Inclusion and Belonging With a Panel of HR Pros
[Hive Live]

Hive’s resident host, Ben Lind, was joined by our People and Culture Director, Tracey Elvin, Lead People Scientist, Charlotte Axon, and People and Culture Executive, Lucy Craggs, to delve into the increased challenges and importance of inclusion and belonging in the modern workplace.

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What’s the difference between inclusion and belonging?

They come hand in hand, but employees having a sense of belonging is a product of a truly inclusive culture. In other words, a strong D&I policy might be how some define an inclusive organisation, but unless those values are fully embedded in the organisation’s culture, the people who work there won’t necessarily feel like they belong.

Why does inclusion and belonging matter?

As children, we were all taught we had an ethical obligation to include others. But from a business perspective, taking an inclusion-first approach breeds a rich and diverse culture, which in turn sparks creativity through different perspectives, which ultimately leads to better performance.

And as for belonging, that’s something most of us crave. And it’s a powerful feeling one way or the other; if you have it, the loyalty and commitment you feel adds a huge amount of motivation. And if not, demotivation and despondency can set in very quickly.

What role does employee voice play in inclusion and belonging?

Transparency (to a point): it’s important to be open and honest with employees to make sure they feel included in the bigger organisational picture—but it’s also worth taking the time to gather all the facts and consider how you position things to avoid sharing too much too soon or with too many details.

Listen: ask your people questions to gauge their sense of belonging and find out what would help them to feel included. But make sure to only ask for feedback that you’re prepared to act on!

How do you remove the fear of getting it wrong?

This isn’t a destination; it’s a journey. When we stop thinking about ‘cultivating a perfectly inclusive culture that everyone fits into’ as a goal and begin thinking about it as a process of continuous iteration and improvement, it’s much easier to make a start.

Another effective tactic to combat those fears is to seek validation, advice and support from other HR professionals. Hive customers can get that from our community, Hive+, which is a great place to go to find out how other organisations are championing inclusion and belonging, and learn from each others’ experiences.

How do you analyse survey data inclusively?

Keep asking yourself: is this feedback representative of all demographics? Certain demographics are less likely to respond to surveys and, by definition, there are fewer people in minority groups, so there will be fewer responses from those people—and they will be at risk of getting buried in the overall results. So make sure to deep-dive into the feedback of specific groups of people.

Also, try to treat those who select “Prefer not to say” as a demographic in themselves—a group of people who don’t trust they can be open. Those people tend to respond less positively than average to survey questions, which unsurprisingly means that trust is linked to engagement.

How do you build psychological safety?

Make sure your people have enough “safe” channels to speak up, and that they know how to do that.

You should also set the tone of trust with your own actions. Be open with your internal comms, regularly reassure your people that you’re listening to them and that action is coming off the back of their feedback, and be open about your own mistakes to build trust and eradicate any blame culture.

If you want to know more about how Hive can support your inclusion and belonging initiatives, book a quick demo with one of our employee voice specialists.

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Diversity and inclusion is more than just a tick-box exercise these days; thriving organisations know exactly how important it is to create cultures where everyone feels safe and respected.

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