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Inclusion and Belonging in a Speak Up and Listen Up Culture…It Matters

Inclusion and Belonging in a Speak Up and Listen Up Culture…It Matters

Inclusion creates a culture and environment where everyone is allowed to thrive.

Belonging is the feeling of security and support one gets when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity. Now more than ever, leaders give everyone in your organization a voice to speak up and be prepared to listen with empathy and care.

What does it really mean for employees to speak up? Are all employees comfortable speaking up, or only a certain group of employees? Are all leaders enabled and trained to listen up, or only a certain group of leaders? Many organizations are challenged with creating a workplace culture where employees and leaders have the necessary tools or training to speak up, listen, and make sustainable change. It starts with a foundation of leadership fostering a culture of inclusion and belonging for everyone and creating a safe space for all employees to speak up.

Activate Employees to Speak Up

Organizations must create respectful and safe spaces for everyone to speak up without fear of retaliation or penalty. Creating a safe space begins with a respectful workplace culture that does not tolerate harassment and where all employees are treated fairly. Create a foundation of inclusion and belonging where all employees have a voice that is welcomed, heard, and included. Empower employees to speak up by investing in speak up awareness and DEI training, implementing inclusive policies and procedures, and creating effective and inclusive employee communication vehicles that give all employees a platform to have a voice, even anonymously.

Employees need training and resources around where to speak up about ideas and concerns and leadership commitment to open and inclusive communication. Training should also focus on knowing what is considered misconduct, how to identify misconduct, and how to prevent, stop or speak up about it.

Inclusion and belonging are foundational for employees when activating a speak up culture in the following ways:

  • Promotes a healthy, supportive, and inclusive environment
  • Creates opportunities for all employees to share diverse ideas, opinions, concerns, and possible misconduct
  • Reduces fear of retaliation, exclusion, and microaggressions
  • Increases engagement, morale, productivity, and performance
  • Naturally promotes diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging program strategies 

Enable Leaders to Listen Up

To effectively listen up, leaders must listen without bias, with civility and respect, from an inclusive lens, and with empathy and care.  These skills are not inherent and must be developed.  Organizations must invest in inclusive leadership training that effectively enables leaders with the tools on how to listen to employees, how to raise awareness and how to take sustainable actions when employees are courageous enough to speak up.  Leaders must be equipped with situational awareness skills when making informed, fair, and inclusive decisions.

When leaders are truly enabled to listen up, they can become better advocates for inclusion and belonging and leverage a sense of belonging for all talent. Talent optimization is realized when leaders motivate growth, drive engagement, and develop everyone’s talent, which naturally aligns with a healthy workplace culture. Unleashing individual and collective talent is impossible if all employees are not heard and valued. Creating an inclusive speak up culture is a journey that takes time, commitment, and training for both employees and leaders. Training should be aligned with organizational mission and values and promotes psychological safety for everyone, not a performative check-the-box initiative.

Inclusion and belonging are foundational for leaders when enabling a listen up culture in the following ways:

  • Influence and foster a safe, healthy, and supportive environment for all employees
  • Increase a leader’s ability to have sensitive conversations with care and empathy
  • Create opportunities to value differences, reduce bias and demonstrate cultural competence
  • Reduce potential retaliation and legal liability

Does your organization create a speak up and listen up culture rooted in inclusion and belonging for everyone? Is your organization providing all employees with diverse ways to raise issues or concerns?  The call to action is now. Organizations must commit to training and resources that encourage all employees to speak up, enable all leaders to listen, and raise awareness to create a safe and healthy workplace.  Inclusion and belonging in a speak up and listen up culture… it matters.

Learn more about how Syntrio can partner with you to achieve inclusion and belonging with your speak up and listen up culture.

We invite you to contact a staff member to learn more about our learning and engagement solutions. We strive to make the Workplace a Better Place, One Organization, One Culture, One Person at a Time.

Tammy is a thought leader with a pioneering record of global workforce management experience. She has worked across diverse industries and specializes in developing large-scale human resources and diversity, equity, and inclusion program strategies while helping organizations create inclusive cultures that leverage all talent for a competitive advantage. Tammy has held very focused senior leadership roles while serving as a trusted advisor, coach, and facilitator.

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