Toward a Culture of Belonging

A relatively new term, or concept, in the field of inclusion and diversity is belonging. It's not a new concept, of course. In fact, belonging is a component of Maslow's widely known hierarchy of needs. It's one of our deepest human needs.

A Quest for Belonging

From our perspective belonging is what you personally feel from being included. It's personal. From a leadership perspective, leaders can demonstrate inclusive behaviors, they can show that they're an inclusive leader based on how they interact with others—but they can't make someone belong.

Individuals know whether they feel they belong and may have very specific ways they want to be interacted with to make them feel like they belong. For example, diverse staff members who don't feel like they're a cultural fit, don't feel like their input is sought or valued, and don't feel like their contributions make a meaningful difference won't feel the sense of belonging that leads to long-term tenure, loyalty and, from the employer's standpoint, retention of top talent.

The Next Step in the Inclusion Journey

Belonging is the result of a culture of inclusion and the next logical focus for companies that have worked to create an inclusive culture.

But, who defines belonging? Is it senior leadership, HR, or direct managers and supervisors? No. Only employees themselves can determine whether they feel that they belong. Too often they don't and, when they don't, they're likely to do one of two things: resign in place or look for options elsewhere.

Breaking down walls can help boost feelings of belonging. It's the next phase for many companies that are well along their diversity and inclusion journeys.

How are you doing with that?

Recommended Reading

Becoming an Inclusive Leader

Inclusion: The New Competitive Business Advantage

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Are you tired of workplace diversity training that does not link to business? Are you tired of tactics that don’t drive business results? InclusionINC has inclusion training solutions and strategic consulting that link inclusion to employee engagement, productivity, innovation and retention, moving inclusion beyond tactics to a critical business strategy.

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