It’s always been super important that employees feel a sense of belonging at work — employees who are connected to and engaged with their job and organization are often more productive and less likely to leave. And in a world where more and more people are working remotely, this sense of connection or belonging is even more critical.
How are companies doing on this front? It's a mixed bag — new data from the Achievers Workforce Institute indicates that employers are doing a better job of engaging with male employees, with women 41% less likely to feel a strong sense of belonging in the workplace. It’s a troubling stat that may partly explain why female participation in the labor force is at its lowest point since 1988.
So if we know that employee engagement is important to business success, is there anything we can do to boost numbers, particularly among women? The article below points out that there is a “strong correlation between DEI and belonging, as nearly half (49%) of employees with a strong sense of belonging say their organization values diversity, compared to 6% of employees with a low sense of belonging.” DEI (diversity, equity and inclusion) initiatives are of course often companywide, but I’ve written before about the vital role mobility teams can play in this process. A more inclusive mobility program can go a long way toward fostering connection and belonging within an organization, and we can help women leaders break through, too.
Related to this topic is the idea of providing the type of HR and mobility benefits that truly meet the needs of each employee. Focusing specifically on women, this could mean more resources and support for new mothers who may be trying to acclimate (or re-acclimate, if they’ve been on maternity leave for a while) to a work environment. Is this on the radar for your talent and mobility teams? In what other ways can we better support women?
As noted at the top, it’s more important than ever that organizations make a concerted effort to engage with employees, because for many of them, time in a physical office has gone way down. Remote work certainly has its perks, but it can quickly lead to sense of isolation if business leaders aren’t strategic about how they support these employees — particularly women who may be feeling disengaged.
Gender gaps in the workplace have been prevalent for years -- from the pay and promotion gaps to paid leave or funding gaps -- and the pandemic has only made this strain worse, with millions of women leaving the workforce. Now another gap has emerged, which may be discussed less often, is not less important. Women are 41% less likely to feel a strong sense of belonging in the workplace compared to men. Combined with the effects of the pandemic, this provides strong reasoning why we're seeing a 33-year low in women's labor force participation.