360 degree feeback group discussion

Sense of belonging is a key to employee engagement

The Forum Corporation recently revealed what they believe to be the key drivers of employee engagement. What does this mean for employee feedback?

Employee engagement remains one of the most widely debated topics in management. As an intricate issue with a substantial human element, there is an endless stream of research and theories on engagement best practices.

Five key factors that motivate and engage employees

Most studies tend to focus on the intrinsic drivers or needs employees have that lead to engagement. This was the approach taken in recent research by the Forum Corporation, which outlined five key factors that motivate and engage employees. According to the Forum Corporation, these factors are:

  • Accomplishment – the sense that the employee is being productive and contributing to the organisation’s mission and goals.
  • Recognition – whether employees feel valued at work and their efforts are being recognised by management.
  • Enjoyment – the level of enjoyment staff gain from their work and the environment and culture of the organisation.
  • Belonging – whether the employee feels they belong in the workplace.
  • Advancement – the feeling that the employee is moving ahead in their career and are presented with opportunities for development.

A sense of belonging is pivotal

While all five factors are worth assessing in light of their respective merits, it is worth focusing on the fourth one – the sense of belonging. Employees will only truly be engaged if they genuinely feel they have a role to play in the organisation, and are invited for active contribution and feedback. Managers therefore need to ensure that their staff feel they are a part of the organisation, and ask for input from every employee.

Belong requires a safe context for giving and receiving feedback

Providing a channel through which employees can provide their honest thoughts on their manager’s performance in a safe and nurturing way is one way to foster a sense of belonging. If staff are actively asked to assess the performance of their supervisors, for example through a strengths-based 360 degree survey, they will feel that they are part of the workplace community and actively contribute to its development.

The best 360 surveys are those that provide feedback to managers in a positive, non-threatening way – highlighting their strengths rather than their weaknesses – so they can be spurred onto self-improvement.