Ending Soon! Save 33% on All Access

How to Create an Environment of Authenticity in the Workplace Strong and transparent leadership can make employees feel valued and help retain top talent. Here are some helpful suggestions about creating this type of environment at your business.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Europe, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Hinterhaus Productions | Getty Images

Research has shown that organisations with advanced diversity and inclusion strategies are about 30% more likely to have executives who are highly loyal and innovative and who perform well. Even if you helm a small business, not a big firm, it's clear that making employees feel valued for their unique attributes, not in spite of them is a way to keep morale and performance high—and retain those workers.

As such, you may strongly consider fostering an environment that lends itself to authenticity in the workplace for all your employees. Here are a few ways to do that.

Model the barrier between authenticity and a lack of professionalism.

The first thing that might impede your progress when making a more open, authentic environment is a misconception about what that means. The European Business Review acknowledges that authenticity at work is key, as it allows individuals to be their true selves and build trust with peers and clients, but it can be misinterpreted as unprofessionalism or oversharing.

When encouraging workers to be open and authentic, take the first step by modeling what it looks like in a professional way. Per the EU Business School, the boss' role in demonstrating authenticity is important here. As a boss, you can demonstrate being open by being transparent about goals and issues and even acknowledging elements of your personality that humanize you or might be relevant to your work.

Chiefly, be empathetic and communicate with workers on a human level. Don't overshare, however, and avoid being too crass or self-revealing. Set a tone that shows willingness to be authentic but unwillingness to eschew all professionalism to get there.

Create communication pathways.

Authenticity comes from a sense of psychological safety, meaning workers can express their true feelings without worrying about judgment or retribution. Make that easy, at least for work-related matters, by setting up protocols and pathways for communication. Make help desks available and be sure managers communicate with workers about the correct people to contact with concerns, critiques, and questions.

Having a structure in place to encourage and enable the asking of questions or submission of ideas makes it clear that these are welcome, which will go far in helping workers feel confident enough to share authentically.

Act on feedback.

After you've made it easy for workers to communicate and give feedback, act on it in a timely manner. Address issues and implement ideas, provided they make sense, but give reasoning in the event you don't move forward with a worker's proposal.

According to the EU Business School, creating a feedback loop and demonstrating respect for workers' opinions is elemental to fostering an environment of authenticity.

Make diversity and inclusion known priorities.

In 2021, 76% of organisations reported that diversity and inclusion was a stated value or priority. Saying as much in a survey is one thing; being sure employees know it is another.

Create diversity and inclusion standards that include rules against discrimination or other types of bullying behavior. Make it clear in your company's rules that diversity of background, thought, and belief are acceptable and won't result in an employee's ostracization or punishment. Regularly hold workshops or require workers to complete worksheets about these rules and be sure to keep them posted throughout the building.

Signaling to employees that they are free to be their true selves and it is a priority for you as a manager is key.

Personal Finance

This Investment Bundle Includes a Trading Course and Stock Screener Tool for $150

Approach the stock market with an increased understanding.

Business News

Four Seasons Orlando Responds to Viral TikTok: 'There's Something Here For All Ages'

The video has amassed over 45.4 million views on TikTok.

Business News

TikTok Reportedly Laid Off a 'Large Percentage' of Employees as the App's Fate in the U.S. Remains Unclear

Laid-off TikTok employees were notified Wednesday night through Thursday morning.

Growing a Business

5 Strategies to Know As You Scale Your Business

Scaling a service-based company requires a comprehensive approach that goes beyond simply increasing revenue. It requires careful planning, strategic decision-making and a deep understanding of market dynamics.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.