Updated: Jun 23
Why fostering an inclusive workplace culture makes business sense
Every year, June becomes the month when a lot of organisations change their logo to be rainbow-coloured, fly the flag literally for LGBTQ+ employees and talk about the importance of inclusivity all over their social media. You get the sense that for some this is authentically who they are as a business, but for others, it seems more like 'rainbow washing’, or being seen to do the right thing.
The corporate landscape continues to evolve at a fast pace, and fostering a genuinely inclusive culture within the workplace is crucial. It needs to be high up on the agenda every month of the year, not just June for Pride Month or October for Black History Month, for example.
An inclusive culture values, respects and includes diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences in the conversation - allowing organisations to tap into the potential of their collective workforce.
Inclusion should be more than just a buzzword or set of targets to hit. Here we’re share some of the reasons why we think this can help your business (and then some tips on how actually to do it):
It will enhance employee engagement and retention.
Inclusive cultures promote a sense of belonging and psychological safety, enabling employees to bring their authentic selves to work. When individuals feel accepted and valued, they are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and committed to their work. A collaborative atmosphere encouraging open communication and teamwork can increase job satisfaction and employee retention.
It will help enable new ideas and creativity.
Inclusive cultures breed innovation by fostering a fertile ground for new ideas and perspectives. When employees feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, challenging the status quo, and expressing dissent, it stimulates a culture of innovation and creativity. Having different people around the table to bring together various experiences, skills, and knowledge will enable the cross-pollination of ideas that can lead to business breakthroughs.
It will transform problem-solving and decision-making.
An inclusive culture promotes a more robust decision-making process by minimizing unconscious biases and groupthink. When individuals from diverse backgrounds collaborate, they bring unique insights and perspectives to problem-solving discussions. This diversity of thought challenges the status quo, mitigates any missed opportunities and facilitates a critical analysis of complex issues.
So what steps can you take to improve inclusivity in your organisation?
Understand and identify what good looks like for you and accept that it might be different from other businesses. You need to know what success looks like for your organisation to be able to measure how well you're doing. Get the right people around the table, to begin with, and go from there.
Be honest and upfront with your employees and team if you need to do the work as an organisation. Accept that this isn't going to be 'one and done,' piece of work, but a constantly evolving thing that will grow and develop as the people around you do.
Develop and invest in your people managers. They are the ones that have a direct relationship with your employees, yet they can often get forgotten about. They need to be the ones equipped with the skills to promote real change.
Get senior leaders involved that really care. It can be obvious when a leader is asked to get involved with an initiative, they aren't fully supportive of. The people you pick must be behind it 100%, or it will fall flat on its face.
Ask for help if you need it. You don't know what you don't know, and often in business, it can feel hard to ask for help and that you should know it all already. But there are lots of organisations out there that can help.
Organisations embracing and celebrating diversity and working to improve inclusion are more likely to attract and retain top talent, build strong customer relationships, and outperform their competitors. By cultivating an inclusive culture, businesses have the power to pave the way for a brighter, more equitable future while reaping the rewards of a more vibrant and successful workplace.
Fostering an inclusive and diverse culture must be more than lip service, though, especially for Gen Z, that are coming through the ranks into the corporate space (yes, we can't quite believe it either)
According to a Deloitte report, Generation Z will soon surpass Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with more than one-third of the world's population counting themselves as Gen Zers.
They go on to say that "Diversity is the watchword for Gen Z: Diversity matters to them through many dimensions, not just isolated to race and gender but also related to identity and orientation."
We know that if anything is to change, it must be simple, meaningful, and embedded in everyday life. At The Hustle House we aim to inspire and enable organisations to bring about sustained, positive change through their people in this way. Find out more about our services here.