Employees Want a Sense of Belonging at Work
19 May 2022 2 mins read By Andrea Amato

The past few years of the working society has shown us that employee wellbeing is more vital than ever to retain successful talent in organisations. Professionals value a sense of community in their workplace, including a company culture that is cross-collaborative and supportive to individual needs. Essentially, employees want to feel as though they belong to the company—that their personal values align well with organisational ones.

As the Covid-19 pandemic urged the workforce to re-consider what they truly want in the workplace, professionals around the world decided that it’s no longer enough to work for an on-site or remote job that does not feel purposeful. 

A recent McKinsey (2022) survey indicated that employees left their jobs for two core reasons: that they did not feel valued by their company or management (54%) and that they did not feel a sense of belonging (51%). These results highlight the current values of employees, more specifically, that they want to feel connected and included at work.

In terms of recommendations to leaders, organisations must pay attention to novel employee attitudes and values and reconsider their approach to the world of work altogether. Throwing employees back into the office, for example, might not be the answer to retaining talent, as some leaders might think. Rather, everyone’s understanding of the workplace must adapt and accommodate to employee needs. 


Employee Needs


For a long time, leaders have been encouraged to involve employees in business decisions and foster a culture that breeds innovation among teams. This vital connection point between peers can mean a great difference in leading to one professional feeling excluded and not valued at their job in Malta or elsewhere. Further, some employees may also feel that they had to conceal their opinions in the workplace, as their voices weren’t being heard by management. 

Whilst the above represents social concerns, they also impact overall employee performance, engagement, and job satisfaction. Feeling as though you belong to the workplace comes with being heard and generally feeling welcomed, accepted by peers and management. 

A sense of belongingness can be an incredible driving force in the workplace, improving overall team morale. But to feel a sense of belonging, employees need to feel as though they fit in with their work climate, and this is something that often comes from within their own personal belief systems alongside a positive company culture. 

Employees in any IT or finance job, or something other, want to be authentic in who they are and in their work. They do not want to feel as though they cannot approach management for any concerns or that they can’t act like themselves. This really encourages organisations to work on their company cultures to be more accepting and inclusive, welcoming employees from diverse backgrounds and engaging them to partake in various project discussions. Leaders need to be wary of employee differences and openly communicate their intentions to celebrate these, and in turn, reap the rewards of increased performance from teams.


Recommendations for Leaders


With the above in mind, creating a positive workplace culture must place the employees first. In better understanding their needs and values, leaders can foster a climate that is accepting and encourage open communication among on-site or remote jobs. Particular recommendations for leaders to foster a positive organisational climate can be as follows:

  • Motivate employees through proactive leadership and encourage individuals to partake in discussions, collaboration, and social connection. With the influx of remote jobs, management can organise virtual social activities that aren’t work-related—meeting with employees for coffee or attending a virtual yoga session can mean a lot in making teams feel welcome.
  • Be there for employees and address their needs. Make it a point to connect with professionals through regular check-ins and catch up. Don’t stick to agendas rigidly—allow room for conversation to flow naturally. Ask employees how they’re really doing and show that you care.
  • Create inclusive norms in the workplace that focuses on equality. In team discussions, managers and leaders alike can ensure everyone has an opportunity to share their ideas. Encourage team members to innovate in a way that works best for them, for example, some individuals may prefer to show you their ideas visually than verbally. Praise employees and champion their involvement, and be open to projects changing over time.

Fostering a positive workplace climate that helps employees feel as though they belong in their jobs in Malta or elsewhere can help retain talent long-term. Be wary that employee attitudes shift over time, so leaders must consider how to accommodate to these novel values alongside organisational goals. Whilst it can be difficult to amend certain company policies and the like, building a community within a business can begin through clear and articulate communication.

Overall, considering the above changes is an opportunity for leaders to rethink how they presently connect with their employees and build foundational relationships on mutual trust and respect. This is especially essential in remote or hybrid work settings, where social connectivity can be more distant over a virtual setting. However, in considering remote jobs as well, leaders worldwide are better equipped to support employees and celebrate their development as they progress their careers within the company, regardless of their differences.

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