Diversity, and a higher sense of belonging at a company has been linked to higher engagement, motivation, and pride among employees. However, many entrepreneurs struggle with cultivating diversity in a productive manner at their companies; not only are there few best practices, some diversity and inclusion initiatives are ineffective or worse, they can backfire. Culture Amp has recently published a report to provide practical recommendations for companies who want to foster diversity, citing research by Harvard’s Iris Bohnet that shows poorly chosen bias training initiatives can unintentionally draw attention to differences and spark backlash.
- Survey Employee Engagement Before Developing a Strategy. To begin addressing diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace, Culture Amp suggests using an Employee Engagement Survey to get a sense of potential areas for improvement. They then recommend several concrete, actionable steps.
- Increase Bonding Through Office Design and Mentoring Programs. Spaces can be redesigned to facilitate social bonding, and an informal or formal mentoring program can help build trusting relationships, which in turn increase feelings of belonging.
- Value Employee Contribution. Finally, employees feel that they belong when they feel that their work matters, so it is important to help employees understand how they contribute to the company’s goals and values on an individual level.
- Cultivate a Shared Understanding of Company Values. An understanding of the company’s goals and values can also develop common ground between employees and management, which helps to foster belonging.
Fostering belonging in the workplace can begin closing gaps in opportunity by helping underrepresented groups develop confidence and resilience, feel more comfortable and welcome at work, and perform better. These are just a few of Culture Amp’s ideas for fostering belonging in the workplace – to read the rest, and to read more about the research behind their report, sign up for a free ebook here.
Contributed by Alicia Weinstein.