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Creating Cultures of Inclusion: What Works (and What Doesn’t) | 3 Findings from Linkage’s Latest White Paper

October 13, 2020 Kristen Howe

As organizations strive to rise to the challenge of an unprecedented health and economic crisis, they need all the talent, innovation and collaboration they can get.

Here’s an important fact to consider: Organizations in the top quartile for ethnic and cultural diversity are 35% more likely to post better financial performance.*

But, organizations that increase diversity without also increasing inclusion do not yield the benefits of this more diverse workforce over time. Linkage’s latest research finds that inclusion—specifically, creating cultures of inclusion that support all employees—is what unlocks the benefits of that diversity.

Our white paper “The Hard Truth about Inclusion in the Workplace: What Works (and What Doesn’t)” is jam-packed with findings and recommendations for inclusion in the workplace.

Check out these three findings included in the white paper, and then download your own copy to get access to the full report.

1. “Inclusive meeting” isn’t just a buzzword—it’s a vital tool in the inclusion toolkit.

You may have heard leaders paying lip service to the idea of “inclusive meetings” recently. But what does an inclusive meeting really look like? It’s a meeting where everyone is heard, administrative work rotates, remote employees are well included, and attendees give appropriate recognition for ideas.

As workplaces have shifted to remote work and virtual meetings to account for a massive disruption in the way we live our lives, the need for inclusive meetings has become even more vital. And, Linkage’s research points to the very real impact inclusive meetings have on company culture.

In fact, having more inclusive meetings increases our ability to collaborate, make good and fast decisions, be creative and innovative and increase engagement. Inclusive meetings also make organizations better places to work—71% of individuals who say their organization has high-quality, inclusive meetings would also recommend their company as a Great Place to Work.

2. Executives must walk the talk, because executives have a huge impact on inclusion.

When it comes to creating cultures of inclusion in the workplace, executive leaders have a tremendous impact—in fact, executive involvement and action is a business imperative.

Linkage’s research finds that organizations with executives who are perceived to be fair, equitable and welcoming in their leadership and who are committed to fostering inclusion achieve true cultures of inclusion and their benefits. Organizations without these types of executives struggle to meet their diversity and inclusion goals and many of their business goals, too.

Our researchers interviewed business leaders tasked with leadership development, talent support and employee engagement, and what they shared is extremely illuminating.

Here’s one example from a CHRO at a financial services company: “One of the biggest challenges to inclusion was that many in leadership roles refused to get on board. There was a lack of cooperation. Also challenging was that up until the current leadership team, no one had an example for what collaboration and inclusion looks like. There wasn’t a model to follow.”

Executives, we have the power to create transformative change—and our teams and organizations are looking to us to set the example. Let’s do this!

3. Leaders need to recognize their people—and in order to do that, they need to get to know them.

True inclusion is about creating and fostering an environment that supports and values the uniqueness of all members of the team. Leaders are called upon each day to identify the hard work of their team members and celebrate their accomplishments—especially when the road to success is particularly difficult. But leaders simply can’t do this if they don’t personally know their team members and understand their unique strengths. And when factors like unconscious bias come into play, leaders may choose to get to know only those team members who are like them. This is a common trap, but leaders who can understand and leverage the strengths of all team members better manage the team overall and do a better job of recognizing the accomplishments of underrepresented groups.

Download your own copy of “The Hard Truth about Inclusion in the Workplace: What Works (and What Doesn’t)” now, and then discover Linkage’s Creating Cultures of Inclusion solution to take the next step.

*McKinsey, Delivering through Diversity report, 2018

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