A Road Map for Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Corporate Culture

Diversity and inclusivity: two things organizations strive for, but few actually achieve. In fact, according to recent research, 71 percent of organizations aspire to have an inclusive culture, but only 12 percent have achieved this objective.

The new “High-Impact Diversity and Inclusion: Maturity Model and Top Findings” report from Bersin by Deloitte finds that companies need to go beyond compliance and move to a true strategic approach in order to achieve diversity.

Why is a diverse and inclusive culture a worthwhile investment? It’s more than just a “feel good” movement. The research reveals that organizations with inclusive cultures are six times more likely to be innovative, six times more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively, and twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets.

Now that you know the why, you probably want to know the how. After all, achieving this type of culture is often easier said than done. According to Bersin by Deloitte, this new research reveals six principles that are key to creating a more inclusive organization. You can use them as a road map for achieving your organization’s goals.

  1. Treat the evolution of diversity and inclusion as business-critical, not compliance-necessary. Organizations that approach diversity and inclusion as a business priority are more likely to report superior business outcomes.
  2. Move beyond diversity to both inclusion and diversity. Organizations that focus on the value of inclusion, in addition to diversity, typically enjoy superior performance as compared with peer organizations that do not.
  3. Prioritize inclusive leadership. Leaders who demonstrate behaviors such as courage, curiosity, and cultural intelligence tend to enable cultures that encourage inclusiveness.
  4. Reinforce an inclusive culture by integrating both demographic diversity and diversity of thought into all talent management practices. It is especially important to do this at moments that affect the talent pipeline, such as decisions that impact talent acquisition, promotions, succession management, and leadership development.
  5. Provide diversity and inclusion resources that empower individuals to take action. Inclusive organizations are more likely to offer resources that enable individuals to bring their authentic selves to work, manage unconscious bias effectively, and leverage the support of mentors and sponsors to help them navigate their organizations. Further, more mature organizations offer these resources broadly — not just for diverse populations.
  6. Drive accountability, not metrics tracking. Organizations should create accountability by sharing strategic measurements about diversity and inclusion-related activities and their impact, and have senior leaders discuss achievement on an ongoing basis. One aspect of this might be to tie compensation to diversity and inclusion outcomes, a practice employed currently by only 6 percent of companies surveyed.

For corporate culture to truly change, these efforts need to extend beyond HR. Diversity and inclusion must take center stage as a part of a business’s internal and external identity. By making it a part of the organization’s overall strategy, you’ll begin to see a transformation across the company.

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