Diverse and inclusive cultures

Diversity is a fact; inclusion is an act. Successful organisations know that by fostering a diverse and inclusive culture, they can get the very best from their people. It’s not just the right thing to do ethically, it’s also the right thing to do for organisational success, the bottom line, and attracting and retaining great talent.

Many organisations are working to increase representation from diverse groups in their organisation. That’s great – but if it’s just about recruitment and retention, then they’re missing a massive trick.

Diversity and inclusion should never be a tick-box exercise. Because by creating an inclusive culture – one in which everyone truly belongs, is involved, and can be their true self – individuals will do their best work, and organisations will be able to flourish.

Getting under the skin of your organisation’s culture to understand and explain which aspects support the inclusion and belonging of your people – and which aspects are getting in the way. These cultural characteristics are woven into the way the organisation works.

Diversity and inclusion initiatives – however well-meaning – will only scratch the surface if the underpinning culture is working against them.

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Employee Resource Groups (sponsored and supported by the organisation) can be a powerful way of bringing people together

Leaders set the tone for everyone else. Inclusive leadership is an essential part of an inclusive culture. An inclusive leadership appraisal considers the strengths and weaknesses in how your leaders harness the diverse talents of their teams, and how they create a culture of belonging for your people.

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Regularly recognise and share examples of inclusive leadership in action, and explain what makes them great

Identify and prioritise areas for improvement. Most importantly, bake these actions into your wider cultural change approach, rather than treating them as a D&I ‘bolt-on’. Invite a wide group of people to help design and implement the improvements, including (but not limited to) any Employee Resource Groups, and identify senior-level sponsors for the changes.

Implement a day-to-day inclusion toolkit, to help inclusive behaviours become second nature.

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Inclusion should be a day-to-day priority for everyone, so make actions quick, simple and easy to repeat