In February, Oswald’s Abby Lewis, Talent Acquisition Manager, and I attended the 2019 Cleveland Internship Summit hosted by the Greater Cleveland Partnership with the intent of gathering information and resources to build Oswald’s internship program further.
Camila Negret of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) moved me with her talk Expanding Diversity to True Inclusion where she shared PwC’s Diversity and Inclusion journey. It was a powerful message about creating and amplifying opportunities to make team members, interns, in particular, feel a sense of belonging.
Think of a time when you felt a strong sense of belonging to a team or organization. Now, consider a time when you felt like an outsider and didn’t fit in. Whether you felt safe, empowered, isolated or silenced, you probably haven’t forgotten how you were made to feel.
An important piece of the Diversity & Inclusion puzzle, belonging is an essential human need worthy of a leader’s attention. It’s one thing to have representation, and it’s another thing to include the underrepresented at the table. It’s when we make others feel they belong despite their differences, do we forge a positive effect even more.
When a sense of belonging exists, we improve and so do our organizations, as studies indicate. Innovation, team collaboration, productivity, and personal well-being are a few ways belonging creates a competitive advantage. Without belongingness, team members may experience stress and isolation, or may minimize their differences to blend in.
Start by asking yourself a few simple questions.
Creating and amplifying a sense of belonging on your team is an active, not passive process that requires work. Take on the leadership challenge presented to you daily to show your team members how much you value their contributions and embrace their uniqueness.