JANUARY 4, 2022

Why Supportive Culture Is Critical

Approximately one-third of our time is spent at work, and if that time is spent in a toxic environment or with toxic people, we are depleted personally and our productivity suffers.

I can tell you from my own experience that Black women are often “encouraged” to be more “agreeable” and discouraged from speaking up and sharing feedback.

When an employee feels unsafe, they often fear that using their voice could mean losing their job. If someone can’t show up as their authentic selves, they won’t bring their best to work each day.

A supportive work environment can change all this. When employees feel psychologically safe, and have a sense of belonging, the work culture can enable healthy communication, individual growth, and organizational effectiveness.

Here are three action items that you can do right now to begin building a more supportive workplace culture.

1. Create an inclusive environment

This can start with simply changing terminology to signal you support diversity. As an employer or manager, your language affects an employee’s sense of belonging, while showing respect. When you avoid making assumptions about people, you let them establish their own identities in the workplace. For example, don’t assume a person is Muslim because you see them wearing a hijab. Instead, leave out perceived assumptions and encourage an equal playing field.

2. Create Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee-led groups formed around common interests, common bonds, or similar backgrounds. Employee resource groups create a platform for all employees to be heard and supported in the context of their unique backgrounds. Members of such groups are more likely to stay engaged, especially right after they’re hired. Evidence shows that ERG’s can prevent new employees, specifically minorities, from quitting early. The sense of community created by resource groups can also help your retention. AT&T and Hilton are both well known for using ERG’s to support diversity and growth.

3. Create mentoring programs

Mentoring programs have been shown to help retain women and minorities at a higher rate. Mentoring can also help create a pipeline to hire managers from within. Corporations such as Kraft Foods have successfully merged workplace cultures and created inclusion through onboarding mentorship, peer-to-peer mentoring, and mentorship between junior and senior-level employees.

Learn more about supportive workplace culture

Our three-step process of Learn > Design > Implement may be able to help you create a more inclusive workplace.