8 Ways To Create A Culture of Care Where All Workers Feel Like They Belong

Workplace culture is a huge part of the conversation right now, with more leaders talking about the need to create cultures of care and belonging. Creating workplace environments where employees feel safe, empowered to use their voices and feel like they belong is key in order for workers to thrive and for companies to be most successful. Thought leaders inside the Girls’ Lounge at SXSW 2018 share eight ways to cultivate cultures of care.
Companies don’t make s*#! happen, people do. “Culture is not a company; culture comes from people. It’s people who have caring in their hearts and DNA, and empathy in their mindsets…Work on becoming conscious of your unconscious to help eliminate unconscious bias. Do life stage interviews, because we all need different things at different life stages. Accommodate for various life stages in order to attract and retain the best talent.”
Shelley Zalis, CEO, The Female Quotient

Thought leaders in the Girls' Lounge at SXSW 2018

Thought leaders in the Girls’ Lounge at SXSW 2018 share ideas for creating cultures of care.

Make it personal. “I moved around a lot as a kid and you can see that my grades dipped every three to four years to show that when I lacked that sense of belonging, I couldn’t be productive. I think the same is true for professionals. [At LinkedIn] we try to cultivate moments of belonging, such as asking each other, I see what you’ve accomplished professionally, but what is not on your LinkedIn profile? That’s one of our favorite ice-breaker questions for meetings that opens the door to a conversation that makes you think you’re interesting to the person you just met and contributes to creating moments of belonging.”
Jia Hyun, Head of Americas, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions
Lift other women up. “We’ve interviewed more than 400 women for MAKERS, and an interesting thread is that even the most accomplished women have their own insecurities and, at some point, don’t feel like they belong. A headmaster at my son’s school said that said everybody—no matter how important they are—want to be known and needed…As women, we need to lift each other up and make sure that we all feel like we belong, together.”
Dyllan McGee, Founder and Executive Producer, MAKERS
Have conversations IRL. “I’m constantly urging people to stop sending an email to the person who sits 500 feet from you, and instead get up and have a conversation. The more interactions you have with people, the more you can understand where they’re coming from, the more you can provide empathy, and the more you’ll see what they really need as well. It opens the door to having important conversations and coming together.”
Jessica Reznick, Managing Director, We’re Magnetic
Practice mentorship in the moment. “We’re creating mentoring moments that give everyone access to thought leadership instead of big, unattainable mentorships. We encourage people to approach anyone in the organization and say, ‘I’m dealing with this challenge. Have you ever dealt with it, and, if so, how did you handle it?’…it’s shifting from being too prideful and feeling like we don’t have permission to call out the elephant in the room.”
Kat Cole, COO and President North America, FOCUS Brands, Inc.
Lisa Skeete Tatum of Landit and Meredith Kopit Levien of The New York Times in the Girls' Lounge at SXSW 2018

Lisa Skeete Tatum of Landit and Meredith Kopit Levien of The New York Times

Rethink the meaning of workplace culture. “Culture is not one-size-fits-all. We need to change our relationship to culture and belonging, because it comes across as touchy feely when in fact it’s an ROI decision as well. When you think about successful product-market fit, if you don’t have empathy and understand the pain point, you’re going to fail. If you have that same perspective when it comes to talent, you’ll be better able to take advantage of all those diverse perspectives if you have an environment of belonging. It’s not just the right thing to do; it’s a competitive advantage.”
Lisa Skeete Tatum, Founder and CEO, Landit
Shine a spotlight on workers who care. “I was inspired by the saying, ‘In a world where most people could care less, aspire to be someone who cares more.’ At The Atlantic…we started this email alias called “caring more,” where we would help people share tidbits about someone who demonstrated caring more. People loved it, because it gave workers the opportunity to shine.”
Hayley Romer, CRO and Publisher, The Atlantic
Include ‘helping others to be their best selves’ as part of an employee review. “We have not built into the culture of work whether or not you’re contributing to making other people better as something that we call out and reward…I might be a total bad ass at my job, but if I don’t create the conditions for you to be your best self, then I may not be the best for the company. I think a requirement that should be included as a line item in our reviews is how we make others feel and how we’re connecting with everyone, period.”
Meredith Kopit Levien, EVP and Chief Operating Officer, The New York Times
How is your company creating a culture of care? We’d love to hear your stories. Share with us @wearetfq!