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Election Season Worries, New Remote Work Research, and Understanding the “B” in DEI&B

Published 5 months ago • 5 min read

News Spotlight

Election season anxiety: As the U.S. election year begins, Americans and business leaders are worried about the potential for political violence (Wall Street Journal).

Billionaires clash over DE&I: With the resignation of Harvard's first Black president, several prominent billionaires butted heads over the role DE&I programs should play in corporations and universities (Forbes).

Does remote work really stifle innovation? A new study reveals that distributed teams are actually more innovative and creative than their on-site counterparts, largely due to remote work tech tools (Fortune).

Stat of the Week

Nearly one-quarter (24%) of Millennials feel that 9 a.m. is too early to start work, compared to 15% of Gen Z, 11% of Gen X and just 2% of Baby Boomers (Newsweek).

Post-COVID-19, employees want more flexible work options — including choosing the hours they work. Companies that have the ability to offer this flexibility should continue to do so.

Deep Dive Article

Understanding the “B” in DEI&B

Over the years, the paradigm of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) has undergone a remarkable transformation, evolving into the more comprehensive framework of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B). This evolution reflects a nuanced understanding of the multifaceted nature of creating inclusive workplaces and fostering a sense of belonging among diverse individuals.

Diversity as a Starting Point: Initially, the focus was primarily on achieving diversity within organizations. Recognizing the need for varied perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds, companies aimed to build a workforce that reflected a mosaic of identities. Diversity was the first crucial step towards creating a richer and more dynamic organizational culture.

The Emergence of Inclusion: As the conversation around D&I matured, it became evident that numerical diversity alone did not guarantee a thriving workplace. The emphasis shifted towards inclusion — the idea that every individual, regardless of their background, should feel valued, respected, and empowered to contribute. Inclusion acknowledged the importance of creating environments where diverse voices were not only present but heard and appreciated.

Equity as a Core Principle: Building on the foundation of diversity and inclusion, the concept of equity gained prominence. Equity recognizes that fairness and justice are essential components of a truly inclusive environment. It involves addressing systemic barriers and providing resources and opportunities to ensure that every individual has an equal chance to succeed, regardless of their background.

The Addition of Belonging: The evolution from DEI to DEI&B marked a significant turning point with the inclusion of 'Belonging' as a crucial element. Belonging goes beyond representation, inclusion, and equity, emphasizing the creation of a workplace culture where every individual feels a genuine sense of belonging. It is about fostering connections, building community, and ensuring that employees can bring their authentic selves to work.

Belonging is a critical driver of business performance and employee well-being. According to new research from Achievers Workforce Institute, compared to individuals with a low sense of belonging at work, those with a high level of belonging are 6X more engaged, 7X more productive, 12X more likely to recommend their employer, and 9X more committed to their job. They also have better mental health, and are much more likely to report that they experience both physical and psychological safety at work.

Alarmingly, however, the report from Achievers reveals that only a quarter of employees (26%) have a strong sense of belonging at work. That’s why in today’s article, I’ll describe what goes into creating a culture of belonging, including 7 ways to boost belonging at your organization. Let’s take a look!

What constitutes a feeling of belonging at work?

According to Achievers Workforce Institute, there are 5 pillars that define a workplace where employees feel a sense of belonging. These include:

1. Feeling welcomed: New hires are introduced to, and incorporated within, the organizational culture and community.Employees participate in onboarding processes that help them meet their peers and build connections in the company.

2. Feeling known: Employees feel understood, motivated, and celebrated as individuals. Knowing more about who employees are allows both managers and colleagues to connect with each other in a more personal and authentic way.

3. Feeling included: All workers feel valued and accepted, without reservation. Inclusion reflects an employee’s deep and unwavering sense that who they are and how they experience their organization is held as critically important.

4. Feeling supported: Workers are consistently and meaningfully nurtured and developed. Every employee feels supported by their organization, their manager, and their teammates.

5. Feeling connected: For employees to truly feel that they belong, they need to experience meaningful personal connections within the organizational community and across a richly diverse population.

7 ways to create a culture of belonging at your organization

Within Achievers’ 5 pillars, there are dozens of steps companies can take to drive a stronger sense of belonging for their people. I’ve summarized a few of these below, but be sure to read their full report, The Belonging Blueprint, for a much more comprehensive guide.

1. Improve your onboarding process: People who are warmly welcomed into their organizational community are twice as likely to feel a sense of belonging. To introduce new team members to your culture and company, you can assign them a buddy, circulate a welcome card, send them some meaningful branded merchandise, or invite them to take part in company events.

2. Prioritize employee recognition: Employees who say they feel meaningfully recognized at work are more than twice as likely to have a strong sense of belonging. Achievers recommends aiming for at least monthly recognition for every employee. This recognition can come in many ways and from many sources, and it will still have an impact.

3. Boost manager effectiveness: Employees who experience a sense of belonging are consistently nurtured and developed, and managers play a key role in this. In fact, people with an effective manager are 76% more likely to feel a strong sense of belonging compared to the average. The Achievers Workforce Institute identifies four ways that managers can be more effective: through contact, recognition, professional development, and coaching.

4. Encourage relationship-building: Employees who say their company supports them in forming relationships at work are 2.4 times more likely to say they have a strong sense of belonging. It’s important that organizations allow time for socialization, whether through quick chats, coffee meet-ups, or happy hours. You can also encourage team members to connect online, for example on Slack or Teams.

5. Support Employee Resource Groups (ERGs): Employee Resource Groups empower workers to be themselves and connect with others who share their passion or background. Some groups focus on representing specific demographics and their allies, such as women, BIPOC, LGBTQ+, or those with disabilities. Others bring together people with common interests such as health and wellness or charity fundraising and volunteer work.

6. Gather employee feedback: Being able to give feedback and feeling heard can contribute to a sense of belonging. In fact, employees who receive pulse surveys four or more times a year are 75% more likely to say they feel welcomed and respected compared to those surveyed just once a year. Employers should create systems that enable constant check-ins, or they can leverage always-on listening tools such as chatbots.

7. Ensure a strong culture alignment: When company leaders truly live their values — meaning, they “walk their talk” — employees feel less uncertain and apprehensive, which increases their sense of belonging. For organizations, this means not only choosing the right values that reflect the actual and aspirational culture, but also consistently integrating these values into every decision, action, and initiative.

Embracing the shift

The evolution of D&I to DEI&B represents a journey towards a more nuanced, comprehensive, and people-centric approach to creating inclusive workplaces. While diversity and inclusion remain foundational, the addition of equity and belonging underscores a commitment to addressing systemic issues and fostering genuine connections within organizations. As DEI&B continues to evolve, it reflects a collective effort to build workplaces that not only embrace diversity but also ensure that every individual feels valued, supported, and an integral part of the organizational fabric.

Thanks for reading our deep dive article — be sure to join the conversation on LinkedIn and let me know your thoughts on this topic!

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