I’ve been thinking a lot about how workplaces have evolved in recent years. The quest for belonging at work has emerged as a fundamental human need, and that matters: Research consistently shows that when employees feel seen and supported, they are more engaged, productive, fulfilled, and less likely to leave their companies. But I also can’t help but acknowledge that while organizations have implemented top-down initiatives, there is still so much work to be done. The truth is, the heart of belonging lies in how we treat each other as teammates and individuals. It’s about the small actions that help us build strong relationships, foster an environment of collaboration, and feel a sense of connection in our day-to-day lives. Without it, we risk creating workplaces that fail to support the holistic well-being of our employees.

I’ve seen from my years in the well-being and human sustainability space that employees crave a sense of belonging. More than just finding a place to clock in and out, individuals are looking for community, connection, and purpose in their workplace.  And by creating a culture of empathy and respect, we not only create a more welcoming workplace, but also create meaningful relationships and unlock the full potential of our teams. 

Here are a few strategies that have helped me create a sense of connection and belonging at work, and can hopefully help you do the same: 

Reach out to a colleague you don’t typically interact with. 

Our workplace relationships are key when it comes to finding meaning at our jobs and feeling a sense of belonging. In fact, 70 percent of people say having work friends is the most crucial element of a fulfilling work life. They help give us a sense of community, reduce our stress, and allow us to connect with people that are different from ourselves. Today, take a moment to reach out to a teammate who you don’t know very well. Ask them what they’re interested in, what they’re working on, or what they’re excited about right now. Simply engaging in conversation can help spark connections and foster a sense of community. 

Take time for gratitude.

I often look back to a moment I had early in my career, when I was leading a project and ended up working overtime to hit a deadline. After the project was over, a colleague of mine thanked me for all the hard work I put in, and told me that my efforts didn’t go unnoticed. After all of my hard work, that small moment of recognition meant the world to me. Expressing gratitude for the people on our team helps us feel seen and celebrated. Whether it’s a small thank-you note or a public acknowledgment during a team meeting, recognizing the efforts of others can help create an environment where everyone feels that they matter.

Check in regularly.

Whether you’re a CEO, a manager, or a new teammate, there’s so much power in checking in with your colleagues regularly, asking them what they’re struggling with, and how you can help. A simple conversation can make a world of difference in someone’s day and demonstrate that their well-being matters to you, which helps create a welcoming, compassionate workplace. We’re all human, and we all need reminders that we don’t have to be superheroes all the time. Taking a minute to check in with the person sitting at the desk right next to you might make their day — or at the very least, spark a moment of joy and connection. 

Engage in employee events and programs.

Fostering a sense of community at work starts with making sure everyone feels welcome. Reach out to your organization and ask if they provide valuable resources and support for employees, or events for employees that foster a sense of community and belonging. There may be LGBTQ+ groups, women’s networks, and groups for employees of different racial or ethnic backgrounds. By reaching out and asking about different initiatives, you can get involved and help create a more welcoming and supportive environment for your teammates. And if they don’t have anything in place yet, you can suggest a team outing to help everyone get to know each other better, a mentorship program, or other programs that help employees connect with one another.


  • Jen Fisher

    𝗩𝗼𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗳𝗼𝗿 𝘄𝗲𝗹𝗹𝗯𝗲𝗶𝗻𝗴 + 𝗵𝘂𝗺𝗮𝗻 𝘀𝘂𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗶𝗻𝗮𝗯𝗶𝗹𝗶𝘁𝘆 | 𝖡𝖾𝗌𝗍𝗌𝖾𝗅𝗅𝗂𝗇𝗀 𝖠𝗎𝗍𝗁𝗈𝗋 | 𝖳𝖤𝖣𝗑 𝖲𝗉𝖾𝖺𝗄𝖾𝗋 | 𝖧𝗈𝗌𝗍 #𝖶𝗈𝗋𝗄𝖶𝖾𝗅l | 𝖳𝗁𝗋𝗂𝗏𝖾 𝖤𝖽𝗂𝗍𝗈𝗋

    Jen Fisher is a leading voice on the intersection of work, well-being, and purpose. Her mission is to help leaders move from the legacy mindset that well-being is solely the responsibility of the individual to the forward-thinking idea of human sustainability, which supports the long-term, collective well-being of individuals, organizations, climate, and society.  

    She’s the co-author of the bestselling, award-winning book, Work Better Together: How to Cultivate Strong Relationships to Maximize Well-Being and Boost Bottom Lines, the Human Sustainability Editor-at-Large for Thrive Global, and the host of the WorkWell podcast series.

    As the first chief well-being officer of a professional services organization, Jen built and led the creation and execution of a pioneering holistic and inclusive well-being strategy that has received recognition from leading business media brands and associations.

    Jen is a frequent writer on issues impacting the workplace today, including the importance of mental health and social connection to workforce resilience, happiness, and productivity. Her work has been featured in CNBC, CNN, Fast Company, Fortune, Inc, Stanford Social Innovation Review, and Harvard Business Review, among others.

    She’s a sought-after speaker and has been featured at events including TEDx, World Happiness Summit, Out & Equal Workplace Summit, Acumen Global Gathering, WorkHuman, The Atlantic Pursuit of Happiness event, and more. She’s also lectured at top universities across the country, including Harvard, Wake Forest, Duke, and George Mason.

    Jen is passionate about sharing her breast cancer and burnout recovery journeys to help others. She’s also a healthy lifestyle enthusiast, self-care champion, exercise fanatic, sleep advocate, and book nerd! Jen lives in Miami with her husband, Albert, and dog, Fiona.

    You can find her on LinkedIn or on Twitter and Instagram @JenFish23. You can also receive her personal insights and reflections by subscribing to her newsletter, "Thoughts on Being Well" @jenfisher.substack.com.