Creating A Workplace Culture Of Belonging, Diversity And Inclusivity

April 22, 2020

By Forbes |

Introduction

I have lived and worked in many unique places around the world and have directly interacted with an even broader range of individuals from all sorts of distinctive backgrounds and worldviews. As part of my travels, I spent an extensive amount of time working in South Korea. In a previous article, I shared a Korean proverb that I learned and that has always been meaningful to me, 우물 안에 개구리, or “frog in a well,” which suggests we should take proactive steps to broaden our exposure to diverse ways of knowing and understanding the different individuals and environments we interact with. We can discover ways to both honor and respect our upbringing, while simultaneously valuing the perspectives and views of those around us.

But what types of practical proactive steps can and should we take as organizational leaders?

We have all heard about the importance of workplace “belonging,” “diversity” and “inclusivity,” but unfortunately those terms are frequently used interchangeably. However, they aren’t actually the same thing. It is worth taking the time to consider each, and then think about specific suggestions organizations can do to better create and maintain a workplace culture that truly values and encourages a greater sense of belonging, diversity and inclusivity.

Workplace Belonging

In a recent Harvard Business Review article, the authors state the value of belonging at work: “Humans are so fundamentally social that we can even bond with strangers over the very experience of not having anyone with whom to bond.” Additionally, they state: “If workers feel like they belong, companies reap substantial bottom-line benefits. High belonging was linked to a whopping 56% increase in job performance, a 50% drop in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. For a 10,000-person company, this would result in annual savings of more than $52 million.”

Whether it is for reasons related to company performance and the bottom line, or just an organization’s desire to be employee-centric and sincerely focus on the human needs of its employees, leaders need to look for ways to help every employee feel welcomed, needed, wanted, valued, and that they have a genuine way to connect and contribute.

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