Originally published: December 1, 2017
With so many companies talking about making diversity a priority but falling short of the mark, diversity and inclusivity initiatives will only be successful if everyone experiences a feeling of belonging in the workplace.
It’s not just a feel-good move; it’s good for business. Study after study has shown that diversity leads to more creative teams and increases a company’s bottom line. According to McKinsey, companies ranking in the top quartile of executive-board diversity were 35% likelier to financially outperform the industry medians. Other research finds that inclusive teams make better business decisions 87% of the time.
Diversity is an action, inclusivity is cultural, and belonging is a feeling. Change doesn’t start from top-down leadership; it happens at every level. We can all be leaders if we choose to be, and we all have a responsibility for making people we know feel comfortable. When you feel like you belong somewhere, your work ethic improves because you feel like it’s your company, too. As a middle manager, you can play a big part in communicating why creating a sense of belonging at work is needed. For inspiration, I collected advice from leaders who are prioritizing diversity so that people from all backgrounds can bring their unique strengths to the table.