With the hire of our new Chief Human Resources Officer, Victoria Marshall-Rice, we plan to expand our Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB) initiatives throughout 2023 and beyond. We are putting intentional efforts towards better addressing these strategies and being a helpful source to other global technology companies looking to follow suit.
The Importance of Belonging
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is not just a box that an organization needs to check off in order to meet social and industry standards – these initiatives directly impact innovation by engaging each individual, with the ultimate goal of transforming a company from the inside out.
On top of having happier and more satisfied workers, diverse companies are 35 percent more profitable than companies that report low diversity levels.
One area of DEI that isn’t discussed enough, though, is the final and often left-out letter in the acronym – B: “Belonging.” Though belonging is missing from the acronym in many instances, and from the business itself, it’s arguably the most important piece of the puzzle.
What does it truly mean to feel like you belong in a company?
Creating a culture focused on belonging means ensuring that all voices and perspectives are valued and empowered to enact change within a company.
Belonging sets itself apart from DEI in the fact that diversity, equity, and inclusion are very tactical initiatives, but belonging can give an employee a true sense of value within an organization beyond gender or ethnicity inclusion. So in that way, belonging is more of a cultural element than an operational one. While each of these individual efforts is a critical piece of building a successful organization, the way you go about improving each of them can vary.
So, how can you begin cultivating a sense of belonging within your organization?
It starts with two things: a growth mindset and psychological safety.
Developing a growth mindset inside your organization as a whole and within individual teams is a key factor in implementing DEIB initiatives. Goals focused on learning and opportunity, ultimately allows employees to gain access to their locked potential in ways that would not be possible if individual growth was not focus points.
Encouraging psychological safety within your organization enables people to feel comfortable speaking up and bringing ideas and conversations to the table, no matter what they may be.
Promoting these ideals and values consistently over time will anchor your employees and make them feel as though they are truly a part of something bigger, as well as allow them to feel that they can grow their career with you, as opposed to feeling like they must go elsewhere to achieve their goals.
Many corporate leaders view DEI as a way to reinvigorate their organizations and boost their company culture. This is not only critical for success, but also creates a positive and fair work experience for all employees – creating an environment where they feel valued, empowered, able to grow, and through it all, be themselves.
However, to create organizations that are truly diverse and inclusive, leaders must be able to articulate what these initiatives mean to them and how each person can contribute to building inclusive and equitable environments. Leaders must be aware of these needs within their ranks, and focus on the outcomes and benefits of these efforts. For inclusiveness to be a true priority, leaders and managers must ensure that it is a regular part of their workplace dialog.
Taking your employees on the journey with you will make them feel included, which is the first rung of belonging.
At Expereo, we strive to make our teams feel valued and keep the lines of communication open. Over time, this will help create that environment of psychological safety and lead our employees to trust the decisions we make as an organization. This includes communication around strategic direction and changes we intend to make, as well as why those changes are important. These conversations are crucial to the morale of our workforce.
One initiative we are dedicated to is devoting one day per quarter to focus on the health and well-being of our individuals through environmental, social, and governance policies. This allows teams and individuals to come together and bond in a unique way with others whom they may not interact with on a regular basis.
Additionally, it’s important to have clear role profiles, talent models, performance feedback, and opportunities for career structure, ensuring that while you are focusing on DEIB efforts in meaningful ways, you are not creating unconscious bias against others who may fall into a natural majority.
At Expereo, we’re always striving to better our processes around DEIB strategies and initiatives so that we are poised to thrive in an ever-evolving society and culture. At the end of the day, we want to be known as an organization that values its people just as much as its technology.