The Key to an Inclusive Culture
As cited by Ryan Jenkins, author of The Millennial Manual: The Complete How-To Guide to Manage, Develop, and Engage Millennials at Work, organizations with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative and agile, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes. While 71% of organizations aspire to have an inclusive culture in the future, very few have done so. There are multiple reasons why organizations still don’t have an inclusive culture, but it really boils down to leadership.
According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the very first objective when aiming to create an inclusive culture needs to be getting full leadership support. Leaders will be spending the most time with employees and they can really make or break your diversity and inclusion efforts.
3 Ways Leaders Can Support an Inclusive Culture
1. Be Fully Committed: As a leader, you must be fully committed to the cause of diversity and inclusion to see any results. To do this, consider creating and honoring a zero-tolerance policy for disrespect and un-inclusive behavior. Also, remember to actively be engaging with all employees and team members, and deliberately include voices from different backgrounds and perspectives in team meetings.
2. Request Feedback: Leaders are responsible for the overall environment in their respective departments. So, to stay accountable in your inclusion efforts, request regular feedback from employees and managers through surveys or focus groups. This not only shows everyone that you as a leader are committed to making a change, but it also allows you to measure the level to which everyone feels included and if you have made any progress.
3. Celebrate Differences: The best way to help employees feel valued and included is to celebrate their differences. Consider making room for different religious celebrations and encourage all employees to share their cultural heritage with others. From there, you can create groups that help to support and connect employees through their shared backgrounds. It is also important to communicate with your employees frequently about how improved levels of diversity and inclusion have positively impacted creativity, engagement and business results.
These three strategies for building an inclusive culture are all centered around one main theme; leaders building trust. The end goal is to create an environment where everyone feels valued, comfortable, and proud of who they are and what they can offer the team. This is the kind of environment that drives engagement, productivity, and innovation!