While companies are focusing heavily on building Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programming and initiatives, one aspect companies aren’t focusing attention around is building a sense of belonging...and there is a difference between inclusion and belonging. Someone can be included but still not feel like they belong.
Here are four ways companies can great a sense of belonging to complement DEI efforts:
Today, around 1/3 of new hires quit their role within the first 90 days of their employment, and one way companies can mitigate this turnover and help new hires feel connected and a stronger sense of belonging is through an effective onboarding process. How a new hire is introduced to the company and the people is extremely influential.
For starters, if hiring for several roles, try grouping new hires into the same start date, that way they immediately are a part of a community and don’t feel alone when they start. The connections created amongst start classes are powerful. It creates a safe space so when these new employees have questions, they know they’re not alone. It also serves as a community for them to tap back into when they need support throughout their tenure.
If companies have diverse leaders, they should be brought into the onboarding process, even if it’s just for an introduction and opportunity to ask questions. People feel a sense of belonging when they see themselves represented in leadership. Also incorporate education around the company’s culture into onboarding so new hires understand how the company supports employees, whether it be various committees and support groups, or organizations supported through volunteer efforts that may resonate with a new hire.
Lean on Employee Resource Groups
Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and/or clubs are invaluable tools for employees to connect with others over shared experiences, interests or backgrounds. These groups are voluntary, and aim to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organizations they serve, by providing employees education, activities or volunteer initiatives. Some common ERGs include: culture or ethnicity, gender, minorities, and working parents, single parents and caregivers, among others.
Human Resources teams can help organize these groups based on employee demand or they can be fully spearheaded and run by employees. However, it is important these groups are run both top-down and bottom-up as they require employee involvement, but also need leadership buy-in and sponsorship to help be impactful and sustainable.
Encourage Interaction Across Teams
When people work in silos, they have less exposure to different ways of thinking, different personalities, different work styles or habits. Even the small talk that is exchanged can lead to learning something new about someone and a new connection made.
This can be encouraged with cross-team collaboration, whether it be a project or friendly competition. There are ways companies can get creative in approaching and encouraging cross-team collaboration. For instance, a prize at a recent LaSalle Network trivia night was being treated to lunch for the winner, and they can bring one guest, and the guest must be from a different team.
Companies today are heavily focused on building DEI programming to best support and retain talent, but many efforts can be lost if a focus on building a sense of belonging isn’t prioritized, as well.
If you’re hiring and growing your team, we can help. Get connected with us today.