Main image of article Do Tech Professionals Feel That They Can be Authentic at Work?

The benefits of a workforce that has a sense of belonging at work are clear. Employers whose team members feel like they belong see a 56% improvement in job performance and a lower turnover risk by 50%.  

Last week we polled our audience of tech professionals on LinkedIn to ask them if they feel that they can be their authentic, true selves at work. While the nature of polling on LinkedIn is fairly unscientific, we wanted to get at the distribution of people’s sense of belonging at work.  The results were interesting.  

The largest share of respondents affirmed that they do feel that they can be their authentic, true self. Only 17% felt that they could not. Thirty-three percent sat in the middle, stating that they can “be somewhat authentic”.  

It is worth considering that not everyone wants to have the type of relationship with work where they show up as their “fully authentic” selves. In many cases, tech professionals are there to get a job done, grow their career, and get paid. The reality is that feeling like yourself at work takes an investment of personal vulnerability and often requires a battle with imposter syndrome. To add to that, building relationships with coworkers takes effort, and while the dividends of that effort are paid back tenfold, many people simply don’t have the capacity or interest to do so.  

However, a great workplace ensures that those that do want to show up and be themselves have the resources and opportunities to do so. What might this look like? Here are some ways to help tech professionals in your organization feel like they can be themselves. 

Be Transparent About Company Values in the Interview Process 

Being yourself at work starts with working in an environment you are comfortable and safe in. Transparency from the get-go allows potential hires to assess if the company culture aligns with their own values and personality. This means going beyond just listing generic values on your careers page. During interviews, discuss real-life scenarios where those values come into play. Does your organization have benefits that support all team members? Does the service or product your company delivers bring value to the world that employees and candidates feel good about? Talking about these values transparently allows candidates to see if the company walks the walk, and if it's a place where they can be themselves and thrive. 

Have Solid DEIB Policies in Place 

DEIB stands for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging. These are not just buzzwords; they represent a commitment to creating a workplace where everyone feels respected, valued, and safe to express their unique perspectives. Having strong DEIB policies in place goes beyond simple compliance. It's about actively fostering a culture where everyone has a voice, regardless of background, identity, or experience. This means adopting benefits that support the wellbeing of all groups, and considering the benefits that more diverse populations might need to feel supported. It also means opening channels of communication so that minorities can safely offer recommendation to the organization. In many cases, this means creating spaces internally, such as support groups, for marginalized populations withing your company to communicate, support each other, and collect feedback. When employees feel safe from discrimination and harassment, they're more likely to be their authentic selves and contribute their best work. 

Promote a Workplace Culture that Enables Friendship 

Building personal connections with coworkers makes a huge difference to the sense of belonging at work. Recently, Gallup uncovered that having “a best friend at work” has increased in importance since the pandemic. Strong friendships at work can create a sense of belonging and community. This involves encouraging interaction and team building outside of strictly work-related tasks. Organizing social events, encouraging casual interaction, or even building dedicated channels for non-work related discussions are all ways to foster this.  When people feel connected to their colleagues on a personal level, they're more likely to feel comfortable being themselves and showing up with their full potential. 

By implementing these strategies, you can build a healthier work environment for your employees and create a culture where authenticity is valued. This will not only lead to happier and more engaged employees, but also foster a more creative and innovative work environment.