4th January 2021

Belonging and well-being: bringing your whole self to work

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Wishing you a happy 2021. Our CEO, Sandi Wassmer, reflects on last year and welcomes the new year in urging everyone to remain firmly grounded in their humanity, and to seize the opportunity to create workplaces that have a true sense of belonging for all.

"Over the holiday season, I’ve been reflecting on the events of the past year and what organisations can learn from their experiences.

The pandemic has shed a profound and harsh light on so many social inequalities and social injustices, and it is my hope that society at large will become kinder, more compassionate and openhearted to all of the wonderful gifts that our diverse human race has to offer. In the part of the universe that I navigate, this is certainly the case, and I feel that there is a here and now window of opportunity to make this a reality and not return to the world the way it was before.

There is also a groundswell in workplaces around the world, where there is one thing above all else that everyone is concerned about, and that is well-being. The impact that the pandemic has had on people’s mental health has been broad, deep and indiscriminate; the realisation that good mental health and well-being are the foundation for everything, both in our personal lives and in our working lives, is being discussed, explored and acted upon everywhere I go, and that fills me with an enormous sense of hope.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are neither static nor separate, and are part of a continuum that evolves, meshes, emerges and overlaps. If Equality is the foundation, where everyone employed by or seeking employment with an organisation has equality of opportunity, Diversity is the ability for organisations to attract and retain diverse talent, views and approaches, and Inclusion is when organisations actively involve staff in participating in the activities and decisions that shape the organisation, I’m wondering where well-being fits into the mix.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion are, of course, the things that we at enei live and breathe every day, but there is definitely a state of being, rather than a destination, that includes all of these things, but somehow supersedes it. In a word, it’s “belonging“, and when people feel this, everything else that precedes it is a given.

As most employers are concerning themselves with employee well-being, it’s good to know that well-being and belonging go hand-in-hand. Our well-being is firmly founded on a sense of belonging and connection to others. When people feel they belong at work, they experience greater meaning, satisfaction and stability and, as a result, are more productive.

Workplaces that have this sense of belonging are places where human value and economic value are in harmony. In practice, it’s where people wake up inspired to go to work, feeling curious and open to whatever lies ahead, and when they get to work, they feel safe and able to be just who they are, and at the end of the day, they return home feeling valued and fulfilled by the work that they do.

As we all get vaccinated and begin to regain some normalcy, I urge everyone to remain firmly grounded in their humanity, to take care of yourselves and each other, and to work towards creating that sense of belonging in our workplaces, where everyone can bring their whole selves to work and focus their energies on doing the best jobs they possibly can."

- Sandi Wassmer, CEO, Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion