How to build an inclusive company culture? 

Published on March 3rd, 2023

How to build an inclusive company culture?  blog image

A company’s workplace culture includes the values, beliefs, and behaviors that contribute to an organization’s social and psychological environment. It’s what makes a company unique and is reflected in its mission, vision, and operating principles.  

An inclusive workplace culture embraces diversity and promotes equal opportunities for all employees. It’s built on respect, trust, and mutual understanding. This type of culture fosters a feeling of belonging and inclusion. It’s also associated with increased creativity, productivity, and engagement. 

Creating an inclusive workplace culture isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time, effort, and commitment from everyone in the organization—from senior management to entry-level employees.  

What is inclusive company culture?

An inclusive company culture is one where the values of respect and acceptance of every individual are embedded in the behaviors of every employee. Inclusive companies have diverse, respectful cultures where all employees are accepted and appreciated for whom they represent. In an environment of equity and fairness with psychological safety as our number one priority, differences are celebrated, welcomed, and valued. Equity and fair treatment, transparency, and psychological safety are measured and role modeled by leaders at all levels. 

In general, however, an inclusive company culture values and respects all employees, regardless of their background, identity or differences. This includes but is not limited to: 

  • Race 
  • Ethnicity 
  • Gender 
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Disability 
  • Age 

Inclusive company culture recognizes the unique contributions that each individual can bring to the workplace. Inclusion is about more than just tolerating diversity; it’s about actively valuing it. By creating an inclusive culture, companies can tap into a broader pool of talent and creativity, resulting in a more dynamic and innovative workplace.  

Additionally, studies have shown that diverse and inclusive teams are more likely to outperform their less-diverse counterparts. When everyone feels welcome and valued at work, they are more likely to be engaged and productive employees.  

However, inclusion in the workplace isn’t just about making sure everyone has access to the same resources and opportunities. It’s also about ensuring that everyone feels valued, respected, and heard. For some employees, this might mean providing accommodations or special assistance. For others, it might mean creating a more flexible work schedule. But ultimately, inclusion is about recognizing that each employee has unique needs and preferences, and finding ways to meet those needs.  

This can be challenging, but it’s also essential for creating a productive, positive work environment. When employees feel included, they’re more likely to be engaged and motivated. And when they feel like their voices are being heard, they’re more likely to offer new ideas and perspectives that can help improve your business. So while inclusion can be challenging, it’s ultimately good for business. By making inclusion a priority, you can create a more productive, innovative, and successful workplace. 

Creating an inclusive workplace culture

A workplace culture that is inclusive of all employees is essential to fostering a productive and positive environment. When everyone knows they can be their authentic selves, they are more likely to be engaged and invested in their work.  

We’ve got five areas you can look at: 

  • Make sure that your recruitment practices are fair and unbiased
  • Create employee resource groups for underrepresented groups
  • Effective communication 
  • Promote diversity and inclusion 
  • Lead by example 

Tips for building an inclusive company culture

1. Recruitment practices should be fair and unbiased

It is more important than ever to make sure that our recruitment practices are fair and unbiased. By building an inclusive company culture from the ground up, we can ensure that everyone feels valued and respected. This starts with ensuring that our recruitment practices are free from any form of discrimination. You need to consider everyone’s skills and qualifications equally, without making any assumptions based on factors like gender, ethnicity, or social background.  

2. How to do that?

One way to make sure your recruitment practices are fair and unbiased is by using anonymous applications. Removing any personal information that could be used to identify the applicant eliminates any potential unconscious biases. You should also consider building diverse interview panels to ensure a range of perspectives in the hiring process. This helps you avoid making decisions based on single points of view, and instead focus on the candidate’s qualifications.  

Finally, it is important to make sure that job adverts are worded in a way that does not exclude potential candidates. You should avoid using language or terminology that implies certain characteristics or attributes, as this could lead to prejudiced decisions. By following these steps, you can ensure that your recruitment practices are free from any form of discrimination. 

In addition, you need to provide equal opportunities for everyone to progress within the company. By creating a level playing field, you can build an inclusive company culture that everyone can be proud to be part of. 

3. Create employee resource groups for underrepresented groups 

Create employee resource groups (ERGs) for underrepresented groups. ERGs provide a forum for employees to come together and support one another while raising awareness of the issues that matter to them. In addition to promoting a sense of belonging and inclusion, ERGs can also help to attract and retain top talent. By creating an environment where all employees feel welcome and valued, companies can build a strong foundation for success. 

4. Communication is key

Open communication is essential for creating an inclusive workplace culture. Management should be approachable and accessible to employees at all levels. There should be channels for employee feedback so that concerns can be addressed promptly. Senior managers should also be visible and involved in promoting diversity and inclusion initiatives throughout the organization. 

Organizations should strive for transparency and accountability when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This includes publishing diversity data, admitting when mistakes are made (particularly in a diversity issue), reviewing gendered language in style guides, and being consistent about acceptable language use across the organization. It also involves providing feedback channels for staff to raise their concerns and suggestions around diversity and inclusion initiatives. For senior managers, this means being visible, involved, and actively promoting such initiatives throughout the organization. Open communication is key to fostering a truly inclusive workplace culture that values diversity in all its forms. 

5. Promote diversity and inclusion at all levels 

front line. Everyone needs to be aware of their own biases and take steps to avoid them when interacting with others. Managers should receive training on how to spot unconscious bias in the workplace so they can address it when it arises. 

Promoting diversity and inclusion starts with understanding the importance of a diverse workforce and how to create an inclusive environment. Here are some practical steps you can take to create a more diverse and inclusive work environment:  

  1. Create a culture of openness and respect: Ensure that everyone in your organization is treated with respect and is encouraged to openly communicate their thoughts, feelings, and ideas.  
  2. Foster a sense of belonging: Develop a sense of inclusion by providing opportunities for members of different groups to network and connect in the workplace. This could include hosting events that encourage team building or getting feedback from employees on ways they feel included and appreciated. 
  3. Prioritize hiring diversity: Make sure to actively seek out a diverse pool of applicants when filling positions within your organization and evaluate job candidates on the basis of their skills, not their background or gender.  
  4. Implement unconscious bias training: Educate employees on how to recognize and avoid unconscious biases in the workplace. Encourage employees to challenge their own assumptions and views in order to create an environment where everyone’s voice is heard and respected. 
  5. Embrace diversity of thought: Encourage employees to explore different ideas and approaches when tackling challenges at work. This will help ensure that all perspectives are considered when making decisions within the organization. 

6. Lead by example

Senior managers play a critical role in setting the tone for the entire organization. They must lead by example by making inclusion a priority in their departments. This includes modeling respectful behavior, mentoring diverse employees, and championing inclusion initiatives throughout the company. Doing so will create a ripple effect that will help build an inclusive workplace culture company-wide. 

Inclusive workplace culture is built on respect, trust, and mutual understanding—and it takes time, and effort to create an inclusive workplace culture commitment from everyone in the organization from senior management down to entry-level employees. Open communication is key as well as promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels and across all departments of the company. Finally, senior management must lead by example if they want to see a real change take place. When these steps are taken, you will begin to build an amazing, more productive workforce.

We’ve got over three decades of experience supporting over 1 million people worldwide. We’re passionate about delivering change; how can we help you?