Despite the implementation of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in many businesses, a lack of inclusivity remains a challenge for organisations across the UK.
A recent study by DIAL Global has revealed that the largest UK companies have an average of one ethnic minority leader for every four white leaders.
This troubling trend points to a lack of opportunities for employees from ethnic minority backgrounds, highlighting a broader exclusionary culture for all underrepresented groups.
The consequences of such a culture can have a severe impact on an organisation’s performance, stunting innovation, creativity, and growth.
Experts at CoachHub, the leading global digital coaching platform, have examined the key elements of an inclusive organisational culture and are offering advice to senior leaders on how to create an environment where all employees can thrive.
Gain Insights on How Culture Is Lived Now
To foster inclusivity, organisations must start by gaining insights into their current culture. Leveraging engagement data, employee surveys, and retention metrics provides a strong foundation for leaders to understand what their employees are experiencing at work. This knowledge serves as the basis for building a new, more inclusive approach.
Rosie Evans-Krimme, Director Innovation Lab and Behavioural Science at CoachHub, emphasised the importance of deeper exploration beyond quantitative data, such as identifying systemic barriers and addressing insensitive behaviours like microaggressions.
Understand Inclusivity as a Strategic Imperative
Companies with diverse workforces are 70 percent more likely to enter and capture new markets than those without diversity. To unlock these benefits, senior leaders must implement a strategic and value-driven approach that builds upon the organisation’s existing culture. Diversity, equity, and inclusion should be treated as a business imperative by all leaders, not just delegated to HR.
Cultivate Inclusive Leadership
Executives significantly influence the workforce’s direction, making it imperative for leaders to display inclusive behaviours throughout their roles. Inclusive leadership qualities are essential to creating a sense of belonging within a workforce and should be encouraged in all interactions with employees, regardless of background or seniority.
Introduce Digital Coaching for a Smooth Transition
To encourage leaders to develop an inclusive leadership style, organisations can consider introducing digital coaching. Coaching is one of the most effective change management tools, offering a dedicated safe space for leaders to question their attitudes and behaviours. It allows leaders to reflect, practice new behaviours, and develop a coaching approach to managing and leading with inclusivity in mind.
Regularly Reassess and Adapt to Change
Workplace culture is evolutionary, and senior leaders should celebrate this fact. It is crucial to maintain the visibility of workplace culture in the months and years following an initial cultural shift. This ongoing commitment to inclusion is vital, as diversity, equity, and inclusion should not be short-term actions to fulfil criteria but a strategic priority throughout every organisation.
In the words of Rosie Evans-Krimme, “Developing an inclusive organisational culture is about making a commitment to inclusion that lasts for years to come. Then, and only then, can leaders expect to experience the rewards that come from such a commitment.”
Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.