How to Launch a Workplace Inclusion Program & Keep It Going

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion occurs when employees bring their authentic selves to the workplace and are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organizationʼs success. Employees feel a sense of belonging and value.

There is no Diversity without Inclusion

Creating an inclusive workplace culture is very different from simply creating a diverse company culture.

Diversity is the mix of people with different characteristics within an organization. The characteristics include physical, psychological, and social differences. Some common indicators of Diversity are race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age (generation), socio-economic background, religion, and education.

Inclusion is giving all people within the organization equal development opportunities. It is understanding a worker’s unique competencies and using it to achieve success in collaboration with their coworkers.

“Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.”

– Andres Tapia, Korn Ferry, Senior Client Partner, Global Diversity & Inclusion Strategist

Honest Reflection

To build a Workplace Inclusion Program, you first need to take an HONEST look at the diversity and dynamics of the people within the workplace. And assess how their different characteristics impact others. Reflect on how you can create channels of communication that engage people in difficult conversations, thereby opening the door for others to learn from the perspectives of people who are different than them.

The goal is to acknowledge the different physical, psychological, and social differences of the people within your organization; understand the dynamics at play and how it affects your organization; and to take the individual competencies to accelerate your organization’s success.

While Diversity in the workforce can be the responsibility of hiring managers, leadership and even corporate culture, Inclusion should fall to everyone in the company. Managers and Leadership might create the policies and practices; everyone has a role to play in voicing concerns, improving areas of challenge. However, everyone also has to be enabled to play this role and, a company, whatever size, committing to a journey of Inclusion, opens the door for this.

Measuring Inclusion

Let’s go back to the basics. To measure growth, you know you have to document your baseline analytics, e.g. where your organization is at today. Then you implement your strategy. At regular time intervals, you need to measure the impact of your strategies and communicate that impact to the organization’s stakeholders.

So, how do you measure the impact of your inclusion program?

Creating a workplace culture where all people feel respected, valued, and have equal development opportunities within an organization is a challenge to measure. Organizational leaders must find out from employees their sentiment on inclusion within the workplace, and continue to follow up with them as the Inclusion strategy is implemented.

This requires leaders to be active listeners, vigilant on setting examples for their employees, able to identify potential pitfalls within the Inclusion strategy, and able to process and implement changes. Leaders must communicate with employees the impact of their opinions and actions upon the organization’s success.

Surveys, focus groups and one-to-one conversations are all good ways to create that baseline, with surveys being most effective.

The Inclusion journey is not a singular event. It requires continual reinforcement and monitoring.

Creating Your Inclusion Strategy

WECAN has created the “Inclusion Quick Start Playbook” that goes more in depth on how you can create Inclusion in your organization.

It delves into workplace bias, strategies to create your Inclusion baseline, strategies to improve Inclusion, creating an Action Plan, and how these strategies can lead to improved  productivity and engagement within your organization.

When we take the time to listen and embrace what is both common and different, we create an inclusive culture and stronger company.

Start your journey by downloading the Playbook below.

Download Inclusion Quick Start Playbook
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