Antidote to silent withdrawal also benefits D&I, says Dr. Liz Kofman-Burns

Dr. Liz Kofman-Burns, Ph.D sociologist and co-founder of Peoplism, comments on the “silent resignation” trend – highlighting how the employee re-engagement pathway also pays off for diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. work place.

Dr. Liz Kofman-Burns writes:

“Improving employee engagement is not a silver bullet. You won’t be able to host a retreat or bring in a motivational speaker and call it a day. The good news, however, is that we know from decades of research what works when it comes to increasing employee engagement – ​​and, not coincidentally, they are the same. things that increase diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Our recommendation is to create a strategic plan focused on improvement in four key areas:

  1. Clarify (fair) expectations.
  2. Provide equitable growth opportunities.
  3. Teach managers inclusion skills.
  4. Foster opportunities for belonging at work.

Clarification of expectations:

“The lack of clear job expectations, and in particular the criteria for raise and promotion, has long plagued organizations and led to disengagement. But after more than two years of pushing employees to step up and adapt to work in the context of a global health crisis, This is a particularly good time to give all employees real clarity about what is expected of them at work. This means that your job descriptions should match the core competencies actually needed to perform the role, and those core competencies should be what are considered and rewarded in raise, bonus, and promotion decisions. These expectations should be fair and compensate people for all the work they do. If you ask or expect certain employees to step in and take on additional responsibilities that benefit your culture, such as planning events and celebrations or serving on committees, this work should be made explicit and compensated. Women, especially women of color, are more likely to undertake such unpaid cultural construction work, and they are tired of it..”

Provide equitable growth opportunities:

Advancement does not necessarily mean getting a promotion. Business needs often mean that not everyone can be promoted. But everyone can grow and learn in their work. And there’s a large body of research that shows employees seek opportunities for growth and learning. A WorkDay Peakon study of millions of employees, for example, found that employees who said they had no growth opportunities were significantly more likely to quit within 9 months. The key to introducing opportunities for growth and learning is to ensure that they are equitable. Don’t just offer growth opportunities like coaching, mentoring, or extended assignments to people that management has already identified as stars (these are often people who look a lot like current management due to of a prejudice similar to mine). Research shows that organizations actually benefit the most when learning opportunities are democratized and provided to employees least likely to be on management’s radar, including underrepresented employees.

Teaching managers inclusion skills:

“As well as providing fair opportunities for growth and learning, good management, which includes caring for your employees as people, must be applied fairly. It is not enough that managers have good relations with certain employees. In fact, researchers studying staff turnover found that staff turnover is highest when managers have great relationships with most of their team, but not with their entire team. This scenario is actually worse than having a good relationship with your entire team. The key is that managers can connect with everyone on their team. Fostering connection is a skill that can and should be taught, starting with understanding how an individual’s identity can impact their experiences at work. Evidence shows that management training for managers is very effective. Invest in advanced manager training that explains why promoting inclusion and belonging is important for engagement and teaches behaviors (like leading inclusive meetings, soliciting all voices, building equal relationships, etc. ) of the inclusion. »

Foster opportunities to create a sense of “belonging” at work

“Employers may feel like belonging is none of their business. But, in fact, belonging is a basic human need, and our needs don’t end when we arrive at work (much less when “arriving” simply means turning on the computer at home). If you want engaged employees, it’s in your best interest to provide them with ownership opportunities. This can include opportunities for colleagues to connect as human beings, such as icebreakers, events, retreats, affinity groups, and cross-team collaboration. Once again, it is paramount that you take diversity, equity and inclusion seriously when designing these opportunities. It’s much easier to feel like you belong when you’re in the majority or when your life outside of work is normal. It’s much harder when you’re a member of an underrepresented or marginalized group, and you feel you need to hide important parts of your identity to fit in. Scheduled evening work events centered on alcohol, for example, may not be appealing to parents with young children or people who don’t drink for religious or other reasons.

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