How a culture deck builds a diverse and inclusive company culture

The process of creating a culture deck may be dauting, but if executed correctly, is critical to fostering diversity and inclusion in an organisation.

Gone are the days when companies didn’t have to address issues of diversity and inclusion.

These are now non-negotiable areas, and companies must demonstrate three things to be classed as truly diverse and inclusive: firstly, that they have a holistic approach that covers all the bases – it’s not just about recruitment; secondly, that they are aware of the various issues facing under-represented or minority groups; and thirdly, that they are proactive about employing individuals from a diverse talent pool. Luckily, this is quickly becoming more than just a tokenistic box-checking exercise and the best companies demonstrate this in the culture decks they create.

>See also: Why empathy matters in business

Build a culture that lasts

On a fundamental level, culture decks communicate what the company expects from its employees and what the employees can expect from the company. Done well, a culture deck identifies and conveys your culture to those inside as well as outside your company. It will help attract like-minded candidates, reinforce the behaviours you expect from your team, and broadcast your unique culture to a global audience.

Culture is defined as “the way we do things around here” and a well-crafted culture deck must by its very nature be inclusive and represent everyone in the organisation. Input into the creation of a culture deck must come from leaders and employees across the organisation and the process of creating a culture deck, if well executed, will encourage discussion, educate employees about the culture, and drive engagement and awareness of what’s important to the company.

Why diversity matter

The Patreon culture deck is a fantastic example of best practice in this regard. Covering all the bases, the company sets the foundation by referring to the McKinsey Why Diversity Matters report that demonstrates that diverse and inclusive teams outperform teams that lack diversity and inclusivity and explains what is acceptable regarding internal messaging, “There is no such thing as a diverse ‘candidate’ or ‘person’. Please do not use that language. Teams can be diverse or lack diversity, not individuals.”

>See also: What is diversity without inclusion?

Be all inclusive

It’s clear from the Patreon culture deck that the team are comfortable talking about diversity and inclusion, have thought about it in detail, and have developed practices to create a truly inclusive workplace. From a Slack channel to facilitate conversation and information-sharing and a fairness census; to gender-neutral restrooms and diversity and inclusion training for all managers; to packages for mental health support, transgender support and inclusivity based on objectives and key results, the company “puts our money where our mouth is” when it comes to D&I.

A lot to play for

Apart from doing the right thing, there’s a lot to play for, and companies like Patreon understand this. The McKinsey Delivering Through Diversity report found that gender and ethnic diversity are clearly correlated with profitability. Companies with diverse teams are 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability than those in the bottom quartile and for ethnic and cultural diversity, the report found a 33 percent likelihood of outperformance on EBIT (Earnings Before Interest and Taxes) margin.


Bretton Putter is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture. He is the founder and CEO of CultureGene, a company culture consultancy, writes a popular blog on culture-driven companies, is a sought-after speaker, and a contributor to Forbes. His new book is Culture Decks Decoded: Transform Your Culture Into A Visible, Conscious And Tangible Asset.


Brett Putter

Bretton Putter is a leading expert on startup and high-growth company culture. He is the founder and CEO of CultureGene,...

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