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Celebrating Pride: Building a Culture of Belonging at Work

By Akhila Sriram on June 9, 2021

Pride Month was started to commemorate the Stonewall riots, which occurred in June 1969. The month of June is dedicated to recognizing the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had in the world and continue to have in our workplaces, our communities, and our world at-large. We hope you take this time to acknowledge the struggles faced by those who have fought hard for their just and equal treatment in the eyes of the law and the eyes of society. In the spirit of celebrating Pride Month, we will be sharing content focused on community building and celebrating the diversity of humanity all around us. We are a stronger world when we not only acknowledge, but celebrate the identities and experiences of everyone around us.

Belonging. As a word, it has an aura of warmth, comfort, and acceptance. In terms of employee experience, belonging is a very intangible ideal, which company culture can strive for but never quite reach. In practice, striving for belonging can help address issues of churn and retention along the way to building a company culture that makes employees want to stay, because they feel like they know and understand their purpose within the business. We hope to shed some light on aspects of encouraging belonging in your workplace and how the intangible can become a reality.

DEIB in the Workplace

A touted focus for the realm of employee experience is diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and every combination thereof. Each company has approached this work differently and each employee has different needs when it comes to these aspects in their place of work.

Diversity looks like having hiring practices that reduce bias and increase the perspectives within the talent pool of the company. It looks like the outward face of the company looking like the internal view of the conference room. And it looks like teams comprised of people of different identities and backgrounds to build a stronger company culture, through a variety of perspectives and strengths.

Equity looks like everyone being able to achieve the same growth with every resource at their disposal and without obstacles in their way. Equity looks like just treatment of all employees and the necessary support systems so that everyone can succeed and excel at the workplace.

Inclusion looks like making spaces for everyone to feel welcome at the workplace and making sure that no business practice excludes anyone from participation or involvement.

Belonging looks like bringing all of those together so that your employees feel not only welcomed in their workplace, but like they deserve and have their place at the workplace.

Belonging puts a name to what has always been a driver behind increasing employee retention and reducing churn. When employees feel valued, connected, and effective at work, they will be more productive and engaging members of their workplace community.

How to Support Belonging Within Your Company

It all starts with your employees. A Harvard Business Review study found that 62% of surveyed workers feel like they have the greatest sense of belonging within their own home followed by 34% who have that feeling at work. This does not have to mean that employees are looking for connections and that sense of belonging at work, but it doesn’t hurt to support more opportunities for creating a culture of belonging in the workplace.

What can that look like? It can look like celebrating achievements at work, from the small to the big. It can look like initiatives to build team culture, so that employees know how their strengths fit into the larger company and know their strengths are valued. It can look like making spaces for employees to get to know one another, both as colleagues and as fellow human beings, and understand better who they are working with.

But most importantly, it must look like making the spaces that your employees want and need for engaging with each other. Therefore, building belonging is an ongoing and evolving process, based on employee needs. This way, if one initiative falls short, there is always room for providing feedback and helping improve future opportunities for building community. So start with addressing your employees’ feedback and work your way to a culture of implementing spaces for celebrating each other and the collective impact of your team.