By: Keenan Hogg on January 13th, 2023

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Creating a Culture of Inclusion: DEI&B Strategies For Your Team

Organizational culture

Social belonging is a fundamental human need, hard-wired into our DNA. And yet, 40% of people feel so isolated at work that it impacts their commitment and engagement.

Diversity training can address some of the organizational issues that cause exclusion—but that's not a shortcut to a healthy culture of inclusion. To make people feel truly included, you'll need to take a more active approach. 

What does a culture of inclusion mean?

A culture of inclusion is an organizational culture that makes every employee feel welcome and valued. In an inclusive culture, team members enjoy good relationships with colleagues and leaders, and opportunities are equally distributed. 

Cultures of inclusion are often the result of a strong Diversity Equity Inclusion and Belonging strategy. DEIB training helps tackle the issues that make people feel excluded, including discrimination based on protected characteristics. 

A healthy DEIB program will: 

  • Actively promote diversity
  • Address and eliminate discrimination
  • Introduce an increased awareness of both implicit and explicit bias

A culture of inclusivity and belonging can be your True North—the ultimate destination in your DEIB journey.

Download the DEI Checklist

Why is a culture of inclusion important?

When employees feel isolated or unsupported, they display lower levels of job satisfaction and productivity. Such employees do not feel a strong attachment to the organization, which makes retention more challenging and ultimately leads to increased turnover. This can be costly for the organization in terms of recruitment and training costs for new employees. 

There are also numerous advantages to fostering DEIB in the workplace, both for employees and the organization. Some of the key benefits include:

1. Improved employee engagement and satisfaction

When employees feel valued and included in the workplace, they are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their work. This can lead to higher levels of job satisfaction and overall well-being, leading to higher levels of productivity and performance. 

2. Enhanced creativity and innovation

An inclusive workplace can foster creativity and innovation, as employees with different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences bring new ideas to the table. This can lead to new and innovative products, services, and processes, which can be a major competitive advantage for the organization. 

3. Greater market appeal and customer satisfaction

A diverse workforce can better serve the needs of a diverse customer base. This leads to more effective marketing and sales efforts, as well as improved customer satisfaction and loyalty. Customers are more likely to trust and feel represented by a company that values diversity and inclusivity. 

4. Improved recruitment and retention

An inclusive organization is more likely to attract and retain top talent from diverse backgrounds. This can help the organization build a robust team that is better able to adapt and respond to changing market needs. A diverse workforce can also lead to a more positive and supportive work culture, which helps retain talented employees.

5. Stronger financial performance

Studies have shown that organizations with diverse and inclusive cultures outperform less inclusive rivals. Diverse and inclusive organizations are better able to attract top talent, leading to a more skilled and capable workforce. They are also more likely to have a positive reputation, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and trust. All of these factors are ultimately reflected in the balance sheet. 

In addition to the benefits listed above, there are also other advantages of a DEIB-driven culture of inclusion. For example, a diverse and inclusive workplace may also be more attractive to potential clients and partners, as it shows that the organization values and respects diversity.

Furthermore, DEIB can lead to a more collaborative and harmonious work environment, as employees from different backgrounds and perspectives can learn from each other and work together more effectively. 

Related reading: Diversity Equity and Inclusion: The HR Leader's Guide to DE&I

How do you create a culture of inclusion at work? 

To effectively promote DEIB in the workplace, organizations should take a holistic approach that includes a range of initiatives and efforts, such as: 

Developing DEIB policies and practices 

This could involve creating a code of conduct that outlines expectations for inclusive behavior and establishing a process for addressing and preventing discrimination and harassment. It could also involve developing employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups to provide support and resources for employees from underrepresented groups, as well as offering training and education on topics such as unconscious bias and diversity and inclusion.

Building a diverse leadership team

Having a leadership team that reflects the organization's diversity can help create a more inclusive culture and ensure that diverse perspectives are represented in decision-making. Having a DEIB champion can also help—someone within the organization responsible for driving DEIB initiatives and ensuring that they are implemented according to your strategy

Prioritizing a culture of inclusivity

This involves fostering an environment where all employees feel welcome and valued, regardless of their background or identity. It could involve creating inclusive spaces or events, such as a welcoming reception for new hires or a diversity and inclusion workshop. It could also involve making small changes to the workplace, such as providing inclusive language options on forms and documents or offering accommodations for employees with disabilities.

Measuring and tracking progress

DEIB metrics will help you monitor progress over time. Such metrics can include:

By regularly tracking and measuring progress, organizations can identify areas for improvement and make necessary adjustments to their DEIB efforts.

Need help with your culture of inclusion?

Promoting DEIB in the workplace requires a commitment from the organization to create a culture of inclusion and belonging. It involves taking a holistic approach that includes a range of initiatives and efforts to support diversity and eliminate discrimination and bias. By prioritizing DEIB, organizations can create a more positive and productive work environment and drive business success.

Need some help with your DEIB strategy? Book a call with Helios HR today, and let's talk about how you can build a culture that makes your team feel valued.

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