As we navigate a world radically changed by COVID-19 , and shaken by global Black Lives Matter protests , we have an unlooked-for opportunity to rethink the fundamentals of how , why and where we work . This includes ways to stamp out systematic racism , social injustice and inequality .
Employers have a practical and moral impetus to get behind this agenda , acting on the lived experiences of their people , and moving beyond diversity to genuine inclusion . Creating ‘ cultures of belonging ’ is an organisational priority — and the focus of this edition of Future Talent magazine .
“ Workers should feel comfortable at work , including being treated fairly and respected by their colleagues ,” asserted a 2020 report on Belonging , published by Deloitte . “ They should feel connected to the people they work with and the teams they are part of . And they should feel that they contribute to meaningful work outcomes — understanding how their unique strengths are helping their teams and organizations achieve common goals .”
However , it added that while 79 % of organisations said fostering a sense of belonging in the workforce would be important or very important to their success over the next 12 to 18 months , only 13 % were ready to address this trend .
We must graduate from diversity rhetoric to
commitment and action
Moving forward , we must graduate from diversity rhetoric to commitment and action , tackling the three factors that most influence an organisation ’ s ability to navigate the evolution from comfort to connection to contribution : organisational culture , leadership behaviours , and personal relationships .
This means building cultures that encourage people to be authentic and to share their diverse perspectives , in the knowledge that they are valued . It means reinforcing this through leadership behaviours that align with organisational purpose and inspire workers to perform at their best . And it means supporting the development of strong relationships between team members , based on mutual respect and psychological safety .
Where we draw on the lessons of the past 18 months , and commit to practising more compassionate and peoplecentric leadership , we have an opportunity to reset longstanding models and to emerge from the pandemic with a workforce that is more diverse , inclusive , engaged and resilient .
I hope you will join our virtual 2021 Future Talent Conference in June , where we will be discussing how to transform skills and inclusion in meaningful ways . For immediate inspiration , please read on to find contributions from a diverse selection of expert commentators .
Mary Appleton Editor in chief | mary @ futuretalentlearning . com