Or at least there should be. It’s time to add a “B” to your DEI strategies in the workplace.
This is a guest article by, True Colors International
In today’s fast-changing environment, many organizations struggle with recruitment, retention, and building of the diverse, engaged, and successful teams that they need. Add in the increasingly common role of remote work, and the number of challenges facing Chief Diversity Officers and other leaders grows.
You know you need to foster a workplace culture that attracts talent and that makes your people feel welcomed and excited to be on your team. But it’s no easy feat in the best of times, let alone times of heightened stress and change. This is why a meaningful Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) program is critical.
Let’s dive into what is meant by "belonging", why it matters in the workplace, and how now is the time to add it to your DEI strategies.
What is meant by “belonging” in DEIB?
The article, "Why it’s time to add a ‘B ’— for belonging — to workplace DEI strategy" explains it this way:
“Belonging, simply put, means existing in a culture that invites people to be themselves: that encourages anyone to feel comfortable in their own skin. Critically, it means providing an environment in which people feel the psychological safety to bring their entire selves and their best ideas to work.”
The DEI movement encourages the representation and participation of diverse groups of people. It's an acknowledgment of every individual’s worthiness of inclusion, no matter their gender, race or ethnicity, abilities or disabilities, religion, culture, age, sexual orientation, and a wide range of other factors that make people diverse. For example, their background, experiences, skills, and areas of expertise.
If the simple fact that every human is worthy of inclusion isn’t enough, DEI programs and policies have a record of producing tangible benefits as well, such as better company performance, employee engagement, and innovation and revenue.
However, these tangible benefits could skyrocket if creating a sense of belonging becomes a focus. It’s one thing for a company to include you, it’s quite another thing to truly feel like you belong there.
Why does it matter in the workplace?
Putting the “B” in your DEIB strategy: Why "belonging" is essential points out that “belonging is, in many ways, the emotional counterpart to inclusion” and that some “near-universal effects of a strong sense of belonging include feeling genuinely welcomed to participate, safety among the group, and security in people’s roles.”
It shouldn’t take much to intuitively see how these effects lead to enhanced retention, engagement, productivity, and innovation in the workplace.
The article "Belonging: The Intersection of DEI and Engagement" explains, “when people feel as though they’re accepted and part of something, they’re more willing to support one another and the goals of the organization.” In fact, “studies have found that organizations with high levels of belonging also have higher employee net promoter scores (eNPS), which measure employee satisfaction and ambassadorship and are known to correlate with employee engagement.”
To circle back to inclusion, it’s good and of course necessary to be included in an organizational culture in the first place. Plus, including a diverse range of people absolutely has tangible benefits. But, to feel genuine belonging, to be free to bring your true self to your work every day, is critical for success.
There is value to focusing on belonging — for every workplace and every individual on the job.
A more diverse workforce together with an organizational culture that is inclusive and values the unique talents and abilities a diverse team brings to the table is an essential foundation for success. However, it's a genuine sense of belonging and psychological safety within an organization and supported by all levels of leadership that is necessary for the productive interchange of ideas, strategy development, and innovation.
It is this environment that helps increase the motivation and effectiveness that lead to retention and desired business growth.
Why is now the perfect time to add a focus on belonging?
As companies struggle to find the right environment for their teams to work in — fully remote, hybrid, or entirely in-person — many employees continue to feel disconnected from their colleagues and disengaged from their work. In fact, only 36% of U.S. employees are engaged in their work and workplace. Globally, that number lowers to just 20%.
We’ve collectively experienced a large amount of stress and uncertainty over the past few years. As a result, the Great Resignation is turning into the Great Reshuffle for many workers. Most working-age people can’t forego bringing in an income, but they can be selective about where they work and seek a new job that better aligns with their values.
Those who have a sense of belonging at their workplace will be more likely to stay with their employer and be engaged with their work. Doesn’t keeping and building up your existing talent whenever possible make more sense than investing in recruiting and training more than necessary?
Organizations with a culture of belonging will build motivation and be more successful at attracting and retaining talent.
We can help with DEIB
So now that you’re on board with adding that “B,” how do you develop an impactful DEIB program for your organization?
True Colors International has long helped companies value differences and create unity. Our online and in-person programming moves organizations past mere “check the box” DEIB exercises. Together, it is possible to customize a solution that helps build the foundation of inclusion and psychological safety that is required for maximum organizational effectiveness and growth.
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