Culture of Belonging

The Importance of Belonging

As organizations continue to deal with increased pace, intensity, and shifting talent demands, there is a dynamic tension between performance and belonging. There is an increased risk of burnout, disconnection, workplace toxicity, and a lack of purpose.


Leaders and companies need to transform from a rigid, power-based, and hierarchical set of standards to a more human-centered and agile way of working.


Belonging is pragmatic and built systematically through concrete foundations focused on opportunities, access, safety, trust, and advocacy within an organization. Belonging is the connective tissue between shifting demands; pace and pressure; and a purposeful, human-centered approach to leadership.


Put simply, better humans make better leaders.


Download our Culture of Belonging Guide

Our Team

Our committed team specializes in creating a culture of belonging for organizations worldwide. We offer tailored solutions, leveraging expertise in the leadership behaviors that have a sustainable impact on safety, trust, and equity – belonging. Through strategic initiatives, experiential development, and personalized guidance, we empower organizations to cultivate a culture that drives employee engagement and commitment, innovation, and long-term business success.

Cristina Jimenez

Senior Partner, 

Head of Belonging

Adam Magerman

Product Development

and Design Lead

Myongii Shephard
Client Analyst, Belonging

Jack Burns
Project Coordinator

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398

Building a culture that drives performance

A culture of belonging is the strategic lever that supports talent growth and retention, high performance and agility, and organizational resilience. Creating a culture of belonging is the foundation for great leadership, diversity of talent, great teams, and great companies. Employees need to trust the organization, be psychologically safe, and feel connected to purpose to thrive.

At RHR International, we help organizations build a culture of belonging that supports talent growth and retention, high performance and agility, and organizational resilience.


Our overall program includes cultural and leadership assessments, development experiences, and ongoing advisory support that enables sustainability.

Our Culture of Belonging Assessment

Our assessment provides leaders an in-depth analysis of cultural talent-management practices, beliefs, experiences, and perceptions.
With our assessment, organizations can identify where gaps might exist and develop highly targeted interventions to support the health of their culture. If you’re looking to create a sustainable and meaningful impact on your culture and the talent in your organization, we can help.

1. Understanding the Business

  • Conduct interviews with senior leaders
  • Review internal data and context

2. Prepare for Launch

  • Design comprehensive launch plan
  • Develop a custom-made interview guide
  • Prepare effective communication strategy

3. Data Collection

  • Launch survey data collection
  • Conduct interviews / focus groups

4. Analysis and Delivery

  • Create comprehensive and integrated report
  • Design and conduct team offsite to review survey and determine path forward

Our Culture of Belonging Framework


Our leadership and behavior-based programs are built around our Culture of Belonging framework model, which is systemic, pragmatic, and accessible.


Opportunity – is the ability to meaningfully contribute and add value to the business, as a result of clarity of expectations, alignment of capabilities with responsibilities, and the ability to develop and learn.


Access – is high when organizations provide tools, information, and resources that enable individuals to fully participate. There is clarity around how to be successful, influence, and how decisions are made


Safety – is the ability to fully leverage authenticity and create boundaries that enable success. Employees can speak up, mistakes are learned from, ideas can be challenged, and experimentations is encouraged


Trust – is fully leveraged when there is alignment with business purpose (why) and organizational culture (how), boundaries are respected, and there is clarity around how relationships are built and maintained. Leaders consistently model cultural fluency, repair, and humility.


Advocacy – is a visible demonstration of sponsorship and accountability to create a culture of belonging. Talent and performance processes, resources, and opportunities are equitable and bias and harm are minimized.

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398

Belonging Program

Our belonging program is designed to enable leaders to move from being well intentioned to proactive, creating cultures of belonging that have a meaningful impact on employees.
 
 
We help our senior leaders develop the tools they need to cultivate a human-centric approach to leadership that drives equity, safety, trust, and high performancea culture of belonging.

