Creating an Inclusive Culture
This is the fifth in a series of short blog posts sharing an overview of content explored on the Empowered Employers learning programme.
As part of the Empowered Employers campaign, we have been delivering a learning program for a range of employers across Gloucestershire. The learning program is unique in that it has been co-designed by Jane Hatton (CEO of Evenbreak), Experts by Lived Experience, and commercial employers from across the county.
In the fifth of our miniseries, Jane Hatton looks at how we create an inclusive culture.
How do we create an inclusive culture?
The impact of an inclusive workplace culture should not be underestimated. Peter Drucker famously said ‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast’.
There are a number of ways the culture is influenced, either positively or negatively, intentionally or otherwise. Some of the positive and intentional actions include:
This refers to strategic leaders (people in high status positions with a high degree of influence), and also informal leaders throughout the organisation.
Good inclusive leaders:
- Understand the ‘why’ – what’s in it for the organisation, its employees and clients/customers
- Promote the ‘why’ in a way everyone can relate to
- Engage stakeholders (board members, managers, employees, clients, partner organisations, suppliers, etc) in the inclusion strategy
- Empower other leaders, by providing training, resources and reverse mentoring, including in all job descriptions and KPIs and performance management
- Constantly look for ways to remove barriers which might be restricting their workforce
- Use lived experience to inform decision-making (see next blog)
- Lead by example
- Aren’t afraid to show vulnerability
- Encourage a learning culture
- Aren’t afraid to take calculated risks and learn from them
- Encourage others to do the same
Embed Inclusion into Every Area of the Business
Inclusion is often seen as part of the HR function. It is part of the HR function, but it is also part of every other business function. (See diagram below)
Make Conversations about Difference Normal
Often, disability is the ‘elephant in the room’. People are nervous about mentioning it, in case they use the wrong word, or offend someone. The reality is that the more people talk about it, the less fearful it becomes. People will see the intentions rather than the words. If someone is clearly trying to learn, or be supportive, and uses an outdated term, it’s rare anyone minds. But if the subject is seen as taboo, no-one learns, and disabled employees may feel even more isolated.
Monitoring and Data Collection
Define the purpose of monitoring – what do you need to know and why? There is little point in monitoring if the data isn’t then used to inform better practice. Make it very clear why you are asking for information, and who will see it (bear in mind GDPR).
Think about how you will collect information? When? How often? Will it be anonymous (more likely to be accurate). Will it be mandatory? If so, it’s important to include a ‘prefer not to say’ option.