Workplace Belonging: Continuing the Journey

By: Louis Chesney

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In response to the positive feedback from readers of our last article, Workplace Belonging: A Journey Rather Than a Destination, we added ten more pairs of questions for reflection and action. Answering these questions will further empower your employees to create a greater sense of belonging in their work teams.

Review each pair of Reflection and Action questions / statements. Take a blank sheet of paper or open a new document on your computer and write down your answers to the Reflection and Action questions / statements below.

Reflection

Action

When have I been angry or upset with a friend or colleague for challenging or discounting what I said?

Describe how you could have handled your emotions more healthily and productively. Could you accept that that person’s reality may look different than yours?

Describe who you are at work and how you like to work.

Write down three practical ways an employer can support or accommodate this person.

Think of a time when you disagreed with a friend or colleague without having a rationale behind it. Where do you think it came from?

Describe how you interpret the situation, considering the facts and evidence. Would you still disagree with your friend or colleague?

Think of someone powerful and influential in your life. Do you believe some of that power and influence came with their given status in society?

Write down three ways you can exert more power and influence in an area of your life where you feel it is most needed.

Do you remember when someone assigned you a stereotypical task of your social identity group (e.g., your gender, race, or generation) because they assumed that you could do it?

List three skills or personal qualities you have that others may not see.

Was there a time you were afraid of expressing yourself for fear of being punished for breaking social etiquette?

Describe who you would be and what it would be like to be around you if you let go of that fear.

Think about a time when someone made a teasing remark to you. How did you respond?

Reflect on what you could have done differently to achieve a better outcome.

Have you ever been on the receiving end of an insult disguised as a compliment? If so, describe the incident.

Write down what you would say to the person today to help them understand the impact of their words on you.

Think of a time when the fear of failure or making a mistake limited you. Where do you think the fear came from?

What would you say to yourself if you were more attuned to yourself and your individual needs?

Do you find yourself trying to act a particular way to please others? If so, write down what arises from this reflection.

If you were more in touch with yourself, imagine and write down what direction it would take you.

You can either keep your answers private or share them with your team members while acting with empathy and compassion so that others can express their feelings safely. Keep in mind no one “gets it right” all the time.

After completing this activity, employees will gain greater sense of belonging and at the same time become more compassionate and better equipped to overcome discomfort in new situations.

As mentioned in our last article, when employees feel pressured to lose their uniqueness to conform to dominant societal norms, it impacts their sense of belonging. It also hinders their ability to respond to change and disruption because “code-switching” leaves them less mental space to demonstrate their skills and talents. Moreover, if culture fit is the main criterion to get hired or promoted, the workplace will not benefit from the input of diverse individuals who can provide culture add-on.

To learn more about the new Whil platform, request a demo.

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