Creating an Inclusive Culture

Creating an inclusive culture may be one of the most critical factors in an organization’s success. It is no longer a nice to have but a strategic business imperative.

Given that inclusion, diversity and equity is a priority for investors, boards, CEOs, and executive leadership, should ID&E still be part of HR, or should it report to the CEO and be embedded across every business practice? The answer to this question is not straightforward; ID&E’s ambition is well-served as part of HR when the function operates as a transformation driver. In other cases, HR may be more focused on operational issues because that is what the business needs and thus cannot dedicate the time and resources to ID&E.

That’s why it is critical that leaders, starting with the top team, are aligned with the objectives of their company’s ID&E strategy and are committed and prepared to lead the change. While that may sound simple, is it?

As role models and change agents, they must talk authentically about why diversity and inclusion matter to them, why it is a strategic business imperative, and how it links to the organization’s purpose. They need to create listening sessions truly hear what people are telling them and act on expressed needs. Leaders and managers willing to engage in reverse mentoring will better connect to the lived experiences of people from backgrounds different from their own. These are the more difficult part and take hard work to activate.

Five things that need to happen now

  1. Consider changing ID&E’s reporting line to the CEO (who then spends the time understanding and shaping the strategy)
  2. Include a discussion of ID&E on every board meeting agenda
  3. Set targets and hold everyone accountable
  4. Develop meaningful metrics and transparently disclose them both inside and outside the organization, communicating openly and honestly about ambition, progress, and planned action
  5. Invest in the training needed to build understanding and awareness across the business

The speed with which the ID&E profession is growing and maturing is dizzying. Standards and best practices being shaped and shared in real-time provide a roadmap for success. Creating a culture that is more open, aware, tolerant, and ready to embrace people of all backgrounds forms the foundation for transformational change across the business world and society.

#CEOs #DEI #Purpose #Change #ROI #Accountability

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