Following all the changes in the workplace after two years of the pandemic, global companies are trying to find new ways to enhance diversity in their organisations. But what does it mean to build an inclusive culture? Why does it matter? How do you even begin to develop a DE&I strategy, despite all the good intentions?
Emily Miner, Ty Francis and Susan Divers, three diversity and inclusion experts from LRN Corporation, an organisation that has developed a new DE&I programme to ensure companies have an effective inclusive workforce, share their views on how companies can diversify their workplace.
Emily Miner, Director of LRN Corporation, reflects what it means to build an inclusive culture
“Culture is more than ping pong tables and flexible working hours. Culture is shaped by a multitude of factors, including creating a sense of belonging and respect for all employees. For example, through intentional DE&I initiatives and the ease with which employees feel empowered to express themselves and contribute. How does your company manifest its purpose and values in a multi-stakeholder context? And how do your leaders model and reinforce these ideas?
“According to a recent Tallo survey, 87% of Generation Z employees say that DE&I strategies are very important to them. But how do these strategies actually translate to your organisation? While there are many ways to collect data, the best way is to simply ask your employees. How can your organisation promote cultural diversity and dialogue? Listen and learn from your team.
“Ask everyone, from senior to middle management to individual employees, about their perceptions of your company’s culture. This helps identify gaps that need immediate attention in terms of access to people, tools, resources and training. Collecting and analysing the data illustrates objective perspectives and can help you know where and how to intervene.”
Susan Divers, JD, director of Thought Leadership for LRN, says the first point in building an inclusive culture is to define your organisation’s values
“Looking to promote greater cultural diversity in your organisation? Start with your values. The most crucial factor we have identified in our work is that a values-based approach supports ethical culture.
“Values transform culture and influence behaviour; rules only set the minimum standards. Instilling respect for others in your staff is far more powerful than five-pound rules.
“Building an ethical culture provides a framework for considering the development and promotion of further dialogue on respect and diversity. Monitoring cultural progress over time is particularly important for strengthening ESG, DE&I, organisational justice, trust and the other pillars of ethical culture. But, above all, look at your values and start there.”
Ty Francis MBE, Chief Advisory Officer, LRN Corporation, explains how a diverse team is a benefit for businesses
“Organisations that create an inclusive and diverse culture have a growing competitive advantage when it comes to attracting and retaining top talent, according to McKinsey.
“This is consistent with LRN’s findings that organisations with the most ethical cultures outperform their peers by up to 40% on key metrics such as employee retention, customer satisfaction, innovation and growth. They retain and engage the best talent because they put their values first.”