Building a Sense of Belonging in the Workplace - ADVANCING KIDS (2022)

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

By advancingkids on May 5, 2021

By: Nicole Capsolas; Danielle Chenard, MPH; and Lauren Dominique

Connecticut Children’s kicked off its first annual Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium with powerful presentations from Priya Phulwani, MD; Christine Finck, MD, FACS; and Rev. Carolyn Wilkins, MBA, BBA.

In this half-day virtual conference, the topics spanned issues of gender, identity, race, and stereotypes, with a mission to emphasize the importance of building a sense of belonging for all through the promotion of diversity and inclusivity education.

In the following sections, we’ll take a deeper look at some of the major themes presented by Dr. Phulwani, Dr. Finck, and Rev. Wilkins.

Gender Dysphoria: Understanding Gender Diversity

Presented by Priya Phulwani, MD; Connecticut Children’s, Endocrinology

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. When you hear these three words, do you think of them in terms of gender? More often than not, when we discuss matters of diversity and inclusion, we tend to overlook gender dysphoria.

As the medical director of the Gender Program at Connecticut Children’s, Dr. Phulwani brought this issue to light to define gender dysphoria, discuss how to provide respectful care to gender diverse youth, and share how current practice guidelines can be applied for hormone management.

Dr. Phulwani defines gender dysphoria as significant distress caused by an individual’s strong desire to be of another gender. Gender dysphoria is experienced by people whose gender identity differs from their assigned sex at birth, and it might cause people to feel uncomfortable using certain pronouns. That’s why asking patients and colleagues their preferred pronouns is so important – we cannot assume someone identifies as her, him, or they simply by their name, the way they look, or what reproductive organs they have.

(Video) Third culture kids on a better belonging. | Charlotte Jacquemin | TEDxYouth@BISHCMC

Knowledge of gender dysphoria is critical to the work of clinicians because it can help inform the language that’s used with patients. Dr. Phulwani emphasized that it is an important sign of respect for clinicians to address their patients with appropriate pronouns.

Dr. Phulwani also explained gender identity in conjunction with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual (LGBTQIA) and the sexual orientations that are commonly brought up during a clinical examination. Just as with pronouns, we cannot assume someone’s sexual orientation based off their gender identity.

Gender diverse youth is a sensitive topic in society with many unanswered questions and biased opinions. Sadly, the attempted suicide rate for people experiencing gender dysphoria is 20%, compared to 1-2% in the general population. This group faces a tremendous amount of stigma and discrimination. We must treat *all* children and families with care and dignity. For this reason, Dr. Phulwani’s presentation focused on how Connecticut Children’s can be a leading resource in our community when it comes to providing youth with respect and support. In addition to helping her patients identify primary care physicians and mental health providers, Dr. Phulwani also provides hormone therapy options and can offer clinical expertise on dosage levels and the timing of when to start patients on hormone therapy.

As Connecticut Children’s continues to grow and evolve, Dr. Puhlwani emphasized that we can provide the best care possible by learning and respecting how our patients identify, connecting them to the resources they need, and supporting their journey.

Combating Stereotypes as a Mom, Wife, and Surgeon

Presented by Christine Finck, MD, FACS; Connecticut Children’s, Surgeon-in-Chief

Dr. Finck, as the first woman to serve as Surgeon-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s and one of six women surgeon-in-chiefs at 45 children’s hospitals around the country, spoke passionately about the lack of representation of women in her field. She described that this is not for a lack of talent, but rather due to the discouraging stereotypes perpetuated within our society.

Women in most fields, but especially the medical field, are often told they cannot do it all. They can’t possibly be a mother and a surgeon. If they want to be a surgeon, there will have to be sacrifices. This belief that women have to choose between personal fulfillment and professional advancement is largely why women feel discouraged from pursuing clinical careers, said Dr. Finck.

For the women who do choose to pursue a career in the medical field, they are quickly faced with yet another obstacle: the need to prove themselves worthy enough to be there.

