To overcome their own potential biases, and create and build an inclusive workplace, leaders can look to these six aspects:
1. Build a diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce
Although building a more diverse workforce takes time, effective diversity strategies and action by those in leadership can immediately and significantly raise the feeling of belonging in an organization.
2. Promote a culture of trust, respect and authenticity
Trust is built when leaders are authentic, empathetic and perceived as competent. Leaders can create the conditions for belonging by being open, vulnerable and empathetic toward others.
3. Leverage hybrid working where possible
Audit roles for feasibility, and as part of building the culture of trust, advocate for people to work more freely. Lead by example, and make sure people see leaders doing the same.
4. Implement systematic feedback, recognition and check-in initiatives
Recognize that each market has its own nuances, and map the feedback and recognition systems to match those needs. For example, where Australia and Singapore like personal, casual check-ins, other markets need more objective approaches.
5. Address exclusion and bullying to minimise risk
Design a program of systemic interventions to remove the optionality for behavior-driven activities. Demonstrate the organization’s DE&I commitment through policy, strategy and talent expectations.
6. Remove the optionality of DE&I
There is no single activity or program that can foster a sense of belonging in the workplace; it takes a whole-of-organization approach to create a culture that promotes inclusive behavior and raises awareness on the differing needs of employees and build in steps for accountability.