Creating a sense of belonging at work is not just a feel-good sentiment; it’s a powerful driver of high productivity rates and overall employee satisfaction. However, this sense of belonging often wanes when employees report inconsistent experiences, particularly during the hiring and talent management phases.

From hiring to exit interviews, business leaders must recognize the need for approaches that are tailored to the diverse needs of their workforce if they want to foster a culture of equity and inclusion throughout the entire employee journey. Employers must build a brand that communicates their commitment to equity to both passive and active job seekers, as well as those they already employ.

Ensuring your workplace caters to the needs of all employees is no simple task because it takes time and necessary resources to develop a personalized approach. However, establishing a fair and equal work environment is easier if you prioritize employee belonging from the start with strategic, personalized and equitable recruiting and onboarding.

Identifying Talent Who Matches Your Company Values

Recruiters and talent acquisition professionals play a pivotal role in securing employees who not only excel in their roles but also remain committed to the company. The first step in this process is to thoroughly understand the company’s culture and values. By comprehending the company’s ethos, recruiters can pinpoint candidates whose personal values align with the organization’s. This alignment goes a long way in ensuring long-term employee satisfaction and retention.

Recruiters can also work with their organization’s leadership to establish a compelling employee value proposition (EVP) that encompasses all the benefits and opportunities the company offers to attract new employees and keep current employees. It goes far beyond the size of an employee’s paycheck to include whether they feel valued, engaged and welcomed on a daily basis.

Recruiters should evaluate a candidate’s compatibility with company culture through comprehensive interviews and reference checks to enhance the employee’s life cycle and attract employees who are committed to growing with the company.

Creating an Inclusive Hiring Culture

It’s crucial to recognize it’s not a one-size-fits-all approach to enhance equity across the employee lifecycle. Different employees have varying needs, experiences and backgrounds. Therefore, it’s vital to tailor strategies to address these unique requirements. Personalized approaches encompass the entire employee lifecycle, starting from recruitment and onboarding to ongoing professional development and career advancement. By acknowledging and accommodating these differences, organizations can create an environment where every employee feels valued, heard and included.

According to Achievers Workforce Institute, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) have been identified as a high priority by more than eight in ten HR leaders (84%). In another recent study, Gartner discovered that inclusive teams improve their performance by up to 30% in environments that are high in diversity. At Achievers and Workday, we incorporate belonging as another essential element in creating a fair workplace environment.

In addition to increasing your company’s talent pool, expanding your recruitment searches to include a more diverse range of candidates will increase your company’s chances of finding the best hire who will fit in with your company’s culture and goals.

A variety of strategies can be implemented during the recruiting process to support diversity:

  • Convey clear and concise job descriptions – It is important to avoid bias or any gendered language in job descriptions so that a broader pool of candidates can be attracted, and unconscious bias can be reduced during the screening process.
  • Diversify recruitment channels – Employ platforms, organizations, and networks that cater to underrepresented groups to increase visibility among candidates who might otherwise be overlooked.
  • Mobilize a hiring panel – Ensure that hiring panels are diverse and train panel members to recognize and mitigate biases.
  • Structure your interviews – Providing standardized questions leads to a more equitable and fair evaluation process. They help ensure that each candidate is assessed based on the same criteria and reduce the potential for personal prejudices.
  • Conduct blind resume reviews – When reviewing a stack of resumes consider removing personal information from resumes before they are reviewed. This draws your focus more on qualifications rather than demographic details.

These strategies will create an environment of belonging and inclusion, leading to more enthusiastic employees serving as advocates and recommending talent to hire.

Setting Up New Hires for Success with Their People Leaders

Talent acquisition professionals and hiring managers have the responsibility to not only find great hires but also hires who are invested for the long haul. To achieve this, recruiters must communicate important information about the employee or their preferences to their leaders during the onboarding process.

That’s why it’s essential to establish transparent and clear communication at the start. When new hires embark on their onboarding journey, it’s imperative that recruiters convey key information about the employee’s preferences and needs to their respective people leaders. This ensures a smooth transition into the company and helps address any potential issues early on. Recruiters should act as liaisons between the new hire and their managers, which includes facilitating an open dialogue that sets the stage for a successful and long-lasting employment relationship.

Equity Builds Belonging, Boosts Successful Employee Lifecycles

The journey to increasing equity across the employee lifecycle demands a strategic and multi-faceted approach. As a first step, recruiters and business leaders must acknowledge that consistent experiences throughout the employee journey are critical to fostering a sense of belonging and ultimately driving higher productivity and employee retention. Once they implement the proper steps to embrace employee belonging from the get-go, organizations can build a more inclusive and resilient organization where all employees thrive.

Jeff Cates

Jeff Cates is the CEO and President of Achievers, an industry-leading employee experience platform that accelerates a culture of performance. After being named CEO, Jeff quickly led Achievers to new product and global growth. Jeff’s passion for creating environments where employees can do the best work of their lives has helped Achievers receive multiple employer awards: Top 50 Best Workplaces™ in Canada, Best Workplaces™ for Women, and Best Workplaces™ for Inclusion.

Kumari Williams

Kumari Williams is the Vice President of Belonging and Diversity at Workday where she is committed to fostering an inclusive, supportive, and equitable workplace culture. With her extensive experience in this field, Kumari brings a wealth of knowledge and insight to her role and is dedicated to driving positive change within the company and beyond. She is a thought leader in diversity and inclusion and is passionate about creating opportunities for all individuals to thrive and succeed. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, she provides strategic oversight to the Employee Belonging Council (EBC) program.