Workers feel they belong most when 'trusted and respected': Study

Workers may need some more reassurance at the office, according to a new study.

Big Four firm Ernst & Young released the results of its inaugural “Belonging Barometer” study this week, which polled more than 1,000 employed American adults about their sense of belonging at work. Among the findings, over half (56 percent) of respondents reported that they felt they belong most at work when they feel "trusted and respected" by their peers. Another 39 percent of respondents said they feel the best when colleagues hold regular check-ins, both personal and professional, with them.

"The workplace is not 'just business' these days and checking in with colleagues has become more important than ever," Karyn Twaronite, EY’s global diversity & inclusiveness officer, told Accounting Today. "Managers and leaders can keep in mind that a simple 'How are you?' and making a personal connection with colleagues of all levels can go a long way when it comes to fostering a sense of belonging within the workplace."

"We recommend organizations set the tone from the top, cascading awareness about the importance of employees’ individual differences across the firm and recognizing and rewarding both diverse and inclusive role models," added Twaronite. "We encourage all employees to learn about each other and value each other's differences. Workplaces can encourage 'courageous conversations' so that colleagues can learn from each other’s experiences."

Other notable findings from the study include:

  • 45 percent of respondents believe that diversity is best represented at their place of work.
  • Respondents feel most welcome at home (62 percent), followed by work (34 percent), their neighborhood (19 percent) and place of worship (17 percent).
  • Of the 56 percent of respondents who feel they belong most when "trusted and respected," baby boomers felt most strongly about this (63 percent), followed by Gen X (56 percent) and millennials (53 percent).
  • The majority of women respondents (61 percent) believe that exclusion is a form of bullying in the workplace; over half of men (53 percent) believe it is not.
  • More than half (54 percent) of all respondents believe that exclusion is a form of bullying at work.
  • 68 percent of the LGBTQ community believe that exclusion is a form of bullying.
  • 48 percent of millennials feel that exclusion is not a form of bullying, compared to 46 percent of Gen X and 44 percent of baby boomers.
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For more on the study, head to EY's site here.

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