We have previously addressed the value of #diversity in the workplace. The value it brings to organisational reputation is one thing but the opportunities it opens to increase profits and speed up problem-solving.
But how do we get more diverse communities and how do we build those same communities to provide benefits to the business through increasing long-term growth, reducing employee turnover, and a reduction in HR issues, all while improving the business’s cultural sensitivity and awareness?
This month’s newsletter explores this topic to bring focus to the importance of community building and its long-term effects. To grow a community initiative, we must establish a key purpose and values. After all, what is the point in #growth if it is not #sustainable or #rewarding? Following the set of principles listed below should ensure our first principle of long-term growth is achieved through setting out community “standards” or “principles” these will provide the spine to which the community can attach: Define and form your identity, what is your core purpose, and why should your community want to join the cause.
People will only join the community if it aligns with their identity
Earn credibility and encourage participation. Show and prove your value to increase your credibility, the more people that see this as you scale the more improvement you will see in business cultural awareness through reputational gain. Inviting more and more people to join and participate through a mix of digital and in-person events. The step makes people see and feel the value, encouraging organic growth through word of mouth.
Feedback. In all community operations feedback is key to growth, continuous improvement, and trust. Did you know that Forbes lists achieving diversity through Inclusion in its top 5 reasons HR issues arise? Gaining feedback from the diverse populations in your communities will give a vital boost to inclusion reducing these HR issues and feelings of alienation. Allowing people to feel heard in the communities they belong to is therefore the foundation for success in this model. We can ultimately add as many people to a community as we like, but if we lose them at a similar rate due to HR issues and a lack of awareness, our businesses will not function as they will be failing the communities they endeavor to serve.
Communities can be built in the modern day both digitally and in person. This provides businesses with an unparalleled opportunity to seek broad thought diversity from those external to the organisation. Here are a few examples of key networks that can be used to broaden #communities to allow us to #invest in the future #growth of the business:
In-person network events
We understand that business is now a revolving door of talent, but strength and identity in a community that aligns with individual purpose can slow this process, and prevent it in some cases. Long-term community building will allow alignment of purpose, and values to the peer group, but will add value back by providing constant feedback that can fuel growth. Community building in business can feel like just another buzzword at the moment but the feedback loop and growth it subsequently provides makes it a key driver of the increased bottom-line performance.
So why then do we focus on diversity when building these communities? Adaptability and awareness as a business, whilst growing cultural sensitivity allows us to ensure that we put inclusion front and center. There’s a saying that goes “we’re riding the same storm, but we ride it in different boats”. Those boats represent the different journeys people have been on in life, where the importance of this statement about community building is the feedback loop that we create in community growth.
The more diverse the community is the broader range of feedback we will receive as people’s experiences will differ through their diversity. And we can go further. We know strong communities reduce employee turnover, and people want to stay in places where they have a sense of belonging and purpose, where they feel valued and heard. Acting on the feedback of a diverse community can improve employee experience and fix issues before they arise. It should be mentioned that a diverse community is proven to increase retention amongst both white and non-white employees.
So what does this all add up to? Diversity brings people with different backgrounds into the feedback loop of a community. The full value of a community is in that very feedback loop. To enlarge it, we need to be clear about our purpose and identity as a community. HR is an expensive business for organisations so by taking the time and investment to listen and learn we reduce complaints and turnover greatly, but this again has to be underscored by diversity. If we don’t understand the journey of people from all walks of life, the community purpose of the organisation is quite simply flawed.
Are you interested in learning how to leverage the power of community feedback loops to improve the experiences of your team members, and create a more emotionally well and supportive work environment?