Season 1: Finding and keeping great people

Leigh Mitchell Talent Recruiter/Promoter and Brand Strategist

Building a winning team through a culture of belonging and collaboration  

In our current divided world, nothing is more important than feeling accepted and appreciated in your place of work. Through my work at Bee Happy HR, I have been driven to share the importance of belonging at work by creating diversity-driven and inclusive practices that can be implemented in workplaces of all sizes. Our philosophy is progress, not perfection. We encourage teams to look honestly at their practices and see that even little improvements can go a long way to making your team see you care.

We start by looking at hiring practices. In the war on talent, there is nothing more important than creating an atmosphere where belonging and collaboration are built into the DNA of thriving companies. The most important step to attracting and retaining talent is to look at how you hire.

Inclusive hiring practices checklist

  • Look at the language of your job postings, are you focused on an applicant-first approach? Start by telling us what you will provide before discussing what you want. What are the benefits of working for your organization? Start by sharing that at the top of the posting.
  • Do you provide accommodations for applicants?
  • Do you encourage all to apply from diverse backgrounds?
  • Do you share your job posting with diverse networks?
  • Does your leadership have training in unconscious bias?
  • Do you have a hiring process that is the same for each applicant?
  • Do you conduct honest and transparent exit interviews to see why your team members are leaving?
  • Do you look for personality fit as an important hiring objective over simply just a long checklist of requirements?
  • Do you have an inclusive workplace policy? Do your employees feel supported by it?

Once you have nailed your hiring processes, it is time to work on retaining your talent. Top on the list is ensuring you have a collaborative environment where everyone is encouraged to share their strengths. Success is measured by a willingness to have a growth mindset. This approach is shared at all levels of the organization.

Tools and tips on effective collaboration

The key to collaboration is to trust your employees. Giving them autonomy to make decisions and a leadership mindset that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow. Many tools help with collaboration, especially with growing cloud environments, but communication is key. No tool can replace great communication. Does your team meet regularly to discuss priorities? Does everyone feel heard? Accepted when they have challenges? Checking in on the emotional health of your team is critical to creating psychological safety within your team. If you don’t have this, no tool will create positive collaboration.

This approach might create many questions and concerns from your leadership team, especially if they have had a long-standing relationship with micro-managing staff. If your leadership team is unwilling to have an inclusive growth mindset, then setbacks will continue to threaten your goal of retaining great staff. This is where coaching on Inclusive Leadership Skills is critical.

What is an inclusive leader?

  • Leads with collaboration and not micro-management.
  • Shares with honesty and full-transparency.
  • They are aware of their unconscious biases and beliefs and have checks in place to ensure that equality and fairness are embedded within every leadership level.
  • Fully sees the benefits of a diverse workforce as it reflects the communities we work, live and play in.
  • Ensures that everyone feels safe to share their full selves at work.
  • Recognizes that teams need to bond and look for opportunities for staff to re-energize. Examples include team events, offsite retreats, and walking meetings. Ask your team for ideas about what they want and offer them opportunities to help lead these.

Accessibility in your workplace

If you want to be an inclusive employer, you need to audit whether your workplaces can support those with disabilities. Remember that disabilities are visible or invisible. Examples are:

  • Treating people with disabilities differently than others or creating red tape that takes their anatomy away.
  • Workplaces that aren’t designed with accessibility in mind.
  • Understanding that people communicate differently and need support to thrive.

Take an honest look at your practices and talk with your staff about how they feel about working at your organization. Ask if they feel supported. Take the time to listen and reflect on what is being shared. While this may seem time-consuming at first, it will help you to save time and money by not having employees constantly leave because the culture is unfit for their growth and development. Letting employees be themselves at work will bring positive reviews for working with your company.