Finally, companies all over the world are focused on obtaining more diverse workforces. This allows them to benefit from a wider variety of perspectives and expertise. The issue they now face, however, is how do they make these newly hired employees feel comfortable with their environment, and would these employees be able to be their authentic-selves. Only when an employee feels safe in providing their perspective will companies reap these benefits. To achieve this, companies need to start creating a sense of belonging in their organizations.
We had the pleasure of hosting a group of amazing panelists that provided us with amazing insights about belonging and how we can effectively pursue this on an organizational level alongside a managerial one.
“When you are able to employ and express your authentic self at work, then you are no longer a custodian who is just performing tasks.” — Tyler Muse, Founder & CEO of Lingo Live
Tyler pointed to the fact that at the core of employee engagement, lies a sense of belonging. This can only be achieved by having the necessary psychological safety, availability, and vulnerability. He brought up that he as a leader of his organization, he must show vulnerability first to then have it trickle down. He also spoke about how at Lingo Live they try help people who may not feel comfortable speaking their second, or third, language in their place of work, which causes them to hide a part of themselves, and therefore not feel like they belong.
“If it doesn’t come from the top, it doesn’t filter down.” — Tina Greenbaum, CEO of Mastery Under Pressure
Tina spoke about how CEOs and people in positions of power are more visible than ever. This means that they are now also required to be sensitive, accountable, and authentic to signal to their organizations the right behaviors. For this to occur successfully, leaders need to display these things from the get-go, as it is the only way in which they can build trust with their teams. People are attracted to authentic leaders. These things then allow you to build an environment that allows people to become the highest performers they can be.
“Belonging creates a great foundation for employee satisfaction.” — Ellen Petry Leanse, CPO at Lucidworks
Ellen pointed out that for belonging to occur in people, everyone must “all drink the same water”. This needs to occur because humans have evolved to collaborate and learn from each other, which cannot occur when one group dominates another. To counteract this in the workplace, we must be curious about each other’s differences and learn how to appreciate them at the same time. This is because the relationships people have with others around them heavily contribute to their sense of belonging and ultimately their satisfaction.
“There is no one magic pill that will create a sense of belonging in an organization” — Daniel Sonsino, Founder of Guia Consulting
Daniel spoke about how we must tackle the barrier of creating a sense of belonging from multiple angles, starting with job descriptions. He mentioned how job descriptions create a barrier for women along with people whose first language may not be English to feel included. He also talked about how it is important to have representation in your hiring and interviewing teams. These factors will directly and positively contribute to the sense of inclusivity you display to your candidates, which will then allow the feeling of belonging to foster. One approach he suggested to make these factors effective, is to have people who are minorities make the necessary adjustments to these processes to create a positive lasting effect on the organization.
After the speakers shared their thoughts on the matter, as per usual, we hosted an activity. In this activity, we used the Beaconforce framework as a point of reference for discussion. The attendees were separated into different groups led by our speakers, to come up with a solution to the issue at hand.
After great collaboration and deliberation, the teams came back to share their solutions to the problem presented. The solutions were amazingly thought-out and ranged from approaching Guilia with an open conversation about her experience with others in the company to approaching her with the intent of changing the way you manager her.
Lisa Paredes, Brand and Community Manager at Beaconforce | Lisa joined Beaconforce's early days to be a part of its mission to create work environments that allow people to be the best versions of themselves. Her passion for business and people led her to join Beaconforce's San Francisco team and help create a world where every single person wakes up in the morning and can't wait to go to work.