First-time login tip: If you're a REBA Member, you'll need to reset your password the first time you login.
20 Sep 2023
by Emile Elwin-Ball

Forget pay – community and connection are what employees crave most

Belonging at work is far more important to employees than more money or better benefits

Forget pay –  community and connection are what employees crave most.jpg 1


Good social wellbeing within an organisation brings high levels of social inclusion, with employees enjoying a strong sense of belonging at work. The way everyone communicates and connects with each other makes each individual feel important and valued, creating a sense of community.

The organisational benefits are also significant, with employees less likely to burn out and more likely to stay at the company for longer. And, so, focusing on ways to nurture community and connection is a growing priority for many HR leaders, especially now that people are working apart more than ever before.

Employees crave belonging at work, far more than an increase in pay or better benefits. McKinsey & Associates found in September 20221 that the top reasons people quit their jobs are, first, not feeling valued (54%), and, second, not feeling a sense of belonging at work (51%). Plus, O.C. Tanner found that when employees feel they belong, burnout is reduced by 38%.

Feeling disconnected

But nurturing belonging is more challenging than ever, with 45% of employees reporting that the number of individuals they regularly interact with at work has decreased significantly. One in three employees feel disconnected from their leader, with 57 % saying they engage in fewer social activities, furthering isolation and loneliness.

There are three key areas that HR professionals should focus on to achieve a greater sense of community – recognition, modern leadership and a feedback culture.

Recognition brings people together, strengthening the bonds between the giver, the recipient as well as the witnesses of the recognition. When people feel appreciated for their individual attributes and contributions it strengthens workplace relationships and supports social wellbeing.

Every day recognition

But recognition must be integrated into every day culture to be truly effective, and so seen and given throughout the organisation regularly – from managers to individuals, from individuals to managers, and from peer-to-peer.

Recognising the efforts and results of teams also helps to strengthen peer-to-peer connections, with the odds of having a strong community increasing 508% when recognition happens regularly in teams.

Modern leadership is becoming more widespread, with some organisations first adopting modern leadership styles during the pandemic so employees could juggle their work with other demands.

The modern leader

Modern leadership is recognised as a style that is understanding, empowering and supports collaboration and humility. It’s also a type of leadership that naturally improves the culture of organisations, while increasing the odds of having a strong workplace community by 269%.

Plus, modern leadership encourages the employee voice, in which managers actively seek feedback from employees. And when employees feel that they have a say in how the company is run and its future direction, this increases the odds of them feeling a sense of belonging.

In fact, when leaders listen to employees and then action the insights gained, the likelihood of having a strong workplace community improves by a phenomenal 6,313%.

Organisations must recognise the power of community and connection, finding effective ways to nurture it. Integrated recognition and a feedback culture are some of the key ways reward and benefits professionals can help to achieve it, together with working with organisational leaders to encourage a more modern approach to leadership.

Insights taken from O.C. Tanner’s Global Culture Report.

In partnership with O. C. Tanner

Giving teams the integrated tools they need when, where and how they need them.

Contact us today