(Video) 2. Trusting Teams | THE 5 PRACTICES

Dr. Finck recalled a story from the beginning of her surgical residency when she was pulled aside and told that in order for her to be successful in the program, she needed to be better, stronger, and more present than her male counterparts. Unfortunately, this mentality exists beyond medical school and residency programs, Dr. Finck stated. Even in the workplace, even once a woman lands a job or receives a promotion, they must continuously prove they are worthy of being there.

This pressure to perform often results in experiences of imposter syndrome – when someone, despite having worked for their success, cannot believe that they truly earned their accomplishments, and instead feel as though they were just lucky or at the right place and time. Ultimately, this imposter syndrome inevitably gives way to the most common fear among women: they are not good enough.

After sharing these experiences and bringing to light to some of the struggles women face in the workplace, Dr. Finck shared what she believes to be the best gender equality intervention: to focus on the quality of an individual’s talent and potential, and not about how they fit into a certain stereotype.

This intervention can be applied beyond gender to any aspect of our identities: race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality, and so on. When we let go of our preconceived notions about people based on who they are, what they look like, or where they are from, we can focus on what truly matters to their career – their talents.

Equally important to this intervention is mentorship and sponsorship. A key resource for those who are underrepresented in their fields are mentors and sponsors who can help them navigate opportunities and advance their careers. Dr. Finck hopes her talk will bring renewed attention to Connecticut Children’s mentorship and sponsorship programs that can specifically empower women through the promotion of their talents and skills.

Embracing Diversity and Inclusivity

Presented by Rev. Carolyn Wilkins, MBA, BBA; Founder of Imagine Consulting; Minister & Spiritual Director of Inspirational Ministries

During a middle school field trip to the United Nations, Rev. Wilkins came to understand the beauty of diversity. “It was like one of those moments in a movie, where the sunbeams light the path. I knew [in that moment] this is what I’m meant to do,” she said.

After establishing herself with a computer science degree, Rev. Wilkins felt a desire for community and personal connection outside of the male-dominated, technical environment. Equality, Equity, and Justice became her life’s journey, and led her to a new spiritual home. She founded the Church of Religious Science where she is a minister who directs interfaith, intercultural humanitarian partnerships, as well as programs for social justice. In all the different facets of her life, Rev. Wilkins has been continuously advocating for peace and nonviolence. Her work builds community through conversations on race, dignity, and inclusiveness.

(Video) BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS TO ADVANCE BELONGING

Rev. Wilkins noted that establishing a diversity and inclusion program starts with developing a clear, detailed definition of what the program should entail. A comprehensive diversity and inclusion training program provides tangible ways to engage in respectful and positive interactions in the workplace. By doing so, this can reduce discrimination and prejudice.

Rev. Wilkins polled the participants at the session with the question: “What is one step that you can take to promote diversity and inclusivity at Connecticut Children’s?” In response, 57% of those attending stated they would participate in a diversity and inclusivity training program.

This is good news for Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health’s (the Office) Equity Committee, which plans to coordinate activities that raise awareness about inequality, actively promote anti-racism and equity, and influence positive change in the Office and in Connecticut Children’s as a whole.

Continuing Our DE&I Education

As our organization continues on our diversity, equity and inclusion journey, it is vital that we continually recommit ourselves to challenging heteronormative, sexist, and racist policies and practices.

We need to disrupt any denial of the prevalence of unconscious bias and microaggressions and instead be open to learning about how we can play a part to dismantle these beliefs and confront inequitable behaviors, practices, and subtleties when we see them in the workplace. As Dr. Finck said in the closing statements of her presentation, being in a position to tackle inequality or discrimination that you yourself will never experience is the ultimate privilege.

With that privilege, we must step outside our comfort zones and commit to continuous learning and strategizing ways to move forward and create positive change. We can only change the paradigm by talking about it. Access to and the promotion of events like this Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium will be critical to educating team members and opening the door for future conversations on how we can embrace the diversity within our teams and communities, understand one another’s unique experiences and challenges, and treat one another, regardless of differences, with respect.

