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Today, you will see many businesses using the hot buzzword of the day: belonging. This word is used to indicate that the business believes they have an inclusive culture, but sometimes there is a misunderstanding of what “belonging” really is and what it truly means.

According to, “belonging is a sense of fitting in or feeling like you are an important member of a group.” In theory, that sounds amazing; yet how often do we really feel like we belong or are truly embraced in the workplace? From this writer’s perspective, you cannot have a strong sense of belonging if you do not have a truly welcoming, affirming and inclusive culture.

For those who are in marginalized groups or are seen as different, belonging is the hope; however, the reality is not feeling included even at those organizations that believe they are doing the right thing. Simply having a diversity, equity and inclusion program in place does not guarantee that your organization is truly a welcoming, affirming and confirming space for those who do not fit into the majority.

We need to do a better job at creating a culture that includes everyone. This means we take a step back and do a deep dive into what inclusion truly is and what actions need to be put in place to ensure that every voice is heard and validated within our organization. Sometimes, that will require us to confront some pretty tough and difficult conversations, such as, discrimination, harassment and racism.

Begin by doing an internal DEI audit of the organization, which means reviewing every policy, procedure and HR function, as well as taking a very close look at what leaders’ beliefs and attitudes are toward diversity and inclusion.

Confronting and tackling those difficult and sometimes painful discussions can be the difference in creating welcoming and safe spaces, where everyone is welcomed and can belong.

Want to learn how you can create a strong welcoming, affirming and inclusive culture? Contact us at We are ready to help your organization to grow, prosper and succeed.