Building Inclusive Workplace Cultures

Updated: May 6

Organizational strategies around diversity and inclusion in the workplace are today’s norm. In some cases, such as Norways’ ARP Regulations, the implementation of successful D&I strategies is required by law. Embracing diversity and forming a welcoming, inclusive organizational culture is not just the right thing to do - it also makes business sense. According to Deloitte, an inclusive organization is two times more likely to exceed financial targets, three times more likely to be high-performing, six times more likely to be agile and innovative, and eight times more likely to achieve better business outcomes.

An organization's culture defines its success, growth, and employee engagement levels. In other words, it’s worth investing in. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what defines workplace culture, as well as provide three top tips for how to build an inclusive workplace culture in your organization. If you want to learn even more about inclusive leadership, join our panel discussion on best practices for becoming an inclusive leader.

What is workplace culture?

Company culture encompasses a variety of elements, including work environment, company mission, leadership style, values, ethics, expectations, and goals. Culture plays a huge role in forming truly inclusive environments.

Positive company culture should be committed to professional values that support all employees - of all backgrounds, genders, ethnicity, sexuality - and allows them to work with leaders of the organization, as opposed to feeling like they are simply working for them. A strong, positive culture will ensure all employees are aware of their importance to the organization. A weak, negative culture will do the opposite, and potentially cause increased company turnover, disengaged employees, and poor work ethic.

Building an inclusive workplace culture

Below are our top three tips on how to build an inclusive workplace culture in your organization:

1. Focus on inclusive recruitment practices

An inclusive hiring process actively recognizes diversity and embraces a wide range of qualities and perspectives that candidates bring to the organization. It’s not simply about recruiting people from underrepresented backgrounds or with disabilities in an effort to tick off a box. Instead, inclusive hiring practices aim to level the playing field for all applicants in order to fight against recruitment bias and any form of discrimination. One of the best ways to implement inclusive hiring into your organizational strategy is to create more inclusive job descriptions. We share 5 strategies to hire diverse candidates in this article and discuss diversity recruitment strategies in our latest webinar.

2. Support and celebrate differences

We all have different qualities and attributes that we bring to the table. An inclusive workplace culture not only creates space for recognition of those differences, but also supports and celebrates our individual uniqueness. One way to celebrate diversity is by encouraging your team to share their traditions and important holidays. You could create a shared calendar where everyone adds occasions that are important to them. If appropriate, you could even organize small celebrations - whether virtually or in the office. Inclusion isn’t just about being seen and heard - it’s about supporting your employees on an individual, personal level. True inclusion takes conscious effort from leadership.

3. Speak up! Share your diversity & inclusion organizational strategies with your team and your audience

Don’t keep your D&I strategies to yourself or only shared among leadership - make them well known inside and outside of your organization. Transparency might be more important than you think: More than four in five (86%) candidates globally say diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is important to them. Additional research found that 62% of people would go as far as turning down a job offer if it came from a culture that didn’t support a diverse and inclusive workforce.

If you want to learn more about creating a diverse and inclusive workplace, Skillhus offers a variety of training options, including Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging strategy and design. Reach out to us to get started and subscribe to our newsletter to stay up to date.