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Ten Ways to Implement an Inclusive Work Culture

Developing a vision for an Inclusive culture but not Implementing it, is like planning the perfect vacation, buying your tickets, packing and then deciding not to go.

In order to reach the highest level of success, you need to be dynamic leader and create dynamic organizations where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to do business. Based on my work as an organizational development consultant, my observations, and interviews with executives and employees from large, small, and medium size organizations, I’ve developed the “Six I” process to create workplace cultures where people want to work and customers want to buy.

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The first “I” is to use your Insight, and be willing to listen to customers and employees. The second step in the “Six I” process is to create an Inclusive Culture, because without feeling included, employees will have no connection to the overall success of the organization.

If you’ve taken the first two steps in the “Six I” process, you’re ready for the third, which is Implementation.

Implementation

Developing a vision for an Inclusive culture but not Implementing it, is like planning the perfect vacation, buying your tickets, packing and then deciding not to go.

Too many leaders in too many organizations say they want to create work environments where employees love to do their best work, and customers love to buy, but don’t create cultures where that can happen. They spend thousands of dollars on assessments, strategic planning meetings, and consultants, hoping that the results will validate their own beliefs and opinions. They dismiss employee recommendations as trivial, useless or whining. They regard hourly employees, (the ones who often have first contact with customers) as expendable, and refuse to invest in their development. Then, they wonder why employees are unhappy, don’t trust them or retire in place.

I’ve also worked with leaders who are continually trying to improve, willing to use their Insight and are not afraid to listen to employees and provide extra care to their customers. I love working with these leaders. These leaders invest, include and engage their people so everyone “feels the love”, which gets passed on to customers and results in more productivity and profit.

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It takes everyone on the executive team to understand, believe and be passionate about culture change. They need to believe in synergy between leadership, employees and customers, and everyone needs to be willing to take responsibility and be accountable for implementing change.

Here are steps that some of my clients and their clients have taken to ensure that they get the best return on Inclusion/culture change investment.

  1. Define objectives and create a written, graphic vision of a dynamic inclusive culture.
  2. Enlist your whole leadership team, and identify your fellow champions, by the passion they display either in words or actions. Allow them to add to the vision. Ask these questions:
     a. What would make this the kind of workplace that made you jump out of bed every day?
     b. If you were one of your direct reports what would you need to jump out of bed every day?
     c. If you were an hourly employee, what would make you want to come to work and be successful?
     d. What stops you from feeling that way everyday now?
     e. What would your managers say?
     f. What would your hourly employees say?
  3. Compare their responses with the data from your organizational assessment. Measure how much they understand the needs and perspective of their managers and hourly employees.
  4. Market your culture change process, so it permeates the organization.
  5. Identify one or two key issues that were raised in the assessment process and begin action.
  6. Develop a communication process to make employees aware that you have listened to their feedback, and keep them apprised of progress.
  7. Consistently make the relationship between those key issues, your actions and developing and Implementing an Inclusive work culture.
  8. Hold people accountable for their employees.
  9. Show people how Implementing an Inclusive Culture Change Initiative benefits them as individuals and as part of the organization.
  10. Be willing to release employees at any level who refuse to progress and hold you back. They’ll be happier somewhere else.