How to combat the effects of Echo Chambers in the workplace.
Updated: Mar 19
We can easily find ourselves closed-off and complacent when we're not exposed to opinions or perspectives that challenge how we think. Here are some methods that our global team at WCS use to keep our ideas fresh, and our thinking inclusive.
Considering the various DEI services we offer and our focus as an organisation on helping our clients create progressive and inclusive workplace cultures, we think it’s important to highlight that we're also doing out best at WCS to practice what we preach. We wanted to share some of the different ways we combat the effects of Echo Chambers - the various resources we tap into to ensure that our decisions are made with a variety of perspectives informing our approaches. And perhaps showing how your organisation could do the same.
1. We build and nurture diverse teams.
A good place to start when thinking about echo chambers is to consider who is “sat at your table.” One of the things we appreciate most about our organisation is our small but diverse global team. Every single team member comes from a different background, and hold different intersectional identities.
We proudly come together across different business functions, all to help achieve our organisational mission and goals of serving the LGBTQIA+ Community, as well as continuously developing and improving the ways in which we do this work. Just because we all hold LGBTQIA+ identities, certainly does not mean that we all think the same or agree about everything!
This variety seen in our colleagues is felt by how we are always learning from one another, in an environment which is psychologically safe. This, in turn, facilitates a working environment where everyone feels welcomed, valued, respected, and can play their part in developing and growing the organisation.
2. We prioritise personal connection over production.
Because we place such an emphasis on holding space for our teammates when they need it, we're also used to using our time differently where required. Whether its allowing our fellow team members a chance to ask us questions about our experiences, open up about what is going on in their personal lives outside of work, or simply use team meetings to make suggestions about improving processes and how the organisation is run. Yes we all have a job to do, but we are 'human-beings' first and foremost, not 'human-doings', and acknowledging this enriches the final output.
3. We seek external consultation and guidance.
“OK, but what if you don’t have all the answers or perspectives you need from inside your team?” we hear you ask.
There are plenty of instances where we discuss certain things as a team - whether it’s an idea for content to be published and added to our Online Library of insightful articles, or a focus point for an upcoming panel discussion. It's important to be able to admit that we don't always have the answer!
We also use our Global Advisory Board to table any new ideas or for discussing longer term strategies. Meetings with the Advisory Board take place once a quarter, where we table future plans for WCS and our work within the community. However, if anything urgent arises and requires a quicker response, we get in touch with members via our WhatsApp group.
4. We openly share our own knowledge and wisdom.
Another vital aspect of keeping echo chambers at bay, and keeping fresh air in, is talking to people outside of your company, industry or sector, and gaining their perspective. This even applies to us when we're going through consultation processes with our clients. We consult with over 100 Corporate Clients and Companies, and it's a pleasure to be able to share and gain knowledge and wisdom freely across our diverse partnership network. There is so much to learn and gain by sharing, rather than holding onto information tightly for ourselves.
5. We lean into and learn from our global collective.
We are immensely grateful for the myriad of different people that we are able to bring together through our ever-expanding Global Speaker Collective. Although speakers are primarily a resource for our events, videos and articles, we really value the personal connections and relationships with all of these people, who are often leading experts in their field.
When looking for an answer to a specific question, or we’re looking for a specific solution to a nuanced problem, there is a strong likelihood that we are able to look through our database of contacts and find someone who we are able to ask. If the person we contact in the first instance can’t help us, they almost always know someone who can.
6. We talk to our intersectional community.
How decisions are made inside organisations, and who is involved to make them, is a key factor to examine when determining how inclusive work environments really are. We Create Space is a Community Interest Company (CIC), which means all the profit we make goes back into the community we serve.
For this reason we regularly consult our intersectional community - through the services we provide, and the content we produce. We've found that the best way to gauge how we're doing is to simply ask our community for honest feedback. Either verbally when we see them at our Community Events, via a questionnaire following a session with our corporate clients, or for longer-term strategies and wider-reaching project we receive via anonymous surveys.
We then use this valuable Community Data and Insights to inform our plans for the coming months - this takes the form of our annual Community Action Plan.
7. We consume a variety of media and content.
Finally, one of the most valuable resources we have to bust echo chambers is to educate ourselves and consume a variety of media and information. As a team we are always sharing books, articles and videos that might inspire or inform our work. This is embedded from the employee onboarding process through to day-to-day communication on slack.
Although some of the most engaging perspectives we have learnt from are those from individuals online, social media has radically changed the mechanism by which we access information and form our opinions. Who we choose to follow may limit our exposure to diverse perspectives and favour the formation of groups of like-minded users framing and reinforcing a shared narrative, that is, echo chambers.
How are you going to challenge echo chambers in your organisation or team?
How can we help?
Through consultancy we design shared learning experiences, produce DEI insights and craft bespoke content that support individuals with strengthening their roles as change-agents within their communities and organisations. Find out more here.
While you're here...
Did you know we also organise FREE community events throughout the year! We offer a variety of ways to get involved - both online and in person. This is a great way to network and learn more about others' experiences, through in-depth discussion on an array of topics. You can find out what events we have coming up here. New ones are added all the time, so make sure you sign up to our newsletter so you can stay up to date!