Companies are changing the term "Diversity and Inclusion" to "Diversity and Belonging."
The growing emphasis on the concept of "belonging" in the corporate world has significantly influenced diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. To create a more inclusive work environment, the strategy of "bringing your whole self to work" has gained traction and become standard practice. Belonging has transformed into a way to help people not historically marginalized be a part of the conversation. The aim is to foster a sense of belonging among all employees by encouraging them to express their authentic selves, allowing for flexibility in work arrangements, and providing the freedom to engage in discussions about social and political issues that matter to them. This focus on belonging has been spurred by a noticeable increase in employee resignations and concerns regarding exclusion within the workplace. According to a 2022 report by Coqual, a think tank, approximately half of Black and Asian professionals with advanced degrees feel a lack of belonging in their workplaces. This revelation has prompted organizations to recognize the importance of belonging and incorporate it as a core aspect of their DEI strategies. Belonging includes everyone in the conversations. To address these issues, many companies have prioritized belonging and committed to investing more resources into initiatives that foster a sense of belonging among their employees. This investment includes implementing policies, programs, and practices that create an inclusive culture and environment. People who weren't otherwise comfortable with diverse conversations feel accepted for being human and having a different perspective. By doing so, organizations strive to ensure employees from diverse backgrounds feel valued, respected, and included in all aspects of their work experience. Companies are taking steps to create a sense of community and support within their workforce. They encourage forming identity-based communities, such as employee resource groups, where individuals with shared experiences or backgrounds can connect and find support. These communities play a crucial role in fostering a sense of belonging by providing a safe space for employees to share their perspectives, seek mentorship, and participate in activities that promote inclusivity. In contrast, organizations have discovered that mandatory diversity training alone may not be as effective in fostering a sense of belonging. While diversity training is still important to raise awareness and promote understanding, it is the active involvement in identity-based communities and initiatives that have shown to have a more significant impact on creating a sense of belonging. Overall, the corporate world is placing increasing importance on belonging as a means to enhance DEI efforts. By prioritizing belonging initiatives, organizations aim to address the concerns of employees who feel excluded, mitigate high resignation rates, and cultivate an inclusive work environment where individuals can truly thrive and contribute their best.