Do You Really Know What it Means to Be Inclusive?

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only the right thing to do, but it can also benefit your business in a number of ways. It fosters a safe, healthy environment for all, enhances engagement and productivity, and inspires creativity and innovation.

But what does it really mean – and how do you get and stay there?

It’s not enough just to hire people of different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations – although it starts there. Everyone working for or affiliated with your company needs to feel truly welcome, safe and free to be themselves.

It starts at the top.

The role of your leadership team in building D&I is to design every aspect of your business with that goal in mind. Your senior team members must walk the talk and consistently demonstrate inclusive behavior. From there, it will cascade down and throughout your company, forming the framework for a truly inclusive culture. If it isn’t a true company-wide commitment, it simply won’t happen.

  • Create an environment where everyone feels included. It’s in the way you talk, meet, act and share. It’s also in your policies, your brand identity, your terminology, and your talent and business growth strategy.
  • Managers should always be sensitive as they connect with employees. This means getting to know them on a personal level and being transparent with them about their own lives. If managers are real with people, chances are better that they’ll get the same in return.

Look holistically at your talent lifecycle.

D&I begins at a candidate’s initial brand exposure; for instance, your career or social media page, and lasts through their company exit point. Think critically about where any bias may show up, at any touchpoint.

  • Building a scalable inclusion strategy means questioning the homogeneity of your team and changing it as needed. Make sure no one is systematically excluded from any career or life opportunities. Create belonging as you deepen team bonds.
  • Edit your job descriptions for inclusive language. Then, develop job competency checklists that detail required hard skills versus developmental and coachable skills. This will make room for upcoming underrepresented talent.
  • Source candidates who have experience in multiple disciplines and/or come from non-traditional education and professional backgrounds. As long as they mesh with your mission and vision, they’re likely to add a unique layer of creativity, innovation and problem solving to your team.

Involve your employees.

Give employees multiple ways to share their feedback, perspectives, and stories. This will contribute to ongoing open dialogue that can lead to more positive outcomes. Your tactics might include surveys, all-hands discussions, or D&I communication campaigns.

Provide safe spaces.

Consider the safety and comfort level of all employees, especially those from marginalized groups. For instance, offer unisex bathrooms and, on a broader level, host team lunches and other events where everyone can casually connect virtually and/or in person. Employee networks can provide an open environment that sparks conversations important to the whole community.


Let the workforce development experts at PrideStaff Modesto offer additional insight and guidance when it comes to building your productive, healthy and all-inclusive workplace environment and culture. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.