When employees experience inclusion and belonging in the workplace, they’re happier, more productive, and they stay longer. This means you save money on the hiring process and get to make more money from the increased productivity.
Your company culture plays a huge role in whether someone feels like they fit in where they work. To encourage this, it’s important that you put effort into the areas listed here. It will show employees that you really do value inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
These practices must be part of daily life at your company. Not just something you put on job descriptions to attract diverse talent. Or worse, because you feel legally or morally obligated.
Read on for six ways to build inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
How you welcome new employees subconsciously shows the type of place they’re walking into (virtually or in-person).
If you don’t make employees feel welcome, or your onboarding process reflects badly on the organization, they’re more likely to leave.
On the other hand, a great onboarding experience increases retention by 82%, and productivity by over 70%. This can go a long way toward generating more time and money to spend on other areas of your business. Not to mention the difference it makes to your culture.
Starting their tenure off on the right foot can help ensure employees feel a sense of inclusion and belonging in the workplace from day one.
Employee groups help team members meet colleagues in different departments who have similar experiences to their own. They’re a fantastic way to build employees’ skills, improve their confidence, and help them network.
Offering a thriving community of employee groups makes it easy for your people to find their people. It’s a sustainable, low-cost way to build inclusion and belonging in the workplace across a diverse team.
Make reasonable accommodations
Employers are legally required to make “reasonable accommodations” for employees who are differently abled. It’s up to employees to ask their employer for the accommodations they need. It’s then on you, as their employer, to make them.
However, it’s worth noting that some people may experience problems but not have an official diagnosis. Others may not even realize they’re struggling.
Someone shouldn’t require a formal diagnosis or a doctor’s letter to qualify for support.
To truly build inclusion and belonging in the workplace, you need to be willing to make adaptations regardless of someone’s diagnoses. That could mean allowing them to take regular breaks, getting them a sit/stand desk, or communicating in a different way.
Prioritize mental health
How many times has someone you know been told to keep working, or do even more, when they’re already struggling? How many times have you done that to yourself?
Everyone responds to stress differently. Everyone also has a different limit for what they can handle before it starts to impact their mental health. Being aware of this helps you build a workplace where employees don’t feel their health issues are a problem. They also won’t be afraid to share what they’re experiencing.
In fact, their ways of thinking could even be an asset. Someone with generalized anxiety disorder may have greater attention to detail, for example. Their brain wiring helps them consider all the different things that could go wrong. (I knew someone who did this, and she believed it made her a better teacher.)
Someone who’s neurodivergent could become your secret weapon because of their alternative experience of the world. They can help you find more creative solutions to problems or identify issues you may not have otherwise noticed.
It’s not your job to treat someone’s mental health conditions, but it is your job to look after them.
The more employees hide their mental health issues, the more stressed they’ll feel. This then means they’ll get less work done, they’re less comfortable at work, and they’re more likely to leave.
When you look after employees’ mental health, they’re much more likely to work hard, speak highly of you, and help you attract higher quality candidates. Over time, you’ll create an even more diverse, welcoming company culture and build real inclusion and belonging in the workplace.
Employees often feel like managers don’t listen to them. Regular check-ins show them that you do care about how they feel and what they think about current business events.
These check-ins also allow you to find out what’s happening in employees’ daily lives that may impact their work. This is true whether their concerns are inside or outside of the business.
When these regular check-ins are established, employees will feel more comfortable opening up about what they’re experiencing. This will give you more context on what’s happening with them and help you make more informed decisions.
All hands or all-company meetings are another important way to do this because it puts everyone on even footing.
Everyone getting company news at the same time helps employees understand the bigger business picture and their role in it. It also creates a sense of mutual respect, ensuring nobody is left out of the loop because of their rank.
When you share with your employees what’s happening—the good, the bad, and the ugly—it shows a level of respect and inclusion you can’t get from anything else.
We share information with people when we’re comfortable with them and when we trust them. It’s the same with businesses.
When you share with employees how things are going, they get a greater sense of connection to the business. It also helps them visualize the difference their efforts make. Plus, it may even motivate them to help you reach business goals. Your goals will start to feel like goals for them, too.
Regardless of someone’s role, it’s important that they experience a sense of inclusion and belonging in the workplace. The last thing you want is for them to feel like an outsider looking in.
The more employees feel like they belong at work, the happier they’ll be in their role. And the more productive they’ll be, too. This impacts everything from your hiring costs to your overall profit, and your company culture.
Giving your team a central hub for connecting with all your employee groups, programs, and events just makes sense. If you’re looking to build inclusion and belonging in the workplace, Workrowd can help.
Our tools make it easy to deliver a personalized employee experience no matter where or when team members work. With one-click signups, streamlined communications, automated data collection and analytics, and more, everyone has what they need to thrive.
Drop by our homepage to learn more, or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to chat about ways to ensure everyone at your organization experiences inclusion and belonging in the workplace from day one.