Companies know that compensation and benefits are still important factors in why an employee takes on a role in a company, but the working environment and company culture are key factors in why they stay. To keep employees happy and productive and stay with the team, companies need to work on creating not just a physically safe working environment, but one with a culture that is inclusive.
Benefits of an Inclusive Company Culture
Better Collaboration and Coordination
When you encourage inclusivity, you breed better collaboration organization-wide, leading to better decision-making and idea generation.
Exposure to diverse thoughts and opinions allows for a more inquisitive culture and the expansion of knowledge among your teams.
Low Employee Turnover
A positive work environment—meaning high employee satisfaction and employee engagement—can translate into employees who want to continue working in that environment.
Inclusive company culture is also a transparent and sincere one. This develops employee trust over time.
Access to Better Talent
A truly inclusive culture can be seen even from the outside. Your positive culture and inclusiveness will make you an appealing employer to great talent and, more importantly, to those who share your values.
These days, jobseekers do their research through career websites to do their own background check on potential employers. They may go on career sites that show feedback from current and former employees for potential red flags. Make sure not to be a company that raises those red flags by becoming an employer that truly cares for their employees’ welfare.
Buy-in from leadership, starting from the C-suite or owners down to line managers and the rest of the company.
Employees who embrace this type of mindset will most likely apply this in their personal lives and potentially create positive ripples in their communities.
How to Contribute to an Inclusive Company Culture
Put a spotlight on your company values even before the employee starts working with you. Always include your company values on your website and when discussing your company profile during applicant interviews. Include questions that will help measure if the potential employee does share the same values as your company. Selecting employees with the desired soft skills and core values is as important, if not more important, than technical skills, as the latter can be taught faster through classes and training.
During onboarding, make sure that your company has zero tolerance for discrimination and exclusion. When doing introductions, provide actual examples of your inclusive company culture. Include one-on-one as well as team welcome as part of onboarding as well. Let new hires be familiar with the people they’ll be working with, their work expectations, and what’s expected of them as part of inclusive company culture. Getting new hires to believe in the company’s values and learning more about concrete inclusivity programs are essential in building a healthy company culture.
Start from the top
Leadership is responsible for setting the tone in any company. When they fully embrace this inclusivity as a culture and not just as an embellishment on company profiles, employees will see the sincerity and follow suit. It’s also important that leaders also listen to their employees’ concerns and suggestions, as some of the best product development ideas or business transformation strategies don’t always come from monthly board meetings with big marketing data, but can also potentially come from insights gathered by employees interacting with actual consumers on-ground.
Newly hired or promoted managers must also be trained to become agents of this positive and inclusive culture. It’s important to not break the chain, as a company culture should continuously be improved.
Encourage open communication
Almost every company has a regular appraisal program where employees are evaluated by their immediate superiors based on set key performance indicators (KPIs) or goals. However, those discussions are almost exclusively one-way, with the manager giving feedback on their one-downs. To create an inclusive company culture, it’s important to encourage two-way feedback. When done right, meaning constructively and with good intentions, open communication can help improve internal processes as well as potentially create ideas to provide better solutions to the target consumers.
Recognize good work
Create a platform or program, whether physical or digital, to allow employees to recognize their co-workers for help on a certain project or going the extra mile. Positive reinforcement can help encourage even more productive collaboration among team members and even cross-functional groups. Additionally, it boosts confidence in each other’s skills and talents.
Make time for team-building activities
Meaningful work done with a team that appreciates you as a worker and a human being sounds appealing, doesn’t it? To help achieve this, allow your company to form good working relationships through team-building activities. Initiate corporate events that can be arranged by a consulting company in partnership with your own employee engagement team.
Encourage teams to schedule regular huddles that not only cover project updates but celebrate milestones and set aside other non-work topics (for example, a simple ice breaker question at the start of the meeting). Additionally, members of your organization who don’t normally interact with each other can form internal clubs to share ideas and insights on things that they are passionate about outside of work. Try forming interest groups based on different areas of interest, such as films, sports, arts and crafts, and so on. Activities like these not only help create a positive working environment, but also help to further create an inclusive company culture where everyone with a variety of backgrounds and interests is not just welcome, but appreciated.
Businesses are increasingly dependent on technology, especially for certain processes. But the truth is, the company’s biggest asset is still its people. Business goals can only be met if the company’s employees feel that they are in an inclusive workplace where their performance is appreciated and their opinions are valued.