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Belonging: The Key to Successful Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Businesses typically seek to have a diverse workforce, but these efforts do not always guarantee that all employees will feel included. By reinvigorating their inclusion approach to include a stronger sense of belonging, HR leaders can enhance employee perceptions of acceptance and equity within their teams.

How is DEI related to belonging?

It goes without saying that all organizations should strive to have a diverse, inclusive workforce. When individuals from different backgrounds and perspectives are welcome and have equitable opportunities to succeed in an organization, the work environment generally feels more safe, collaborative, and harmonious.

So why are organizations still struggling to attract and retain diverse candidates or maintain a connected workforce? In many cases, DEI initiatives are falling short because they’re being implemented without a foundation of workplace belonging.

Belonging is defined as the feeling of being accepted for who you are, recognized for your unique contributions, and connected to people and purpose. Belonging is an organization-wide imperative; it is important for employees of all races, ages, sexual orientations, genders, or titles to feel like they can be their true, authentic selves at work and to be respected, included, and engaged regardless.

Without a true sense of belonging, diversity programs will seem performative, one-dimensional, or even divisive.Working to create an environment that encourages and acknowledges individuality is an important step in creating a sense of belonging for the individuals within a company – and to create a strong platform for DEI initiatives to succeed.

Why is workplace belonging so important?

When we feel we belong, we are more likely to be motivated, active, and engaged in our environment. Further, when employees feel like they belong to a supportive community, they are more willing to take creative risks, to collaborate on new ideas, and to deliver high-quality work that they are proud of.

When you boil it down, all employees want to feel accepted, recognized, and connected to people and purpose. Authenticity and consistency are key. An organization’s functioning and employee well-being are greatly influenced by workplace belonging.

Foster belonging in Your organization 

Without a true sense of belonging, DEI initiatives can fall flat. Read on to learn how to foster belonging in your organization.

Identify purpose and nurture it

Without purpose, work is work; with purpose, work becomes joyous. People find meaning in their work when they realize what they do matters to others and is aligned with organizational goals. A meaningful job motivates employees to be engaged and committed.

Managers should take the time to discuss the motivations and passions of their direct reports. Discuss what excites them about their role and opportunities for increased learning or development. Managers should try to include their direct reports in skill-aligned projects that will allow them to excel.

Celebrate big and small wins

Hard work is just that – hard – so a job well done should be recognized. Publicize the accomplishments of teammates or direct reports to create a space where peers can recognize other well-performing peers for their wins. Peer-to-peer recognition creates a strong sense of belonging. When employees are aware their counterparts are celebrating wins with them, they feel connected. Achievements should resonate throughout the organization so that everyone can be equally celebrated.

Promote cohesion within teams 

A healthy balance of work and play creates cohesion amongst colleagues. Get to know your colleagues on a deeper, more personal level. What do they like to do outside of work? Who are they at home? What makes them tick? A sense of connection can be the difference between a mediocre work experience and a great one. Managers can facilitate social connections within their teams through activities such as conferences, retreats, and happy hours. 

Creating a psychologically safe environment in which people from all walks of life can genuinely thrive is the key to a truly diverse and inclusive workplace. Leaders, managers, and employees alike can get to know their colleagues, recognize them for their hard work and contributions, and work to celebrate individuality in all forms.

Fostering belonging in the workplace requires that employees at all levels have the tools they need to be successful. That’s where Vityl comes in. Backed by leading research, we focus on empowering leaders and employees with prescriptive recommendations and resources to grow individually while building culture together. As employees engage in new actions and achieve culture goals, employers realize stronger retention and performance.

Belonging is the ultimate force multiplier for today’s teams and organizations. To learn more about Vityl and unlock the power of belonging, visit the Pricing page.

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