If you would like to listen to the sessions from our inaugural Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Symposium, just click here or look up the Connecticut Children’s Grand Rounds podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or Stitcher. The event was also video recorded, so you can watch instead.

Nicole Capsolas is a CME Coordinator in the Connecticut Children’s Office of Continuing Medical Education.

(Video) The Present - OFFICIAL

Danielle Chenard, MPH is the Research Program Manager within Connecticut Children’s Department of Research Operations & Development.

Lauren Dominique is the Executive Associate in Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health.

All three are members of the Office’s Equity Committee.

To sign up to receive E-Updates from Connecticut Children’s Office for Community Child Health,click here.

Categories: Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Tagged as: Connecticut Children's Office for Community Child Health, Danielle Chenard, Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Lauren Dominique, Nicole Capsolas

FAQs

Why is a sense of belonging important for children? ›

A sense of belonging has been found to help protect children against mental health problems and improve their learning. Children who feel that they belong are happier, more relaxed, and have fewer behavioral problems than others. They are also more motivated and more successful learners.

How do you promote a sense of belonging? ›

A sense of belonging can grow in many ways:

Get to know families; find out what they wish for; let them know they are important. Welcome each family and child into your program (a welcome sign with everyone's name or picture) Make spaces for children and parents (personal cubbies, mailboxes, parent bulletin boards)

Why is it important to have a sense of belonging at work? ›

Belonging is necessary for bringing out the best of everyone at work. If employees don't experience a sense of belonging, they are more likely to feel insecure about their place in the organization and feel less freedom to be their authentic selves.

How can inclusion be improved in the workplace? ›

6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace
  1. Introduction.
  2. Educate Your Leaders.
  3. Form an Inclusion Council.
  4. Celebrate Employee Differences.
  5. Listen to Employees.
  6. Hold More-Effective Meetings.
  7. Communicate Goals and Measure Progress.
19 Mar 2018

How do you promote a sense of belonging among children? ›

Strategies to include Belonging:
  1. Being respectful and accepting of diversity.
  2. Showing mutual respect.
  3. Have knowledge of families within the centre.
  4. Provide positive and caring relationships.
  5. Engage and interact with children.
  6. Making families feel welcomed.
  7. Appreciating children for their individuality.
16 Sept 2020

Why is it important for children to develop a sense of belonging and connectedness? ›

Children who feel a sense of belonging and connectedness at their preschool, kindergarten, day care or school will be happy, more relaxed and have fewer behaviour problems than others. They are also more motivated and successful learners.

How do you make children feel like they belong? ›

8 Tips to foster a sense of belonging:
  1. Introduce you. Send an email, note, or a link to your website or blog to your parents to introduce you to their family.
  2. Make it personal. ...
  3. Know their names. ...
  4. Greet each child. ...
  5. Create Outside Inside. ...
  6. Encourage voice. ...
  7. Provide journals. ...
  8. Schedule meeting times.
2 Aug 2017

How do we ensure that children develop strong attachments and a sense of belonging in our service? ›

use effective routines to help make predicted transitions smoothly, sense and respond to a feeling of belonging. communicate their needs for comfort and assistance, establish and maintain respectful, trusting relationships with other children and educators.

How do you develop a child's sense of identity? ›

Spend extended time engaging with infants and toddlers, initiating and responding to their cues and signals, building attachment and trust. Help children to develop both a personal and social understanding of themselves and other children by encouraging them to talk about themselves and their families.

What are the elements of belonging? ›

In a culture of belonging, that means an environment that supports all three elements of comfort, connection, and contribution.

How do our values support creating belonging? ›

As humans, we feel the need to belong. To one another, to our friends and families, to our community, culture and country, to our world. Belonging is fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being. Our interests, motivation, health and happiness are tied to the feeling that we belong.

What is inclusion and belonging in the workplace? ›

The difference between diversity, inclusion and belonging is that diversity is the representation of different people in an organization, inclusion is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level of a workplace, and belonging is ensuring that everyone feels safe ...

