Conscious Engagement Supports Belonging and Inclusion 

Group of diverse business people sitting at a table giving high fives

Lack of engagement is one of the biggest threats to organizations today. “Conscious engagement has become an imperative for organizational and individual success. If we don’t engage consciously, we’re on autopilot,” says Wisconsin School of Business Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Binnu Palta Hill. 

Engagement not only affects an individual’s work and sense of fulfillment in a job, but it also affects our interactions with each other. Conscious engagement is about being aware of your motivations and behaviors. 

If we don’t pause and engage consciously, we lose out on meaningful interactions, innovation, creativity, and doing our best work.

Binnu Palta Hill, Wisconsin School of Business Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Binnu Palta Hill

How Conscious Engagement Influences Inclusion 

Unconscious, or implicit, bias occurs below the awareness level. No one is immune to this bias. According to Palta Hill, we need bias to survive. If we have to stop and think about every single decision, we couldn’t function. We rely on some patterns, which can be internalized as unconscious bias. 

These unconscious biases can limit our ability to make sound decisions. “If we don’t engage consciously, this will act as a deterrent to our understanding of other people and of situations, limiting our ability to make good decisions,” Palta Hill adds. 

Binnu Palta Hill further explores the neuroscience of bias and how understanding bias can enhance inclusion in her on-demand webinar, Understanding & Mitigating Bias to Enhance Inclusion. 

Become More Consciously Engaged 

Self-awareness is the first step to mitigating our unconscious biases. “It’s not about being bad people or good people,” Palta Hill points out. “We have tendencies and instincts that can get in the way of making good decisions, being fair, and inclusion.” 

Being more self-aware of our tendencies and our unconscious biases will help us move toward more conscious engagement to support belonging and inclusion at our organizations. 

Try these conscious acts of inclusion to help you get started: 

  • Acknowledgement 
  • Curiosity 
  • Allyship 
  • Perspective-taking 
  • Communicating clearly, directly, and honestly 
  • Demonstrate respect 
  • Be a partner in learning to create a culture of feedback that is accepted, appreciated, and listened to 
  • Demonstrate courage 

If you’re ready to embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion practices to increase a sense of belonging at your organization and perpetuate a culture where diverse teams can thrive, enrolling in DEI-focused programs can help you along your journey. Learn more about our diversity, equity, and inclusion programs and professional certificate and be a driver of DEI efforts at your organization.