In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, fostering a company culture that values inclusion is important to your bottom line. Embracing diversity and promoting equity within the workplace can boost employee satisfaction, increase innovation, and power overall business success. In this article, we’ll discuss essential actions for driving inclusion and how business leaders and owners can create a more inclusive environment at work. Feeling included means employees feel valued, welcomed, respected, and have an overall sense of belonging. 

While well-intentioned policies and strategies may provide an essential foundation, it takes tangible actions to drive lasting, meaningful change in an organization’s culture. By thoughtfully implementing inclusive practices and working with experienced coaching and consulting services, businesses can build stronger, more resilient teams and set the stage for sustainable growth.

Recent data underlines the power of DEIB programs. Diverse companies have been shown to have a 2.5 times higher cash flow per employee, according to data from a 2022 BuiltIn report. Diverse management can increase revenue by 19%, and gender-diverse companies report performing 15% higher financial returns than the industry median, found, based on the Builtin data.

Walking the walk

At LinkedIn, more than 900 global people leaders (approx. 25%) completed at least one of three Leading Others academies, where diversity, inclusion, and belonging are discussed as key leadership and management imperatives in 2023. Since launching its Inclusive Leadership for Managers initiative in 2020, 80% of LinkedIn’s people managers have attended foundational Leading with Inclusion training.

Training leaders is just one of many significant, practical steps to foster inclusion, and drive meaningful change. Later in this article, we’ll discuss how partnering with specialized, inclusive coaching and consulting services like Your Choice Coach can help businesses develop robust strategies for creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

Inclusion elevates the Workplace

Inclusive actions create positive experiences for team members, which ultimately drive employee engagement, retention, and overall organizational success. Bringing intentional, inclusive actions at all levels of the organization is key to reinforcing the culture.

For a great example of a mature DEI program, look to Vanguard. The financial services company of approximately 20,000 focuses on attraction, accountability, advancement, and retention. It partners with HBCUs and other organizations to attract a diverse talent pipeline, and fosters belonging through global crew groups (CRGs). About half of its workers belong to a CRG. Externally, Vanguard promotes diverse community events, supplier diversity, and inclusive client experiences. 

What Pillars are needed to build an Inclusive Workplace?

  1. Diversity and Equity: To foster a truly inclusive work environment, organizations must first address diversity and equity. This involves ensuring that a diverse range of individuals are represented within the company and that every employee is treated fairly and provided with opportunities for growth and advancement. Commitment to diversity and equity lays the groundwork for inclusive actions to thrive.
  2. Psychological Safety: Psychological safety is the shared belief that employees can openly express their thoughts, concerns, and ideas without fear of negative consequences. Creating a space where employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions allows for a more collaborative and innovative work environment, encouraging diverse perspectives to be heard and considered.
  3. Empathy and Understanding: To promote inclusion, team members and leaders must demonstrate empathy and understanding toward their colleagues. This means actively listening to others, acknowledging their feelings and perspectives, and addressing any barriers or challenges they may face.
  4. Accountability and Responsibility: Organizations must ensure that leaders and team members are held accountable for their actions and embrace responsibility for promoting inclusion throughout the company. 

Practical Steps to Foster Inclusion

  1. Assess and Address: Conduct a thorough assessment of your organization’s current diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Identify areas that require improvement and establish clear, measurable goals for creating a more inclusive environment. Collaborate with HR, managers, and employees to develop action plans to address the identified gaps and promote meaningful change.
  2. Train and Educate: Prioritize training and development initiatives that focus on advancing employees’ understanding of inclusion, diversity, and equity. Offer unconscious bias training, cross-cultural communication workshops, and other educational programs to raise awareness and help employees develop the skills needed to create an inclusive work environment. 
  3. Foster Dialogue and Collaboration: Encourage open communication and collaboration among team members by providing platforms for discussion, idea sharing, and problem-solving. Regular town halls, diversity and inclusion forums, and team-building activities can help create a sense of belonging and encourage employees to appreciate and embrace the unique qualities of their colleagues.
  4. Review and Revise Policies: Review your organization’s policies, procedures, and performance metrics to align with your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. Identify and remove potential barriers for historically underrepresented groups and make certain that all employees have equal opportunities for growth and success.

Vanguard measures and reports out its diversity and inclusion efforts in order to continuously improve.

How Leaders Can Drive Inclusive Actions

Leaders play a critical part in shaping their organization’s culture and fostering an inclusive work environment. They need to model and reinforce inclusive behaviors consistently and hold themselves and their team members accountable for their actions. By demonstrating commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, leaders can inspire their teams to follow their lead and drive positive, lasting change.

  1. Embrace a Growth Mindset: To drive inclusive actions, leaders should adopt a growth mindset and be open to change, new ideas, and continuous improvement. By showing an eagerness to learn and evolve, leaders can empower their teams to embrace a similar attitude.
  2. Champion Allyship and Advocacy: Leaders should act as allies and advocates for underrepresented employees, promoting equity and ensuring that everyone’s voices are heard. Supporting fellow team members helps inspire trust, stronger connections, and collaboration within the team.
  3. Model Empathy and Active Listening: A leader who exhibits genuine empathy and active listening creates a safe environment for their team members to share their thoughts, ideas, and concerns. This may seem obvious, but leaders should demonstrate that they care about their teams. By being genuinely invested in the well-being and growth of their employees, they are more likely to not only care about the organization but also show even more care to customers and other external stakeholders.

Coaching & Consulting services Expand your Impact

Partnering with expert inclusive coaching & consulting services like Your Choice Coach can be a game-changer for organizations looking to build positive change. Coaches provide valuable insights, resources, and guidance on creating effective strategies for fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion. They also offer leadership training and development programs that help leaders understand the complexities of managing diverse teams, strengthen their inclusive leadership skills, and build a solid foundation for lasting change.

Unlock Inclusive Growth Through Meaningful Actions

The future success of businesses hinges upon your ability to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace through meaningful actions that build trust, encourage collaboration, and empower every employee. By enlisting the support of experienced professionals like Your Choice Coach, businesses can unlock their full potential and pave the way for a more sustainable and successful future.

Are you ready to take action and transform your workplace into an inclusive environment where every team member can thrive? Your Choice Coach offers a comprehensive suite of professional inclusive coaching & consulting services designed to help business leaders and their teams create and implement actionable strategies that drive real change in their workplace culture. We’re here to help. Let’s talk.