6 Tips to Build a More Inclusive (and Productive) Workplace Culture

Posted by Guthrie-Jensen Consultants

In business, there is great value in managing the bottom line. It can say a lot about your company, such as how good you are at creating a product or service that gives value to your audience.

Often, businesses focus on numbers and ROI. There is nothing wrong with this mindset because this is the way businesses earn: minding and tending to the consistent—ideally rapid—climb. However, solely fixating on this throughout your business’s operations may do more damage than good. It also becomes considerably easier to lose track of your company’s goals. Before you know it, most of your employees are burned out and uninspired, as they are pushed to do more and make more without minding the bigger picture—the why—that will drive your business in the right direction.

The question stands:

How do you manage the bottom line consistently to keep your company moving forward?

The answer: By building an empathetic workplace culture that promotes inclusivity and productivity.

We’ve gone through the concept of leading with empathy, where we examine how emotional intelligence encourages others to perform much better than what is expected of them. Now, we take a deep dive into how and why building a culture that offers employees a welcoming space for varying backgrounds and unique qualities creates a positive impact on your company.

Working on Inclusion

Inclusion is more than just embracing differences. It’s taking everyone’s unique perspectives and skills into consideration and combining the myriad of ideas and capabilities into a strategy that will work to your employees’ and company’s advantage. Diversity is a goldmine of potential that every business should essentially be tapping into.

A study conducted by the Boston Consulting Group found that companies with diverse leadership have a 19% higher revenue. Another survey done by Harvard Business Review found that the trend of poor corporate performance often stemmed from employees’ negative feelings from CEOs who are more focused on profit. What resonated better to building a positive corporate performance is a CEO taking a holistic approach—prioritizing customers, employees, and the community, where there is active participation in setting goals and making them happen.

With an empathetic workplace culture, you are able to manage the bottom line well, thus highlighting your company’s potential for growth. Not only does it demonstrate good financial management, it shows how well you are able to support your employees in the process of building a product and service your customers will value. With all this in mind, you can now start working toward cultivating a healthy workplace culture that promotes true inclusivity and productivity.

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6 Tips for Building an Inclusive Workplace Culture

1. Get to know employees personally

Trust plays a significant role in getting employees comfortable enough to work well in the company. The best way to do this is by getting to know employees personally. It could be over a cup of coffee or a brief conversation in the elevator. Not only does this open a path for you to understand who works at your company, but this promotes empathy, too.

According to Business Solver, 98% of HR professionals and 92% of employees agree that empathetic employers drive retention. Establishing a good relationship between employer and employee opens a line for clear communication where you can discuss what is and isn’t working in the business, which you can ideally work together in fixing.

2. Give recognition in public

A Workforce Mood Tracker survey touched base with 630 global corporate respondents and found 78% of employees are motivated by recognition. Recognizing and acknowledging a job well done is as simple as the phrase “giving credit where credit is due.” Unfortunately, it can pose as a struggle especially if you have a considerably large company. A good way to implement this is by having a company channel where you can send messages of recognition to congratulate employees on a job well done.

3. Encourage cross-team collaboration

Diversity can span across different teams. Don’t limit collaboration to one team. 86% of executives and employees identify lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as a problem in the workplace. Encouraging collaboration across different departments can promote better understanding on different areas of the business, spark innovation, and enhance employee skills.

This is especially helpful in getting employees to connect with other people outside their team for easier communication in future projects. Encourage different teams to work on brainstorming projects to bring different ideas to the table.

4. Train your leaders for diversity & inclusion (D&I)

Let trust, empathy, and collaboration trickle down to your leaders. When they have the full understanding of diversity and inclusion, your efforts will be able to come full circle. Listening becomes a much easier task because someone will be there to address employees’ concerns whenever the need arises and hopefully solve them as they come. This way, communication across the company becomes a much more seamless process.

5. Set up effective feedback loops

Part of an inclusive culture is open communication where all kinds of feedback is welcome for both employer and employee. This is where good relationships come in handy when guiding someone in your company. If there are tough pills to swallow, trust from both ends will make the blow a little easier because you’ll ideally know how best to approach your employee.

Allow your employees to speak, too. Let them be heard throughout your business’s journey, because chances are, they’ll be able to spot areas of improvement that you may not be able to see right away. The key is to keep a balanced, positive tone throughout the conversation.

After the conversation, make it a point to flesh out actionable items to address what’s been discussed. End with a goal to meet until your next session to promote consistent growth and progress.

6. Open employee participation in meetings

According to Gallup’s 2017 report on State of the Global Workplace, a whopping 85% of employees worldwide are not engaged at work. In relation to their study on employee satisfaction, implementing engagement can boost profitability by 21%. That’s an opportunity you shouldn’t be missing.

During meetings, don’t forget to open the floor for everyone to speak their piece on the matter. It helps to lead with a question everyone in the team can answer to break the ice.

Quick tip

Instead of saying “Do you have any questions?” frame your questions in a slightly different way to invite more answers. Here’s an example from Andre Sasser, a math teacher, on how a simple tweak in her phrasing made her students more likely to ask questions:

Promoting a culture of inclusion goes beyond simple social interaction. When you cultivate the kind of culture that thrives on inclusivity, you create a domino effect of boosting your employees’ motivation, creativity, and productivity, which later translate into profitability. Your employees grow as your company grows.

Keen to learn more about managing people even better? Join us in our Advanced People Handling Skills public seminar!

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