Tony Bond, vice president of Great Place to Work, creating a sense of belonging in the workplace is not just about appreciating employees.

This is because the sense of belonging is influenced by highly diverse factors and can even change over time along with an individual’s psychological development.

Tony Bond’s opinion is also supported by Rebekah Bastian, Vice President of Culture and Community at Zillow Group, in a panel discussion organized by the Wharton School of the University of Philadelphia.

According to her, to develop a sense of belonging in the workplace, one must be able to see everyone’s perspective, eliminate barriers, and appreciate individual differences.

In other words, an HR manager must take a holistic approach to human resource management when aiming to create a sense of belonging in the workplace.

It’s not just about being tied to one or two conventional factors like salary or monetary incentives. Rather, it delves deeper into each employee’s characteristics and psychological needs.

Read more: Change Management KPI: Tracking Success in 2024 and Beyond

What Are the Elements of Sense of Belonging in the Workplace?

Through Deloitte’s release entitled “Elevating the Workforce Experience: The Belonging Relationship,” there are three main elements that shape the sense of belonging in the workplace, as follows.


The presence of a sense of belonging ensures that every employee feels comfortable and safe in the workplace.

Employees should also feel treated fairly and respected by colleagues and the company regardless of race, beliefs, ethnicity, background, and experience.

Examples of comfort elements in the workplace:

  • Employees do not need to remove their hijab for certain job positions.
  • The company provides easier job access for breastfeeding employees.
  • Employees from specific ethnicities do not feel ashamed of their distinctive appearance and accent.


In this case, employees receive support from colleagues and superiors, opportunities for development, and opportunities to communicate with colleagues and the company.

Examples of connection elements are as follows:

  • Employees have equal opportunities to obtain information.
  • Employees have access to specific needs, whether emergency or non-emergency.
  • There are places for employees to communicate with each other and with the company.


The concept of sense of belonging that makes employees feel valued by the company and other employees. Examples include:

  • Employee appointment based on meritocracy.
  • Employees are given opportunities to develop their abilities.
  • Recognition given to employees.

What Are the Benefits of Implementing a Sense of Belonging?

1. Increasing Employee Engagement

The higher the employee’s sense of belonging, the higher the level of employee engagement.

According to Gallup reports, when an employee has a sense of belonging to the company, it can have a positive impact on employee engagement.

Employee engagement itself is the attitude of commitment and dedication that employees give to the company.

Also from research conducted by Gallup, high levels of employee engagement also have positive impacts on other aspects.

Such as better employee attendance rates, decreased employee fraud rates, and increased employee productivity.

2. Reducing Employee Turnover Ratio

Research conducted by BatterUp shows that a sense of belonging can reduce the risk of employee turnover by up to 50%.

This research is also supported by findings from McKinsey, where 51% of employees who quit their jobs in the last 6 months did so because they did not feel a sense of belonging.

3. Creating a Healthy Work Environment

Open communication and acceptance of differences can also create a healthy work environment.

The impact of a healthy work environment not only improves employee productivity levels significantly.

Beyond that, Eric Mary, country head of Robert Walters Indonesia, believes that a healthy work environment is attractive to potential candidates.

Companies ultimately have a strong employer branding and can attract the best candidates more easily.

Read more: Understanding Professional Employer Organization (PEO)

How to Improve Employee Sense of Belonging?

Sam Lalanne, Vice President of Global Diversity and Talent Management at Citi, shares his views on the sense of belonging in the workplace.

For him, a sense of belonging is effectively applied when employees do not feel like someone else in the office and feel comfort and security as they do outside the office.

For example, Aisyah is a devout Muslim working in a company with a majority of non-Muslim employees.

Effective sense of belonging allows Aisyah to express herself as a Muslim in the workplace, such as fasting, worshiping, and adhering to her principles as a Muslim.

So, how do you create and improve an effective sense of belonging for employees?

1. Set Targets and Metrics

Having a sense of belonging in the workplace is part of the company’s efforts to become an inclusive organization.

According to McKinsey, the first step when a company wants to build an inclusive organization is to set inclusion targets and metrics to measure its success.

There are two measures or matrices of organizational inclusiveness: business perception and employee perception.

Business perception matrices can include productivity levels and customer feedback, employee retention rates, or employee turnover ratios.

While examples of employee perception matrices include job satisfaction levels, ease of access to welfare facilities, and employee training participation.

2. Create Open Communication

A sense of belonging comes from open communication. Both among employees and with management.

Ensure the company has platforms that allow employees to interact with each other and share information, whether online or in-person.

Online, you can utilize HRIS software that has employee self-service features that allow employees and the company to connect and share information.

Another example is conducting 360-degree feedback for each team to understand the differences among employees.

3. Create a Safe Space for Employees

Although a sense of belonging promotes openness, it doesn’t mean employees don’t have their own safe space.

On the contrary, providing a safe space allows employees the freedom to express their personal feelings to managers or the company.

One example you can do is to conduct monthly one-on-one interviews to create a safe space for employees.

4. Organize Activities Involving Various Interests and Specific Communities

Holding programs related to employees’ interests is one way to enhance a sense of belonging. Especially if it involves employees directly.

For example, organizing futsal matches, cooking classes, internal gaming competitions, outbound activities, music events, or watching movies together.

5. Provide Facilities and Compensation for Employee Well-being

Lastly, provide access to employee welfare facilities such as healthcare facilities, emergency assistance, career and skills training programs, or psychological counseling.

The presence of employee welfare facilities and compensation can create a sense of security for employees even when they are away from home.

6. Embrace Employees Wherever They Are

It is worth noting that building a sense of belonging in the workplace is not limited to the workplace. This was stated by Nate Thompson, co-founder of Disruption Workforce.

According to him, a company’s concern for employees wherever they are is also part of fostering a sense of belonging.

Especially in the midst of the hybrid working trend, employees still want to be considered and needed by the company.

7. Utilize Technology

Creating a sense of belonging is not only through personal approaches but also through technological approaches.

For example, communication technologies like video conferencing and employee self-service applications to improve employee communication with the company.

Similarly, in measuring the success rate of employee inclusion programs, technology such as HR analytics applications is essential.

The presence of HR technology ensures that employee inclusion programs are targeted and effective in terms of time, cost, and results.

Especially since the pandemic crisis and the growing needs of employees require all HR policies to be implemented holistically, quickly, and without compromise. This cannot be answered with old methods.

Understanding this, Mekari Talenta as an HRIS is here to meet those needs.

Through HR analytics features, you can monitor and record HR analytics data with various matrices.

Starting from attendance, labor cost expenditure trends, turnover ratios, to employee performance. Moreover, Mekari Talenta provides custom dashboards according to your data needs.

Interested in using Mekari Talenta? Discuss your needs with our sales team and try the application demo for free.


Build a Sense of Belonging in a Workplace

Sense of Belonging in the Workplace

Jordhi Farhansyah
Penulis yang selama 2 tahun terakhir fokus memproduksi konten seputar HR dan bisnis. Selain menulis, sehari-hari Jordhi juga aktif merawat hobinya di bidang fotografi analog.