How to build affinity groups for a more inclusive culture
Creating a safe space for your employees to express their unique backgrounds is a must. Especially when it can feel uneasy for them to do so in everyday life.
That’s where affinity groups come into play! AKA communities within your company that are for people who share at least one aspect of their identity; such as for those who are LGBTQ+ or who have a disability. That way, you give your team a sense of belonging and a place where they can comfortably express themselves.
So, here’s how to start your own affinity groups (even if you’re strapped on resources):
- Get buy-in from your leadership team. Let them know that affinity groups are more than just an inclusion play. For example, they can lead to a 50% reduction in turnover. That way, you’ll get extra support from the top-down!
- Find out what your team needs. AKA ask them what type of communities they’d want to join in the workplace! And use their input to create your groups.
- Empower your team to own the groups. Meaning, make the members in charge of running the groups instead of your HR team. This makes things feel less regulatory and more like an actual community.
- Add structure to each group by defining the rules. These should include who can join the group, what it’ll be used for, and how what’s said in the group will stay in the group. That way, your members will feel more comfortable sharing their most authentic selves.
PROTECT YOUR TEAM
Steal our DEI playbook
The best way to celebrate inclusion is to make sure your employees are protected. Regardless of how they identify! And having 3 crucial policies in place make it easy to do so:
Once added in Trainual, these policies can be customized to your business and rolled out to all your team members.
👉 More of a DIY type? Here’s how to create your own DEI Policy.
ONE FOR ALL
Meet Fluide – the makeup company for all humans
Makeup is for everyone. And since launching in 2018, Fluide has built their empire on this fact.
And history proves it: In the 1940’s, one of the first widely known LGBTQ+ male groups made waves by touring the US; all while wearing makeup. And in 2018, cosmetic company Bluemercury had 20% of its sales come from men.
But, traditionally, the makeup market has been coded as female. And all of the pink colors and beautiful cisgendered women models used to market makeup products reinforced this. As a result, other gender identities feel excluded. Because that message implies makeup “isn’t for them.”
Well, until Fluide – that is. Unlike most makeup companies, Fluide intentionally doesn’t market to a specific audience – such as by saying their products are “for women” or “for men.” It’s for humans. And they work with models of all gender identities, sexual orientations, races, and sizes to drive that point home.
Because including all backgrounds in their marketing helps to celebrate queer pride and beauty. Especially during a time when the queer community continues to face intolerance.
And according to the founders, it’s working. “We get the most beautiful DMs [on Instagram], people [telling us] how they’ve never felt seen by a makeup brand before”, says their co-founder Isabella Giancarlo.
That’s because people want to buy products from brands that understand them and their experiences. And one way to do that is with inclusive representation in your marketing strategy.
For example, 71% of LGBTQ+ people say they’re more likely to interact with a brand that authentically represents people they identify with, per Female Quotient.
But that’s the thing: it has to be authentic. Because it doesn’t matter how much you say your brand stands for everyone. If you don’t mean it (and more importantly, you don’t prove it), people will see right through it.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
More need-to-knows in DEI
- The VC gap. Less than 10% of all venture capital deals go to LGBTQ+, people of color, and women founders. It’s a problem. But Backstage Capital is looking to solve it by exclusively funding founders from these groups.
- Movers and shakers. Fast Company put together the first-ever list of the top LGBTQ+ leaders in business and tech in 2021, properly dubbed the Queer 50.
- The culture playbook. Learn how to audit your company’s DEI efforts and set up systems to attract diverse talent, straight from diversity expert Steve Yacovelli.
- The best way to serve clients? Live authentically. Meaning, don’t shut down parts of yourself just to please customers. That advice helped Clarence Hairston create better client relationships by sharing his most authentic self.