…building an environment to help employees thrive is an essential business practice that organisations should prioritise because when employees feel some sense of ownership and emotional connect with an organisation, it trickles down to giving the organisation more competitive advantage.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives can feel daunting and too large in scope to act on. The people element simplifies the process such that leaders can take individual responsibility and recognise what they can do to help others feel included. When leaders set an example with inclusive behaviours, they inspire change – one individual at a time, with ripple multiplier effects across the organisation or enterprise, whatever the architecture or configuration might be.
The people dimension measures diversity and inclusion as a stand-alone or could be integrated with an existing survey for enterprise engagement. This enables companies to measure employee perceptions and sentiment across demographics, as well as identify groups at risk of leaving due to not feeling a sense of belonging or inclusion.
We all know how it feels to not belong somewhere – in a party, a restaurant or even a neighbourhood and how “this sense of not belonging” makes you feel uncomfortable and insecure. Outside of work, it’s a lot easier to avoid such situations but the same cannot be said for the workplace.
A sense of belonging, feeling of value and respect, fair treatment, openness to ideas and opinions and workplace advocacy are key areas that affect employees when assessing diversity and inclusion. For companies to build a robust and healthy business, they cannot afford to ignore the impact of employee belonging; because not only does it affect wellness and happiness, it also affects engagement, motivation and retention, which all have a direct impact on the organisation’s bottom line. Feeling free to express one’s opinions at work is another major component of belonging.
Employers should make employees feel valued by ensuring they are given fair pay, alongside fair working conditions that are safe, secure and healthy, and fair treatment in relation to others e.g., special working hours or rewards for some employees over others put a question mark on the perception of fairness within teams.
Glint’s research with almost one million data points shows that employees with a strong sense of belonging are over six times more likely to be engaged than those without a sense of belonging i.e. when employees feel a strong sense of belonging, they are over six times as likely to bring out their best. Simple gestures are an impactful way of making employees feel valued e.g. “You did a great job designing that website last week,” “we have a new client who seems pretty picky, and since your work is so detail-oriented, I think you’re the only one for the job.” Not only does this approach acknowledge the employee’s strengths, it also immediately assigns a project that stresses the value of those strengths to the company.
Imagine a job where your work isn’t appreciated, your effort goes unnoticed, and you could be replaced in an instant. Not exactly a place you would want to stay for very long, right? White and Mackenzie-Davey (2003) define feeling valued as a “positive response arising from confirmation of an individual’s possession of qualities on which worth or desirability depends.” However, the other side to feeling valued is the absence of certain conditions that make us feel unvalued – the structures, policies and managerial behaviours that define our experience of the workplace. Employers should make employees feel valued by ensuring they are given fair pay, alongside fair working conditions that are safe, secure and healthy, and fair treatment in relation to others e.g., special working hours or rewards for some employees over others put a question mark on the perception of fairness within teams.
The age-old organisational problem of employees thinking senior leaders sit in an ivory tower is representative of staff feeling like a cog in a giant machine, with their contributions and opinions forgotten about or ignored. Employee voice has a massive impact on organisational culture and part of this effect is down to employees feeling valued by their employer. If I don’t think I’m needed or perceived as having merit, I am unlikely to feel valued in the workplace.
In conclusion, building an environment to help employees thrive is an essential business practice that organisations should prioritise because when employees feel some sense of ownership and emotional connect with an organisation, it trickles down to giving the organisation more competitive advantage.
Adeoye Abodunrin is an intuitive life coach, and into life design and architecture consultancy.
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