What are the 3 most important things that make a company a good place to work? ›

Great companies to work for often share these 15 characteristics:
  • Competitive compensation. A company that cares about its employees provides them with appropriate salaries and benefits. ...
  • Company culture. ...
  • Community. ...
  • Trust. ...
  • Fairness. ...
  • Communication. ...
  • Innovation. ...
  • Professional development.

How do you create a fun work culture? ›

How to create a fun but productive work environment
  1. Trade “forced fun” for organized fun. Your team members are individuals with different personalities and interests. ...
  2. Foster a positive environment. ...
  3. Encourage quick, fun breaks. ...
  4. Share meals. ...
  5. Build rapport. ...
  6. Choose your own adventure. ...
  7. Create challenges and embrace gamification.

What are the 7 pillars of inclusion? ›

About 7 Pillars of Inclusion
  • Access.
  • Attitude.
  • Choice.
  • Partnerships.
  • Communication.
  • Policy.
  • Opportunities.

What are 3 ways to promote diversity? ›

What are the best ways to promote diversity?
  • Educate Managers on the Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace.
  • Create More Inclusive Workplace Policies.
  • Communicate Clearly and Create Employee-Led Task Forces.
  • Offer Meaningful Opportunities for Employee Engagement.
  • Create Mentorship Programs.
  • [
22 Aug 2022

How does belonging being and Becoming support children's learning? ›

Belonging, Being & Becoming

This refers to how a child from even before birth is linked to family, community, culture and place. Through these relationships a child's development and learning takes place as they begin to explore, develop interests, create their own identity and make meaning to the world around them.

How do you implement inclusive practice in early years? ›

treat all children and their families equally and with respect. include and support every child, regardless of ethnic background, culture, language, gender, socio-economic background or disability. ensure that every child is able to participate in activities. provide resources that reflect the background of each child.

How do you promote inclusion in childcare? ›

Strategies to Raise an Inclusive Child
  1. Be a role model. Children follow what we do more than what we say, so it's important that our actions are sending the right message. ...
  2. Teach compassion. ...
  3. Explain differences, don't ignore them. ...
  4. Use children's literature.
23 Nov 2021

What does belonging mean for children? ›

Belonging is about having a secure relationship with or a connection with a particular group of people. When children feel a sense of belonging and sense of pride in their families, their peers, and their communities, they can be emotionally strong, self-assured, and able to deal with challenges and difficulties.

What are three 3 Behaviours of children that may be displayed when they respond to diversity with respect? ›

2.2 Children respond to diversity with respect

begin to show concern for others. explore the diversity of culture, heritage, background and tradition and that diversity presents opportunities for choices and new understandings. become aware of connections, similarities and differences between people.

How do you promote children are connected with and contribute to their world? ›

cooperate with others and negotiate roles and relationships in play episodes and group experiences. take action to assist other children to participate in social groups. broaden their understanding of the world in which they live. express an opinion in matters that affect them.

How do you facilitate and foster a positive sense of belonging? ›

Tips for fostering a sense of belonging
  1. Expose students to potential role models from BAME backgrounds.
  2. Model inclusive behaviour and attitudes.
  3. Host inclusive events from the outset.
  4. Facilitate the development of positive teacher-student relationships.
  5. Facilitate the development of positive peer relationships.
27 Apr 2020

What does it mean to feel a sense of belonging? ›

Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group. It is when an individual can bring their authentic self to work.

How do you build an inclusive team? ›

4 ways leaders can build an inclusive culture
  1. Establish 'psychological safety' Team members should feel as though they can share their thoughts and opinions freely, so everyone feels heard and all ideas are on the table, not just those of a select few. ...
  2. Discourage 'groupthink' ...
  3. Encourage 'servant behaviour' ...
  4. Be honest.

What is an example of belonging? ›

The definition of a belonging is something owned by someone, or a close relationship. An example of a belonging is person's wedding ring. An example of a belonging is a person's best friend. Close relationship; familiarity; camaraderie.

