Belong Launch

MEDIA RELEASE

6 May 2020

A digital community that fosters employee belonging and wellbeing launches in New Zealand to support organisations through COVID-19 and beyond.


At a time when belonging is more important than ever, a new social enterprise that fosters belonging and wellbeing at work launches today in Aotearoa.  Belong is a digital membership platform where organisations and individuals can collectively learn, share best practice, access workshops and events, and advocate for a sense of wellbeing and belonging at work.


Founded by New Zealander Zoe Brownlie, a wellbeing and equity specialist, with a background in healthcare and social change, Brownlie believes that fostering a culture of belonging is an essential ingredient for people to thrive and organisations to succeed.


"Belong fosters a wave of change towards human-centred organisations where people can truly be themselves, diversity is celebrated, and co-creation is the norm," says Brownlie.


Brownlie believes that looking after people and creating belonging at work is now more significant than ever given the impacts of COVID-19, a message that has been emphasised by Sir Peter Gluckman when speaking to Parliament on April 30.  As reported by Radio New Zealand, Sir Peter said, “it was true that getting back to business as normal would help many, but a lot of people were already affected and it could take a long time to see the social effects on vulnerable people”.


Brownlie says, "There have been benefits to this 'great pause' as it has allowed us to slow down and assess our lives and the future of work. Many organisations are changing the way they operate for the better, but they need to take their people with them”.


“There are also other impacts of Covid-19 that we’ll be seeing. People will be adjusting to changes in their lives, many will have found this experience stressful and some traumatic, there will be higher levels of mental distress and illness, and many will be feeling isolated and unsettled after being away from their place of work. Now more than ever, implementing initiatives to support people needs to be a priority,” adds Brownlie.


Creating a sense of belonging at work is an aspiring trend, with companies such as Airbnb embracing this new concept, and even rebranded with the slogan "Belong Anywhere". This not only reflects their business model of promoting homes and experiences all over the world but their commitment to inclusion, diversity and belonging in the workplace.


Brownlie believes a lot of organisations are taking steps to be more diverse and inclusive, but it is important they go one step further and create a culture of belonging.


“Belonging is also about seeing the benefits of difference, and we are all different,” adds Brownlie  “For example, if someone is from the LGBTQI+ community, has differing religious or cultural beliefs, has a disability or access need, or suffers mental distress - then feeling like they can be open and talk about this at work. Others will see the positives of this, which leads to wellbeing, which leads to being more productive and innovative”.



Belong follows these trends worldwide and the research which indicates positive results for both people and businesses.

The National Business Review recently reported on research conducted by BetterUp, concluding that "Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hardwired into our DNA. And yet, 40% of people say that they feel isolated at work, and the result has been lower organisational commitment and engagement."



The research also concluded that "Belonging is good for business. If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days".


Some organisations are already gaining success in creating belonging, while others aspire to cultivate it but don't have access to the tools or knowledge to make it happen. This is where Belong comes in, as a community to share knowledge and access tools that organisations and individuals need.


Belong offers a membership with a sliding scale fee structure to allow for it to be accessible for all. By signing up in the first month members will be supporting the NZ Women’s Refuge. Belong is committed to donating 50% of all membership fees to the charity until June 7.


Belong launches on May 7. To join got to www.belongglobal.com and be part of a growing community.


To find out more or to ask any questions, please contact Zoe on zoe@belongglobal.com


Ends.


For more information and media images please contact:

Josephine Granese

Director - Change PR

E: bethe@changepr.co.nz

M: 021 287 0744