No matter who you are or what intrinsically drives you in this world, most of us share the same desire to belong or be a part of something greater than ourselves.
Whether at work, home, or out and about in your community, a sense of belonging can make you feel seen, safe, and supported. And when you create that same kind of culture of belonging in the workplace, it can have an even greater impact. According to Harvard Business Review, high belonging can increase job performance by 56%, reduce turnover risk by 50%, and decrease sick days by 75%.
On the flip side, if you don’t create a culture of belonging and inclusivity in the workplace, you not only lose out on job performance but the people to do the job. It’s a big reason why people like myself or Lynne Oldham (former Chief People Officer at Zoom) changed jobs when we did. And if you don’t prioritize belonging in your business, there’s a good chance your MVP employees will leave to work for other companies too.
The good news? It’s not too late to create a culture of belonging that will positively impact your business and employees. To learn more, check out 3 helpful tips to foster a culture of belonging and inclusion in the workplace below.
3 Ways You Can Foster a Culture of Belonging and Inclusion in the Workplace
1. Create a safe space – if you want your employees to feel psychologically safe and show up as their whole selves, you need to be proactive about creating a safe space to bring up professional and personal issues (and not be afraid to show vulnerability and accountability). In my experience, this is especially true for the POC and non-binary, trans folks like myself. Having experienced what it feels like to feel othered at work first-hand, I can’t stress the importance of being an ally for underrepresented individuals or groups at your company.
2. Embrace authenticity – let’s face it, people want to bring their whole selves to work, not a watered-down version of themselves. So, create an environment that encourages, empowers, and celebrates individuality by showing up as your authentic self every step of the way. Or as I like to say, don’t be afraid to B. YOU and unlock your superpower.
3. Take time to listen and implement feedback – most organizations have no problem communicating where they’re at, where they’re going, and how they plan to get there. But one of the biggest things I see as a startup consultant is the tendency to overlook the importance of listening and implementing valuable feedback that employees may want or need to be successful. Whether through one-on-one meetings, annual reviews, or a company survey, get in the habit of showing your employees that their voice matters by gathering feedback and taking action.
For even more tips on building a culture of belonging, check out LaTonya Wilkin’s book, Leading Below the Surface: How to Build Real (and Psychologically Safe) Relationships with People Who Are Different from You, or book me to speak at your next event about creating a sense of belonging in the workplace, how to lead with kindness, the importance of accountability and so much more.