D&I in Healthcare: The Importance of Belonging

Posted on 08 August 2021

Most healthcare organisations understand the importance of increasing diversity within their workforce and creating a genuinely inclusive environment. They also know that a diverse and inclusive culture helps to attract much-needed skills, improves employee experience and helps to foster better patient outcomes.

However, it’s one thing recruiting diverse employees but do they feel like they belong? As the T2 Healthcare team celebrates Pride Month, we thought it was the perfect time to look at what it takes to create an environment of belonging in any healthcare setting.

The power of belonging 

Pat Wadors, currently Chief Talent Officer at Procore Technologies, created the term Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging (DI&B), stating: “D&I may capture your head, but belonging captures your heart.” 

The feeling of belonging is a fundamental human need. “When someone is different and insecure, and they get to be authentic and are welcomed in a team, we can unlock their superpowers and bring out the best - not only in that person, but the team and, therefore, the product, the service, the company, the world,” said Wadors. 

The impact of covering

If an employee doesn’t feel like they belong, they may cover or mask their true identity to try and fit in with the dominant culture. A Deloittereportfound that LGBTQ+, black and disabled individuals report the highest incidences of covering in the workplace. Those workers who covered aspects of themselves were found to: 

- ​Be less committed to the organisation

- Have a lower sense of belonging 

- Perceive they have fewer opportunities to advance their career 

- Have seriously considered leaving the organisation. 

According to Wadors, teams and managers should reflect on three key questions:

​-How does your organisation/department celebrate people’s differences? 

- As an employee, do you feel safe if you make a mistake? 

- Does someone at work care about you?

Creating an environment of belonging 

There are many ways you can foster a sense of belonging in your healthcare setting. Here are just a few of them: 

​-Measure employee experiences. D&I strategies tend to focus on statistics and the demographic makeup of an organisation. In contrast, inclusion measuresemployee experiencesto gauge how they feel in the workplace. This can be done in a variety of ways, including employee surveys, one-to-ones and group conversations. It’s important that any feedback received is listened to and acted upon.

- Instil a sense of community. Employers must create a culture where everyone feels accepted, welcome and part of the same team working towards the same goals. Reflect on the organisation’s values and promote them throughout the workplace to help you create a close-knit community. 

- Recognise and reward employees. Ensuring your workers feel valued will go a long way in creating a sense of belonging, particularly in a healthcare setting where managers and staff are often time-poor. Taking this a step further, individuals should be recognised for their unique abilities and accomplishments, reinforcing that you celebrate everyone’s differences.

- Celebrate all holidays. It’s vital that no one on your team feels left out.One of the easiest ways to do this is to equally acknowledge and celebrate all religious and cultural holidays.Sharing a calendar with everyone, hosting departmental events and decorating common areas are just some of the ways you can show that you really care about what matters to your workers.

Need some support? 

If you’re an employer looking for help recruiting and retaining outstanding healthcare professionals who will excel in your healthcare setting, speak to a member of the T2 Healthcare team today. Call us on 0203 002 6305 for a no-obligation chat, or emailinfo@t2healthcare.com.

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