Belonging, along with well-being, tops this year’s Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey as one of the most important human capital issues. This is not surprising, considering that promoting respect and fairness for all is a large part of many organizations’ diversity and inclusion efforts—and these efforts, when effective, pay off.

The recently growing awareness of this topic is also linked to external factors, such as the versatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world and political polarization, tribalism, and populism. These divisions may be leading some individuals to turn to the workplace to find a sense of meaning and solidarity that is often becoming increasingly difficult to achieve within society at large.

However, many organizations are struggling with fostering belonging in a polarized world. It is not only external factors that drive belonging’s importance; what is happening within the organization also has an effect. Shifts in workforce composition, such as alternative work arrangements or virtual communication tools, can increase feelings of isolation.

Our view is that creating a sense of belonging at work is the outcome of three mutually reinforcing attributes. Workers should feel comfortable and connected at work while contributing their part to the organization’s objectives. The progression from comfort to connection to contribution is an additive one, with each step building on the one before. Organizations that establish this kind of inclusive culture are more likely to meet their financial goals and increase their chance of being innovative and agile to achieve their business objectives.

Our Global Human Capital Trends survey suggests that three factors most influence an organization’s ability to navigate this sense of belonging: organizational culture, leadership behaviors, and personal relationships. Organizations have and continue to invest enormous amounts of leadership focus, energy, and resources into ensuring people feel respected and are treated fairly at work.

Now, leaders have the opportunity to build on comfort to encourage connection and contribution as well, enabling a sense of belonging that can improve organizational performance. Implementing these types of belonging strategies will not be easy—including the aspect of diversity to ensure they are creating the opportunity for everyone to contribute equitably. However, in the long-run, workers will likely be more engaged, motivated and more likely to perform at a high level, driving gains in organizational performance.


In this series of articles, we will introduce you to each of the 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital trends and show how organizations can work within an environment shaped by the fusion of technology and people to embed purpose, potential and perspective into the DNA of how they operate. If you would like more information on Belonging: From comfort to connection to contribution, please contact the Deloitte Banking and Human Capital Leader, Pascal Martino (


And if you would like to view the full 2020 Human Capital Trends report, please download it here:


Look for our next article “Designing work for well-being: Living and performing at your best” to learn how integrating well-being into the design of work itself can strengthen the link between workers’ well-being and organizational performance.


Communicated by Deloitte Luxembourg.

Publié le 13 juillet 2020