Companies have talked a lot about diversity. From priding themselves on being an organization filled with people of all backgrounds and creeds to working on improved hiring practices, these initiatives have brought in new voices and perspectives. But is diversity enough? Probably not. Today, we’d like to share the importance of going beyond diversity and inclusion to create a culture of belonging.

Not Just Diversity—How Belonging Brings Out More from Employees

As discussed in the Accounting WEB Article, there’s a difference between diversity, inclusion, and belonging, providing the following example:

  • Diversity is what we see. There is a diverse group of people at the party, with different backgrounds, cultures, genders, races, ethnicities, and sexual orientations represented.
  • Inclusion is the foundation that enables diversity. How did all of these diverse people wind up at this party? They were invited.
  • Belonging is what allows the guests at the party to be who they are without fear of judgment. When they hit the dance floor, they won’t be judged on how well (or how poorly) they dance.

As you can tell, diversity gets you a bit of social credibility and will look good when you post statistics about employment and photos of your team, but that’s all. Inclusion is in place to encourage diversity, but means little more than posting your diverse team on your hiring page and talking about your support for people.

But belonging is different. Belonging requires a deeper look at the way you operate—and a culture of belonging looks beyond that. According to Accounting Web, companies need to strive for diversity, inclusion and belonging at all levels and areas – not just in new hires coming through the door.

In this, businesses need to ask questions like “Who is at the top of your firm?” “Who are your vendors?” and “Who are your clients?”

Change Management Principles: How to Create a Culture of Belonging

Encouraging a culture of belonging is a start, but to truly succeed, you need to treat this as a change management initiative. Rather than looking at this as a one-time shift, your decision to push for belonging is a long-term move.

Cultural changes are transformations, and transformations need to happen over time. Whether it’s securing buy-in from executives, encouraging leaders willing to champion this cause, setting and tracking progress for goals, or taking steps to increase transparency, this is not going to be a tactical move.

The Controllers Council: Your Place to Discuss

Encouraging change is tough, but with the right plans, you can move your firm in the right direction. If you’re looking for a place where you can discuss your organization’s steps to improve, look no further than the Controllers Council. Our community is a welcoming space for controllers and accounting professionals, and whether it’s mentorship opportunities or discussions on the actions taken, we’d love to have you around.

Learn More: The Black C-Suite: Challenges and Opportunities

We recently presented a free webcast for Controllers on how to encourage and incorporate more black voices in the boardroom. The Black C-Suite: Challenges and Opportunities featured three black executives who shared their experiences in their journey to the C-Suite, discussing ideas and solutions for improving representation. Watch this event here.