Belonging (noun): An affinity for a place or situation.
DaVita is a community first and a company second, with a community made up of teammates, patients, physicians and care partners of all races, ethnicities, gender identities, religions, ages, sexual orientations and backgrounds. DaVita’s Village stretches across the world and one way the company helps ensure that it remains strong and vibrant is to support a sense of belonging.
According to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, belonging is one of humankind’s strongest desires – just one step above our need for food, water and shelter. Every one of us has a powerful need to belong. This is why DaVita is focused on belonging rather than inclusion. The term inclusion can still imply that there are insiders and outsiders, and that the outsiders are the ones who must be “included.” Belonging speaks to everyone, signaling that it is both for everyone and the responsibility of everyone to create belonging.
Belonging, or not, impacts people’s experiences. From day-to-day interactions in DaVita centers and offices, to onboarding, training and teammate development programs, the organization is working hard to embed belonging into each of these experiences.
DaVita knows that teammates who feel a sense of belonging are more engaged.1 External research found that people who feel like they belong are three times more likely to contribute to their full, innovative potential.2
Belonging can also support an organization’s bottom line. Organizations with a strong focus on belonging are twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.1
More importantly, belonging helps build a culture of trust and authenticity. Sixty-two percent of people would leave their current organization for one that emphasizes belonging or have already left.2
What is Belonging?
Based on external research and its own teammates, DaVita learned that there are five different elements that contribute to a sense of belonging. People feel they belong most at work when these elements are present:
- Feeling Valued – The appreciation and investment of your peers and leaders.
- Psychological Safety – The ability to be yourself without fear of negative consequences.
- Voice – The ability to make your thoughts and ideas heard.
- Fairness – The equitable treatment of everyone in a workplace.
- Respect – The regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.
Belonging in Action
DaVita’s Diversity & Belonging program puts a special focus on these five elements in order to bring belonging to life. One way the organization does this is through simple self-reflection and team building exercises found in its Belonging Leader Guide. Another way is through the Belonging Champions and Network, a group of over 350 DaVita teammates in all roles and levels, who lead belonging efforts in their lanes and share feedback and ideas on how DaVita can improve belonging for all teammates.
Other commitments from the company include joining more than 800 CEOs in signing the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion and collaborating with Management Leadership for Tomorrow on the MLT Black Equity at Work Certification.
The five elements also extend to DaVita’s first-ever Week of Belonging, Dec. 7-12, 2020, where every teammate is encouraged to take at least one individual action to help create belonging for someone else during the week. Cultivating these intentional moments for connection helps ensure everyone can join in the effort to create a Village where everyone belongs.
As DaVita looks toward the future, it acknowledges these efforts can never become stagnant. The company continues to evaluate other opportunities to build space for connection and understanding. Its initiatives aim at creating a special place for everyone in the DaVita Village, because when that happens, everyone can feel like they truly belong.
Teammates use the phrase “One for All,” but this is more than just a motto for DaVita. It represents the bond between and commitment to one another to achieve common goals. Through its focus on community and the fulfillment that comes from belonging, DaVita hopes to make those goals achievable for everyone who experiences its Village.
- Unleashing the Power of Inclusion, Deloitte, 2017.
- The Diversity & Inclusion Revolution. Eight Powerful Truths, Deloitte, 2016.