Which is an example of helping children develop a positive identity? ›

Children develop a positive identity through open conversations, being valued by peers, experiencing supportive relationships and settings, and seeing other people with similar traits and identities be appreciated and valued.

What are the indicators that a child has developed a sense of self? ›

The appearance of self-conscious emotions such as embarrassment, pride, guilt and shame also demonstrates that a child is developing self-consciousness.

How do you promote children's learning and development? ›

It is understood that children learn best when they have opportunities to be supported toward: making their own choices. making their own decisions. returning to experiences and activities across a period of time.
...
Supporting children's learning and development
  1. indoors.
  2. outdoors.
  3. off-site including walks, outings and visits.

What are five ways you can build children's self-identity? ›

Here are 5 important ways to help your child build a healthy identity:
  • Give them a challenge. ...
  • Earning and learning vs. ...
  • Take their interests to a new level. ...
  • Teach them to be assertive. ...
  • Don't protect too much.
23 Jan 2017

What are five ways you can build children's self-esteem and self-identity? ›

Here are things parents can do to help kids feel good about themselves:
  • Help your child learn to do things. ...
  • When teaching kids how to do things, show and help them at first. ...
  • Praise your child, but do it wisely. ...
  • Be a good role model. ...
  • Ban harsh criticism. ...
  • Focus on strengths. ...
  • Let kids help and give.

How do I make people feel included in the workplace? ›

6 ways to make employees feel included
  1. Involve people when making decisions.
  2. Give employees the authority to make choices.
  3. Recognize each employee's contribution.
  4. Encourage employees to feed into values.
  5. Foster workplace friendships.
  6. Be mindful of time zones when scheduling.
22 Dec 2021

What does belonging in the workplace look like? ›

Belonging in the workplace is an employee's sense that their uniqueness is accepted and even treasured by their organization and colleagues. Belonging is an accumulation of day-to-day experiences that enables a person to feel safe and bring their full, unique self to work.

How do you foster a culture of belonging at work? ›

6 Ways to Foster Belonging in the Workplace
  1. Make introductions. Especially during the first 30 days, it's important to foster relationships among your team and the organization as a whole. ...
  2. Create an ongoing dialog. ...
  3. Get their input. ...
  4. Trust them. ...
  5. Give them your full attention. ...
  6. Share your story. ...
  7. Conclusion.

What would increase your sense of belonging in your team? ›

Creating a sense of belonging in the workplace results in greater on-the-job effort and high employee performance. To build a sense of belonging, eliminate outsiderness, bring everyone on board and demonstrate care through benefits and initiatives.

Why is the sense of belonging important? ›

A sense of belonging is crucial to our life satisfaction, happiness, mental and physical health and even longevity. It gives us a sense of purpose and meaning. Research has shown that loss of belonging has been associated with stress, illness and decreased wellbeing and depression.

How do you measure belonging at work? ›

Asking about a range of viewpoints – about their own experience, their team, their manager, their senior management, their company, and supplementing these with open text questions, asking for more detail around their observations helps round out the belonging score.

How do you promote inclusion in the workplace? ›

6 Steps for Building an Inclusive Workplace
  1. Educate Your Leaders.
  2. Form an Inclusion Council.
  3. Celebrate Employee Differences.
  4. Listen to Employees.
  5. Hold More-Effective Meetings.
  6. Communicate Goals and Measure Progress.
19 Mar 2018

What is difference between inclusion and belonging? ›

What's the difference between inclusion and belonging? In a nutshell, and put simply, inclusion involves efforts and behaviors that can be fostered by the organization or actually by the people in it. Belonging is something that employees themselves feel and results from your inclusion efforts.

How can leaders most effectively promote belonging amongst their employees? ›

Asking how your employees are doing and then truly listening to their answer is a great way to make them feel seen and valued.

