An Inclusion-First Culture: 3 Tips to Foster Belonging

By Lisa Rodriguez, SVP Change Management

A workplace where diversity is valued is the tip of the iceberg when creating an environment that fosters inclusivity. The two terms often are used interchangeably, but where diversity ends, inclusion picks up.

Diversity in the workplace is when different backgrounds, lifestyles, beliefs, and values are represented–and that’s a great start. However, imagine if those people do not feel like they belong or are included in their workplace? That is where inclusivity comes into play.

If your culture is not already one that fosters inclusion, or perhaps it is not at the level you want it to be, don’t panic. Most organizations are tackling this, as well, so you are in good company.

How to help your organization become a more inclusive environment

Fostering an inclusion-first culture isn’t something that happens overnight, but here are three simple ways to help your organization become a more inclusive environment.

  1. Seek moments to celebrate differences and what they offer to the team and company. Allow workers opportunities to celebrate their different religious holidays by offering floating holidays or implementing gender-neutral bathrooms to ensure everyone feels represented and comfortable. Small changes can reap big rewards when it comes to belonging. By creating safe spaces, meaningful conversations can also come to the forefront. These conversations can further feed you with the information needed to make the work environment more inclusive.
  2. Offer training and upskilling opportunities your teams need. It’s not always clear to employees how they can help create an inclusive workplace. If that workforce is temporary or works primarily with a temporary workforce or where employees are now remote, it can sometimes be even more difficult. Offering training allows employees to explore their own potential unconscious bias and fosters inclusion even with a remote or temporary workforce.
  3. Redefine your values and hold leadership accountable. If your values do not include creating an inclusive environment, that’s a great place to start. By adding and clearly defining how you envision your organization to show up when it comes to inclusion, you set the tone for how every other department and leader should too. But it’s more than merely using buzzwords. This is where the rubber hits the road—leadership and managers should offer feedback and be held accountable for creating and maintaining an inclusive environment.

Small changes can make a significant impact when it comes to refreshing how your business looks at diversity and inclusion. Remember, sweeping changes don’t happen overnight. A shift in mindset and an inclusion-first intention is an excellent place to start to ensure your organization is one where its workforce feels like they belong.

Lisa Rodriguez, SVP Change Management

Lisa Rodriguez, SVP Change Management

Lisa Rodriguez is part of NSC’s Executive Leadership Team, and as the organization’s SVP of Change Management and Communications, she is responsible for leading projects including technology implementations, process changes, organizational and cultural changes. She leads associates effectively and quickly through change to achieve strategic goals and deliver business results.

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