Inclusive culture is becoming increasingly important to the health, productivity and profit of today’s organizations. An inclusive culture involves the full and successful integration of diverse people into a workplace or industry. A Deloitte survey found that today’s workforce looks for companies where inclusion is a fundamental aspect of their felt experience. This goal is often met by organizations that are intentional in establishing an inclusive culture. There are many ways an organization can obtain an inclusive culture. These could include, engaging diverse perspectives from all full-time and part-time staff; ensuring staff members feel valued; fostering a culture of transparency, respect and feedback; increasing cultural competence for all staff; or creating inclusive policies and environments within a workforce.
In addition to enhancing a strong work culture, there are also many financial benefits that come from inclusivity. A 2015 Deloitte study found that diverse and inclusive companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee over a three-year period. A Boston Consulting Group study published in 2018 reveals diverse management teams can increase revenue by 19%. In addition, a 2015 McKinsey & Company study found that gender-diverse companies are 15% more likely to beat industry median financial returns. Not lost in the inclusive culture conversation are opportunities for workers who self-identify as LGBTQ, people with physical and mental disabilities, veterans and women to be their authentic selves.
The question then becomes, what measures and activities can we employ to achieve an inclusive work environment?
Here are five ideas:
- Host facilitated conversations to obtain employee feedback on company practices and norms through an equity lens
- Provide diversity, equity and inclusion opportunities for staff and board members
- Conduct training sessions to review appropriate workplace conduct, investigate procedures and introduce new lines of communication
- Engage full and part-time staff in cultural celebrations and community activities
- Administer staff surveys to inform action plans for organizational leaders
Companies that integrate these inclusive policies empower their employees while increasing their growth potential. These initiatives enable us to steer Chattanooga toward a brighter future – one that’s built on an economy that benefits all.
Lorne B. Steedley, vice president, diversity and inclusive growth, Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, is an equity leader with a long-standing history of community building, philanthropy and civic participation. Steedley joined the Chattanooga Chamber leadership team in 2020.