Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace
Building an organization that prioritizes diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also critical to employee retention. BCG helps clients build inclusive workplaces that have been shown to cut the risk of attrition in half.
BCG's Joe Davis explains why inclusion matters—and how to create a more inclusive workplace.
Improving employees’ experience of inclusion in the workplace—which we define as feeling valued and respected; believing your perspectives matter; feeling happy, motivated, and like you belong; and feeling that your mental and physical well-being is supported—delivers enormous business value. Done right, an inclusive and diverse workplace benefits not just underrepresented groups, but all employees.
Why does belonging in the workplace matter? A 2022 survey from BCG and the Future Forum found that 57% of desk-based workers were likely to look for a new job in the coming year, and 43% of “deskless workers”—those who need to be physically present to do their jobs—were similarly at risk of quitting.
Employees who feel like they can be their authentic selves at work are happier, more motivated, and nearly 2.4 times less likely to quit. But few organizations view workplace belonging as a business necessity because it is so difficult to define, measure, and influence.
In today’s tight labor market, organizations need tangible and actionable solutions in order to attract and retain employees.That’s why BCG built the BLISS Index, which draws upon data from more than 27,000 employees across industries in 16 countries to quantify the value of diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace. The Index shows for the first time that the felt experience of inclusion in the workplace is not only quantifiable but also highly actionable.
How can companies drive progress on inclusion? Four factors significantly improve inclusion:
Senior leaders publicly commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. When senior leaders make meaningful and sustained commitments to DEI—internally and externally—there is a massive uptick in the inclusion employees experience.
Senior leadership is diverse. Organizations with a diverse senior leadership team have better inclusion experiences for employees of all identities—including but not limited to traditionally defined “diverse” employees.
Direct managers commit to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and build safe team environments. Direct managers create a positive work environment by reinforcing inclusive ways of working and adopting practices that support employees’ sense of psychological safety. It’s a top driver of team success—yet often overlooked.
The work environment is respectful and free of discrimination and bias. Organizations that safeguard against discrimination, eliminate experiences of bias, and make sure there are consequences for disrespectful behavior directly improve employees’ feelings of psychological safety—and thereby improve feelings of belonging in the workplace.
Inclusive workplaces create the conditions for every employee to bring their authentic self to work, contribute fully, and realize their full potential—all while delivering a powerful return for companies. BCG works with clients to crack the code on employee happiness and dramatically reduce retention risk.
Our Insights on Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace
In these articles, BCG examines the ways leaders can boost diversity, inclusion, and belonging in the workplace to support employees and build a loyal and committed workforce.
Making DEI a Cornerstone of an Organization’s Strategy
BCG's Nadjia Yousif discusses why organizations should think of diversity and inclusion not only in terms of their workforce but also as a principle that shapes their services, products, and overall societal impact.
Senior leadership diversity and behavior, together with direct manager behavior, are the most influential factors driving inclusion at work and account for two-thirds of employees' overall sense of inclusion, according to BCG's research.
Our global survey reveals that when it comes to creating inclusive cultures for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) employees in the workplace, CEOs, HR departments, and managers play a critical role.
For diverse employees—including LGBTQ+ workers, people with disabilities, and those from different cultural or socioeconomic backgrounds—being mentored can increase feelings of workplace inclusion and ultimately boost retention.
When organizations support cognitively diverse teams and invite each member to bring their unique ways of thinking and being to the group, employees experience a deeper sense of diversity and belonging.
BCG’s Whole Self Series: Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging in the Workplace
What do “belonging in the workplace” and “being your whole self at work” really mean in practice? We sought to find out in conversations with BCGers. Explore their stories below:
Al, who manages BCG's business services office in Atlanta, gets his energy from the people around him. He brings his enthusiasm, passion for collaboration, and a work ethic he learned from his immigrant parents to the office every day.
As an engineer, veteran, Stanford and Berkeley grad, and proud daughter of immigrants from Haiti, Olivia’s experiences have shaped her approach to leadership—one rooted in finding connection with colleagues and clients.
Our Experts on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
BCG's consultants who focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace help clients build work environments that influence feelings of inclusion—and meaningfully correlate with retention.