Unlocking organizational excellence through a strong sense of belonging

Imagine this: a workplace where every person feels not just accepted, but truly valued; a place where different voices are not just heard, but truly used.

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Aylin Karabulut

Aylin Karabulut

Reading time: 3 min

Just as in our personal lives, where we seek connection and validation within our social circles, employees yearn for a sense of belonging within their workplace.

In increasingly uncertain and complex times, the need for belonging is constantly growing. When individuals feel seen, heard, and valued, their engagement soars, fueling motivation, productivity, and innovation. Therefore, creating a workplace culture that nurtures a strong sense of belonging is essential for employee satisfaction and overall success. The power of belonging is tremendous. Belonging isn’t just a feel-good concept—it’s a strategic imperative for every organization that wants to achieve organizational excellence.

Understanding the business impact of belonging

The notion of belonging in the workplace enables employees to feel seen, connected, supported and proud. Inclusion and psychological safety thereby form the foundation for employees to feel belongingness.

Meanwhile various studies have shown the positive impact of the sense of belonging on overall job satisfaction and performance. For example, findings of a recent study from BetterUp could demonstrate that the sense of belonging to the workplace increases job performance by 56%, reduces turnover risk by 50% and decreases employee sick days by 75%. At the same time, study results show the negative effects of a missing sense of belonging: About 40% of people are feeling isolated at work, resulting in lower organizational commitment and employee engagement. These numbers highlight the undeniable case for prioritizing belonging within organizational culture. 

Fostering belonging in the workplace

So, how can we cultivate a culture of belonging within our workforce? The key lies in fostering inclusivity at every level. By implementing inclusive policies and practices—such as flexible work arrangements, mentorship programs, and employee resource groups—organizations can create an environment where every individual feels valued, supported, and empowered to thrive. Companies that embrace inclusive practices often see improved employee retention and satisfaction.

Leading by example: How inclusive Leadership propels belonging in the workplace

Leadership plays a crucial role in setting the tone for a culture of belonging. Leaders who lead with empathy, humility, and openness create an environment where diversity is not just tolerated but celebrated. By prioritizing inclusivity, actively encouraging and listening to diverse perspectives, leaders lay the foundation for a culture where every voice is heard, and every contribution is valued. Creating psychological safety therefore is an essential cornerstone of high performing, diverse teams that needs to be constantly reassured and fostered through leaders, that advocate for DE&I, are focusing on dealing constructively with errors and communicate with care and empathy.

Belonging is a journey, not a destination

As a thriving company like Telefónica, inclusive belonging is a strategic business imperative for us. While there might be short-term actions towards these goals, it is important to emphasize that cultivating belonging isn’t a one-time initiative—it’s an ongoing commitment that requires dedication and active participation from all levels within the organization.

Investing in a culture of belonging isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the smart thing to do: Organizations that prioritize belonging are better equipped to attract top talent, foster innovation, and successfully navigate change with agility and resilience. Therefore, fostering a sense of belonging within the workplace isn’t just about improving employee satisfaction—it’s about driving organizational success.

Investing in belonging is an essential goal to secure Telefónica’s future viability, that needs each one of us. Buidling a strong sense of belonging is inevitable if we want to reach our full potential and continue to successfully tackle upcoming challenges. Establishing a strong sense of belonging is an ongoing process that requires commitment from leadership and active participation from everyone. As employees within Telefónica it is our collective responsibility to cultivate belonging as the foundation of our organizational ethos, ensuring a brighter and more connected future for all.


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