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398

Our Impact

Whenever we work with an organization, we aim to deliver the following impact:


Leaders equipped to navigate the complex future


Employees who are deeply connected to the organization driving retention, growth, and high performance


A culture that fully leverages the performance and potential of all employees through psychological safety


Organizations that inspire, not only engage


Organizations that win the talent war(s)


Resilience and improved health and well-being


Clearer sense of purpose that builds trust


Common Mistakes

Here are some of the common mistakes we have encountered over the years working with organizations regardless of their sector or maturity:
Not developing a strategy before implementing interventions
Not communicating the vision and strategy to the organization (change-management shortcomings)
Developing a strategy without fully understanding their culture (through data)
Not considering diversity when transforming culture — creating boundaries around talent and cultural initiatives that are all interrelated
Not ensuring top leadership is aligned on the culture, vision, mission, values, and core belonging behaviors
Not investing in the development of ALL their employees

x

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398

Building Belonging: Case One

Our client wanted to leverage data to inform strategy and interventions.


They were eager to understand how employees from all areas of the organization experience the workplace and where disparities might exist among their 8,000 employees.


Approach

  • Interviews with senior leadership and other key stakeholders to understand the culture and inform our data-collection approach.
  • Define employee segments and scope of data collections.
  • Create a custom interview protocol and ensure a confidential process.

Data Collection

  • Culture of Belonging survey data from 1,600 employees.
  • 34 focus groups and 31 individual leadership interviews.

Conclusion

  • Leveraged our online platform to reach all segments of their workforce, analyze the data by key demographics, and bring forward critical insights into the employee experience:

    • Workplace experiences reflected inequities
    • Loss of relational culture is a critical concern.
    • Leadership is disconnected from their impact on the culture and employees.
    • Belonging issues emerged early in the employee life cycle, leading to retention challenges.

Outcomes

  • Highly customized development plan for the client:
    • Targeted interventions to support equitable treatment of employees.
    • Increased commitment to culture and belonging from senior leaders
  • Two years later, organizational representation, psychological safety, and employee sense of connection to the business have increased.

Building Belonging: Case Two

Our client has deeply embedded values focused on creating a culture of belonging.


Central to that was ensuring the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging strategy drove sustainable change.


The goals of this process were to:

  • Create a development and assessment experience that positively impacts culture.
  • Identify how leaders demonstrate belonging behaviors and provide individualized feedback.
  • Create a strategy for addressing gaps in experience and for making cultural shifts.

Our Approach

  • Focus the executive team on their own growth and alignment first.

  • Create a clear definition of belonging and measurement process.

  • Develop the top leaders and deploy a 360 process
  • Leverage data to inform individual, team, and organizational strategy.

Data Collection

  • Approximately 300 leaders (2,500 total responses) completed a 360 feedback process.
  • Response data was segmented by key demographic data.
  • Outcome measures included engagement, psychological safety, and performance.

Conclusion

  • Belonging behaviors were positively related to all outcome measures, including engagement, psychological safety, and performance. Deep analytics enabled strategic and action planning at all levels.
  • Key insights included:
    • Key populations were systemically having a less positive experience.
    • Informal norms centered around ways of working were creating significant stress for all employees.
    • Deep relational strengths were very clear as were areas that required more attention and would shift employee experience.

Outcomes

  • What is centrally important to leadership became very clear.
    • Belonging is key to business success
    • Low tolerance for systemic issues
    • Clarity on what to do and how to focus resources and energy
    • Leadership upskilling capabilities in a scalable manner

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398

Stevie® Award Winner for Diversity

We’re thrilled to share that we have clinched the prestigious Bronze at the Stevie® Awards for Diversity and Inclusion at the 20th Annual International Business Awards®!


Diversity and inclusion aren’t just concepts — they’re the driving forces behind our progress. This award reaffirms the strides we’ve taken to foster an environment where every voice is not only heard but also celebrated and every perspective is valued.

Forbes

We are delighted to have been named one of the world’s top consultants for 2023.
Forbes partnered with the research company Statista to create the second annual World’s Best Management Consulting Firms list.
The rankings were created after surveying both clients and senior executives at consulting firms in 40 countries including the U.S., Germany, France, the UK, the Netherlands, Brazil, and Japan.

Let’s Talk

If you’re looking to create sustainable results on diversity, equity, and belonging for the first time, or are looking to refine and improve your current activity, we can help.

Kelli Ryon

Head of Client Relationships
kryon@rhrinternational.com
+1 571 354 7398