We’re committed to creating a sense of belonging at Epsilon and had the honor of discussing what this means to us in a panel session with HR Leaders during their Spring Summit.
Chris Rainey, HR Leaders’ CEO and Co-Founder, facilitated the discussion, and was joined by Epsilon’s Jen Mahone Rightler, SVP – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Corporate Social Responsibility and Wellness Programs. Also joining the conversation were:
- Linda Herbert, Vice President Development, North America at Airbus
- Alex Martinez, Senior Director, Diversity Talent Innovation and Strategic Engagements at Nike
- Brian Vaught, EVP, Diversity, Equity, and Belonging at Publicis Groupe
- Garima Gupta, Senior Director, Global HR Partnerships and Inclusion at Relativity
The discussion centered on what belonging means to people, creating the space that makes people want to stay at an organization and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I). Each panelist shared how they have worked toward progress in these areas.
Some key highlights from the panel that stood out to me included:
Belonging takes effort:
The group discussed how belonging doesn’t just come naturally, and how organizations must provide a platform that encourages employees to connect with each other. It means being thoughtful about how you create time for employees to grow and learn. It’s also important to create and build inclusiveness by encouraging people to show up, be their true selves at work and offer spaces for meaningful conversations.
The leaders on the panel agreed – at the end of the day, when an employee feels a sense of belonging in the workplace, they are more likely to stay at a company.
Belonging is a fundamental part of being human:
The panel also discussed the importance of feeling connected as people. When we feel like we belong and that we are part of something larger than ourselves, it benefits our well-being.
Garima shared why belonging should be looked at as on outcome of DE&I efforts that organizations should work toward:
“Inclusion is a behavior – diversity is a fact. Belonging, is an outcome we’re working towards.” - Garima Gupta
Belonging is becoming a key differentiator:
The discussion touched on why belonging is currently the icing on the cake of many organizations’ DE&I efforts. People who stay at organizations are the people who help create this change, but also feel it.
Belonging must become part of how we work together as people and not just thought of as HR or DE&I initiatives. Finding allies within your organization, and creating these opportunities, is what will help drive businesses forward.
Jen provided thoughtful advice on how organizations should think about this work:
“It’s not a race to the finish. Lift each other up in the community to move the needle. We should all take it upon ourselves to learn about diversity and inclusion, and not just expect leaders to be the teachers. Take time to learn the value of being inclusive and what this can do for your teams, your company and your communities.” - Jen Mahone Rightler
In closing, the group advised attendees to step back, pause and pivot often. To effectively create belonging in the workplace, we all must recognize that we will always be learning.
Click here to watch the full session with HR Leaders.
Learn more about how Epsilon is committed to creating a culture of belonging here.