To successfully attract and foster diverse talent, companies must first create a culture of care. This is accomplished through policies that promote equality, training that gets everyone on board, and an organizational structure that truly supports all employees.

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Activist Vernã Myers speaks to an oft-overlooked truth: Diversity and inclusion are not synonymous. Diversity is easy to measure; one only needs to delve into the workplace demographics. Inclusion, on the other hand, is more nuanced. Without a truly inclusive culture, companies are less likely to hire, foster, and retain diverse talent. This isn’t just an opinion, it’s a fact. A study by the Center for Talent Innovation found that employees working under inclusive managers are 1.3 times more likely to feel empowered to meet their innovative potential. In a PwC survey of CEOs, meanwhile, 85% of leaders whose companies had formal strategies for diversity and inclusiveness reported that these efforts had improved their bottom line.

Building diverse teams is the first step. Connecting employees, so that every individual feels empowered to bring their whole selves to work, is the crucial step that will determine a company’s success in terms of inclusivity initiatives. By promoting policies that foster diverse hires, building an organizational structure that can support everyone, and providing training to get everyone on board, companies can turn inclusivity into an integral part of their DNA.

Aspects of culture

  • Policy: Policies grounded in equality and inclusion set expectations for workplace culture. After establishing these shared norms — which can include parental leave, flex time, return-to-work, and employee-based groups — organizations should create a transparent accountability system to ensure the policies are upheld and valued.
  • Organizational Structure: An inclusive organizational structure drives business growth and employee retention. By investing in policies that promote equal advancement opportunities and mutual respect, organizations solidify a diverse and market-representative mindset and inspire employees to bring their best selves to work.
  • Training: Dismantling conscious and unconscious bias in the workplace requires intention. Anti-bias trainings create a shared understanding of how bias impacts organizational culture — and how employees can work together to combat it. Work with a team of anti-bias experts to educate employees on how to fight bias and promote inclusion, both internally and externally.

At a glance

In a recent survey, 39% of respondents said they that would leave their current employer for a more inclusive one. Over 23% of respondents already had.

SOURCE: Blue Wolf Capital: Inclusion Value Gallery Walk (2018).

According to a recent study, 80% of professionals say that inclusion is important when seeking an employer.

SOURCE: Blue Wolf Capital: Inclusion Value Gallery Walk (2018).

Organizations with inclusive cultures are 6 times more likely to be innovative, anticipate change, and effectively respond to change.

SOURCE: Bourke, J. Which Two Heads Are Better Than One?: How diverse teams create breakthrough ideas and make smarter decisions (2016).

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