After Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Comes … BELONGING! Two perspectives.

Belonging is the first psychological element on Maslow’s “Hierarchy of Needs”

Diversity and Inclusion continues to grow as a strategic discussion that all organizations need to engage in for growth and profitability. But is inclusion now enough? Is there something after inclusion? Recently, I have heard more discussion around the subject of belonging.

What is the difference between inclusion and belonging?

Inclusion is defined as the state of being taken in. Belonging is defined as being in close or intimate relationship. It goes beyond simply being at the table, but being truly listened to and valued.

Recently the discussion of belonging has come to light via two professionals within my sphere:

• Gracie Johnson-Lopez, Founder and Inclusion Strategist with Diversity&HR Solutions, who recently spoke on this topic at our monthly Triangle (NC) Society of Human Resource Management (TSHRM) meeting.

• Rhodes Perry, Founder of Rhodes Perry Consulting. Rhodes, a transgender man, does leadership coaching and inclusion consulting, and is a fellow certified LGBT-Business Enterprise.

Gracie Johnson-Lopez of Diversity&HR Solutions

First, the insights from Gracie’s presentation “Creating Cultures of Belonging” at the October 25, 2018 TSHRM monthly meeting. Gracie kicked off the session showing a gripping 3.5 minute video, “Inclusion Starts with I” which has received over half a million hits and highlights how all people want to belong in their workplaces.

Some other information that Gracie shared:

• The face of America and the world is changing, and we all have a adapt to succeed. Globalization makes it easier for any business to do business and have employees anywhere in the world. Millennials in the workplace continue to grow. And while Christians will increase 35%, the worldwide Muslim population will increase 78%. All these segments of people will need to feel that they belong for an organization to thrive.

• In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, belonging is the first psychological need after the basic physical needs of safety, food and shelter. And given the number of hours we spend at work, it makes sense that have a feeling of belonging in the workplace is important.

• So often people, especially minorities, are physically included and present, but not truly listened to and treated as they fully belong.

• Gracie shared 6 tools for creating a sense of belonging in communications, and 7 steps to building a culture of belonging. If you want more detail, perhaps contact and engage Gracie for your business or group via her website.

Rhodes Perry of Rhodes Perry Consulting

Second, insights from Rhodes Perry. Rhodes recently shared in an email to his constituents:

“Feeling like you don’t belong in your place of work is stressful. It is uncomfortable, demoralizing, and takes away from your potential to offer your unique gifts and talents to your work. ⠀

I remember this stress well. Mine derived from constantly having to place a veil over my authentic self. Namely, I withheld sharing that I was assigned female at birth, and covered important aspects of my gender history, as they were relevant to particular conversations in the workplace. ⠀

Not fitting in during this early employment period of my life motivated me to become a diversity, equity, and inclusion professional and my continued work with organizations of all kinds has motivated me to write this book. ⠀

I believe we can change the culture of work for the better so we can all truly feel we belong and show up as our authentic selves. I encourage you to share your story with someone at your workplace or a close friend or family member. By sharing our experiences, we can make room for inclusive cultures…together.”

Rhodes’ book, “Belonging at Work: Everyday Actions You Can Take to Cultivate an Inclusive Organization” launches November 13th, on World Kindness Day! Link to info on receiving the book.

The Power of Open Decision Framework and Diversity of Thought

Allison McMurray, Senior Director, Global Talent Center of Excellence at Red Hat presented the Open Decision Framework of Decision Making and Project Management at our February 2017 TSRM meeting

As a SHRM (Society of Human Resource Management) member of two local chapters (Raleigh-Wake and Triangle SHRM in the Raleigh – Durham, NC area) I attend as many of these chapters meetings as I can. And when there is a fascinating and useful presentation, especially if it intersects with my consulting areas of diversity and career development, I will write a short blog about it.

On February 16, 2017, I attended such a session at that month’s TSHRM meeting, titled “Open Sesame! The Power of Open-Source Decisions.” Allison McMurray, Senior Director, Global Talent Center of Excellence at Red Hat presented the Open Decision Framework of Decision Making and Project Management.

A few years ago, I heard Red Hat CEO and President Jim Whitehurst speaking at a session on Corporate Social Responsibility, and he offered Red Hat’s commitment to “open sourcing” as a prime example that aligns with community efforts to provide free access to important information and applications. Link to my blog about that session. Allison McMurray at the TSHRM session followed up with the Open Decision Framework as a proven process within Red Hat that is now documented and available for anyone to use. Link to Open Decision Framework on GitHub.

The Key Elements of Open Decision Framework include:

Open Exchange. This includes leading with transparency, publishing work as it proceeds, setting expectations up front, and managing those expectations along the way.

Participation. It is crucial to engage customers and stakeholders early and often. Effective participation includes making it safe to voice concerns, and being specific about what feedback you are looking for.

Releasing Early and Often. This means as the project progresses, publishing progress openly. That includes showing how feedback was used in shaping the project direction, and being open about ongoing expectations around requirements and constraints.

Meritocracy. The best idea wins no matter where and who it came from. This truly encourages everyone to contribute.

Community. That a team can truly accomplish more together

I believe it is very easy to see that using this framework for managing any project would increase its probability of success.

The Open Decision Framework strongly supports one of the emerging sub-fields of diversity and inclusion, Diversity of Thought. Companies are now looking beyond diversity of appearance and to diversity in ways of thinking. When companies open themselves to diverse approaches to business problems and developing solutions, often a blended solution which includes different ideas results in a much stronger answer. When an enterprise is comprised of leaders who all think exactly alike, there is a huge potential for missing entire market segments and innovative products and offerings. Embracing diversity of thought includes listening to others and keeping an open mind to creativity and innovation.

This “Open Decision Framework” is an excellent execution of Diversity of Thought, and I encourage all my blog readers to get more information about it and look at building a cultural shift to project management at your enterprise.