How to Make Your Workplace Feel More Inclusive

How to Manage Employees

If you're wondering what employees want most in a workplace, it's not a foosball table and a slide, as Silicon Valley might have you believe. Rather, it's inclusion, author Karyn Twaronite argues in a recent article for the Harvard Business Review.

"We humans have an innate need to belong -- to one another, to our friends and families, and to our culture and country," says Twaronite, who is global diversity and inclusiveness officer at Ernst & Young. "The same is true when we're at work. When people feel like they belong at work, they are more productive, motivated, engaged and 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their fullest potential."

So, how can employers make employees feel like they belong? According to a survey by EY, the answer is creating more opportunities for colleagues to check in with each other.

"We found that 39 percent of respondents feel the greatest sense of belonging when their colleagues check in with them, both personally and professionally … By reaching out and acknowledging their employees on a personal level, companies and leaders can significantly enhance the employee experience by making their people feel valued and connected," says Twaronite, who adds that even little check-ins can make a big impression. "Try to establish connections with your colleagues that communicate that you value, understand and care about them. Be present, curious and seize small daily opportunities to connect authentically. For example, a simple, 'How are you doing? How can I support you?' could go a long way in nearly every setting."

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