What does it mean to feel a sense of belonging? ›

Belonging is the feeling of security and support when there is a sense of acceptance, inclusion, and identity for a member of a certain group. It is when an individual can bring their authentic self to work.

How do you make people feel like they belong? ›

How to Make People on Your Team Feel Like They Belong
  1. Make introductions. Don't introduce people just by their title. ...
  2. Solicit input. Don't expect everyone to show up and speak up. ...
  3. Share stories.
5 Dec 2016

How do you create a culture of inclusion and belonging? ›

This is how:
  1. Take your organization's temperature with a DEI survey. Take the guesswork out of how your organization is holding up. ...
  2. How family-forward are your work policies? Caregivers need extra support. ...
  3. Establish trust. ...
  4. Find ways to connect. ...
  5. Accountability is key toward creating a culture of belongingness.
9 Feb 2021

How do you create value at work? ›

Here are eight ways you can add value to your company's products or services:
  1. Be a customer. ...
  2. Submit high-quality work. ...
  3. Make a unique product. ...
  4. Encourage faster production. ...
  5. Adjust your marketing strategy. ...
  6. Ask the right questions. ...
  7. Become an expert. ...
  8. Focus on what you can do.

How do you build an inclusive team? ›

4 ways leaders can build an inclusive culture
  1. Establish 'psychological safety' Team members should feel as though they can share their thoughts and opinions freely, so everyone feels heard and all ideas are on the table, not just those of a select few. ...
  2. Discourage 'groupthink' ...
  3. Encourage 'servant behaviour' ...
  4. Be honest.

What are the elements of belonging? ›

In a culture of belonging, that means an environment that supports all three elements of comfort, connection, and contribution.

What is inclusion and belonging in the workplace? ›

The difference between diversity, inclusion and belonging is that diversity is the representation of different people in an organization, inclusion is ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute to and influence every part and level of a workplace, and belonging is ensuring that everyone feels safe ...

How do you establish a sense of belonging in childcare? ›

Strategies to include Belonging:
  1. Being respectful and accepting of diversity.
  2. Showing mutual respect.
  3. Have knowledge of families within the centre.
  4. Provide positive and caring relationships.
  5. Engage and interact with children.
  6. Making families feel welcomed.
  7. Appreciating children for their individuality.
16 Sept 2020

What is an example of belonging? ›

The definition of a belonging is something owned by someone, or a close relationship. An example of a belonging is person's wedding ring. An example of a belonging is a person's best friend. Close relationship; familiarity; camaraderie.

What is another word for sense of belonging? ›

“Strong traditions can give you guidance, a sense of belonging, and a sense of purpose in life.”
...
What is another word for sense of belonging?
bondconnection
communitylink
associateshipassociation
belongingbelongingness
membershipsocial bond
84 more rows

What's the difference between inclusion and belonging? ›

In a nutshell, and put simply, inclusion involves efforts and behaviors that can be fostered by the organization or actually by the people in it. Belonging is something that employees themselves feel and results from your inclusion efforts.

How do you make everyone feel in a group? ›

5 Steps To Emotionally Include Someone
  1. 5 Steps To Emotionally Include Someone. ...
  2. After Sharing Yourself, Focus On The Other Person With Questions. ...
  3. Find Common Ground. ...
  4. Encourage the Others In The Group To Take Responsibility. ...
  5. Actively Listen To Them. ...
  6. Listen To Remember.
26 Jul 2018

What to say to someone who feels like they don't belong? ›

So on the days you feel like you just don't belong here are some words of encouragement to get you through.
  • People love you. Your friends chose you for a reason. ...
  • There's nothing wrong with you. You're not broken. ...
  • You will find your tribe. ...
  • Everyone's a weirdo. ...
  • Everything will be okay.
10 Mar 2020

What is it called when you feel like you don't belong? ›

Estrangement is the feeling that you don't belong, especially when you're surrounded by other people. If you've ever had to sit by yourself in a school cafeteria, you know what estrangement feels like. Right in the middle of the word estrangement is strange, and it provides a great clue about how to use the word.

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