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Thought Leadership
DEI

Belonging In The Workplace: Small Actions Over Time Build Big Results

Belonging is looking around a room, feeling seen for who you are and knowing your perspective matters. You are respected and feel empowered to bring your unique voice and ideas to the table. When you feel that you’re being seen, it opens the door for more awareness and paves the way for authentic relationships.

Let’s come together in conversation to continue positive change in the workplace! This means listening together, learning together, and supporting one another. Construction Inclusion Week provides an opportunity to increase awareness about the importance of inclusive behaviors while celebrating diversity. As leaders in our industry, we each have an important role to play by modeling inclusive behavior both on our jobsites and in our offices across the country. True inclusion is the cornerstone of fostering a profound sense of belonging in the workplace.

SHARING OUR STORIES PROMOTES INCLUSION

All my life, I have often been the only one in the room – the only person of color, the only woman, or the only person with an accent. Having an accent and natural curly hair is not something I’ve always carried with pride. These two unique attributes share a lot about who I am but can easily separate me from the rest. That was often the case at school, board meetings, church, and social events. It was a reality that became part of my daily life. When I started working at JE Dunn, I came determined those attributes would not be a barrier or a distraction from my work but would help me build authentic relationships.

From the moment I started at JE Dunn, I felt truly welcomed and accepted. People wanted to know me, my culture, and my journey. I found myself being checked on often by members of our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), making sure I was settling in all right. It was one of those small actions that had a big impact. I felt so supported knowing they cared and wanted me to succeed. Now, whenever I’m surrounded by others like me, whether through any of our ERGs or community outreach events, I feel an indescribable sense of joy. The joy to be myself because I’m surrounded by people I can connect with over shared experiences. The support we provide one another is as sincere as it is energizing!

Additionally, I found that I also felt truly welcomed and accepted from those that didn’t look just like me. When you take the time to get to know people, those who mirror your experience and those who don’t, what I have found is that most of us have shared experiences and interests that go beyond those initial physical attributes –passion for our jobs, our families, and our communities. This truly creates that sense of belonging that we all need and desire in our work environments.

I have found people value my perspective, but they also value the work, passion, and commitment of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) team and the initiatives we are focused on to continue ensuring JE Dunn is a place where all our employees can come and do their best work each day. This is belonging. I feel this in every corner of the company, from leadership to the dedicated people who clean our offices or serve us every day in the cafeteria.

This sense of belonging allows me to lead with purpose and to form stronger connections with my colleagues and the company.

WHAT IS BELONGING?

Belonging is an accumulation of day-to-day experiences that enable people to feel safe and bring their full, authentic selves to work. It comes with the responsibility of knowing how to balance our view point with the appreciation and willingness to consider the perspectives of those around us.

Belonging is looking around a room, feeling seen for who you are and knowing your perspective matters. You are respected and feel empowered to bring your unique voice and ideas to the table. When you feel that you’re being seen, it opens the door for more awareness and paves the way for authentic relationships.

Belonging strengthens connections to your coworkers and your company’s values while feeling supported in day-to-day work and career development.

WHY BELONGING MATTERS

Establishing and maintaining a positive workplace culture means everyone experiences an inclusive and respectful environment – whether at the jobsite or in the office. It’s where everyone actively cares for each other, and employees feel physically and psychologically safe.

It’s on all of us to create a culture of belonging. Small actions over time lead to big results!

People who feel a sense of belonging are more connected to their work and organization, resulting in higher engagement. It also leads to collaboration, problem-solving, and better decision-making.

Research states that belonging is not only good for workers but for business too. Belonging can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% reduction in turnover risk, a 167% increase in employer net promoter score, 2X more employee raises, 18X more employee promotions, and a 75% decrease in sick days.*

The positive impact of ‘belonging’ in the workplace is undeniable. It’s good for everyone.

BUILDING A SENSE OF BELONGING AT JE DUNN

Belonging is not simply appreciating our employees for the work they produce but for the unique viewpoints that contribute to every aspect of a project’s overall success – from the intake to the ribbon cutting.

We are committed to taking steps that lead to progress. Here are some of the initiatives that are key to creating a diverse and inclusive space for all:

  • Engagement & Ongoing Feedback
  • Conscious Inclusion Training
  • Diversity Dialogues
  • National Diversity and HBCU’s Scholarships and Internships
  • Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)
  • Building the Future: A K-12 workforce readiness initiative centered on construction careers.
  • Minority Contractor Development (MCD) program
  • Community Engagement

BUILDING A SENSE OF BELONGING AT JE DUNN

Take time this week to reflect on your own moments of belonging here at JE Dunn and think about how your actions, big or small, can help cultivate a culture of belonging in the workplace. It’s on all of us to listen and learn from one another. Embracing and celebrating our differences makes us stronger!

CITATIONS

*https://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/blog/human-capital-blog/2021/what-is-belonging-in-the-workplace.html

Zoraya Rowlands
Vice President
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director

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Zoraya Rowlands
Vice President
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director
Background

Zoraya is guided by her belief that acting with intention and consistency can create real, positive change. She is proud to work for a company making its mark as an industry leader and as a difference-maker in people’s lives.

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