Cultivating belonging: Involving employees in D&I strategies
The majority of leading businesses have made the bold commitment of cultivating inclusive organizations, yet when pressed about what a radically inclusive workplace actually is or looks like, most leaders within these organizations struggle to answer the question.
Many leaders forget crucial pieces to the diversity and inclusion puzzle, including one of the most important factors that’ll not only help create an inclusive and diverse workplace but also maintain it, and that’s including their people in the development of the D&I strategy, and keeping the conversation going long after changes have been made.
A few examples of being radically excluded in the workplace include being:
· Harassed, bullied, discriminated or enduring violence by stakeholders in the workplace
· Ostracized and ignored by colleagues, your management team, etc.
· Paid unequal compensation as another colleague in the same position
· Treated unfairly because of any difference that falls outside of the dominant culture
· Set up to fail in your role and not having support to advance in the organization
Now that we have clearly articulated what radical exclusion can, and often does, look like within some of the most toxic workplaces, it’s important to discuss what we’d like to see instead – diversity and inclusion.
Being radically included in the workplace includes being:
· Afforded workplace protections from harassment, bullying, discrimination and violence
· Included in the collaborative process to improve the organization’s products or services
· Paid equal compensation as another colleague in the same position
· Respected and valued for the differences you bring that make the organization stronger
· Set up to succeed in your role by receiving sponsorship to advance in the organization
Now let’s go back to the point made earlier: the importance of involving your people in D&I strategies and keeping the conversation going long into the future.
During the creation of the D&I strategy, ask your people:
- to identify features within your workplace that make them feel they don’t belong
- to articulate what would make them feel welcomed and respected and provide them with a greater sense of belonging
The key is finding out what they need to feel a greater sense of belonging in the workplace because this is the core of diversity and inclusion – it speaks to the emotional, human needs of employees. This involvement and communication is best achieved through listening strategies like Inpulse’s diversity and inclusion survey. Our diversity and inclusion survey fully supports collaboration and involvement with employees of marginalised groups.
The next step is to regularly review what these employees’ needs are (leaders need to stay close to this to make meaningful long-lasting change). Then begin creating plans and implementing change to build a culture where your vision for diversity and inclusion is realised and maintained.