Transition and adaptation were key components of 2020. Shifting onsite events to virtual platforms, filling days with Zoom meetings, and making our homes an epicenter for learning, work, and entertainment were challenges many of us endured together.
Amid these unprecedented transitions, there also came a call for change. Organizations and hiring managers were asked to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives across the country. And though many things will return to normal in 2021, the emphasis for companies to build a community of belonging and acceptance will persevere.
Establish an inclusive company culture in 2021
Leaders play a critical role in shaping association culture. Spend time establishing the right habits now to strengthen your corporate image for future generations. Encourage your staff to celebrate acceptance more than commonality. It’s the differences of view, background, and experiences that lead to innovation and growth.
A recent article from the MIT Sloan Management Review, “How Leaders Can Optimize Teams’ Emotional Landscapes,” stated that shared emotion is great for aligning individuals to effectively execute a strategy. However, many leaders feel the best way to align groups is by cultivating a shared feeling of positivity or sense of urgency. Using these methods does inspire employees to rally around a central task; get more, aim higher, reach further. The caution in using them is you run the risk of reinforcing biases.
Fostering a creative environment
As barriers between personal and professional lives have blurred, people are becoming more open about the stresses associated with taking care of loved-ones, feelings of isolation from working remotely, and racial bias. We are now seeing peers as more than just colleagues, but as parents, caretakers, friends, spouses etc.
Common life events are presenting new ways to find common ground. They create inherent inclusivity we all share through a particular set of circumstances. Parents worry about their children, children worry about aging relatives, employees worry about job stability, and citizens worry about the state of the nation.
Understand public perception
While we are finding new ways to connect with others both emotionally and virtually. It’s worth noting what people are saying on social media. Use those insights to credibly build a sense of belonging in your organization. Audit your brand image, language, as well as the types of speakers you invite to your annual conference. These are just some of the ways your organization’s brand is “speaking” to the world. Be sure that message authentically includes diversity and belonging.