Many companies focus on diversity, neglect inclusion and completely ignore belonging.
“Simply having people from diverse groups in your company may check off a box, but it isn’t meaningful,” Kim Clark told the crowd at Ragan’s internal communications conference at Facebook.
She quoted author and speaker Verna Myers: “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” To which Clark added, “Belonging is being part of the congo line.”
Clark’s experience as a documentary filmmaker, mom to a special needs child, and her life as part of the LGBTQ+ community, inform her work and life.
“We all need each other, no matter our background, religion, race or lifestyle,” Clark said. “We all seek connection and relationship, and relationships are based in communications.”
Communication needs to be intentional, and organizations need to design their communications for belonging. “What are we doing as powerful communicators to make people feel included on Day 1 to 1,000?” she asked. “We need to engage people and make them feel welcome from the moment they walk in our door.”
Communicators have that power, Clark said. “Every time I push send on an all-employee email, I have the power to influence how someone feels about their job, about their life, about their day and they’re going to take that home to their family, their kids, their dog. As communicators, we have the opportunity to make employees feel seen, heard and valued.”
Her charge to the audience: “Speak the vision of belonging – constantly. Be vigilant. The next time you walk into work, ask yourself, ‘Do I feel the love?’”
— Post-con attendees