Talent Management

Building an Inclusive Workplace: What Does It Take?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (or DEI) are major topics of discussion and action is organizations all around the world. But that sometimes mysterious ‘I’ for ‘Inclusion’ – what’s it all about? What does it look like in practice? And what does a truly inclusive workplace look like?

We invited two thought-leaders in this space to join us for a discussion around this very topic. Vivian Acquah, an Inclusive Workplace Wellness Advocate at Viva la Vive, and Dr. Steve Yacovelli, Speaker, Author and Leadership Coach at TopDog Learning, joined us from opposite sides of the Atlantic to dive into the detail.

Watch the full interview above and read on below for some quick highlights! 

What is Inclusion? 

Diversity is being asked to the dance, where inclusion is being asked to dance. So it’s the active part of it. And then I would actually even add the concept of belonging, which is: I, as the dancer (the employee), will dance however the heck I want, and everyone is totally OK with that.

– Dr. Steve Yacovelli. 

Inclusion is about involvement and empowerment, and an inclusive environment is one where the worth and dignity of each individual is recognized. An inclusive workplace promotes and creates a sense of belonging; it values and practices respect for the talents, beliefs and backgrounds of its members. 

Why is Inclusion so important? 

As the quote above mentions, inclusion is the active part of DEI. Done right, inclusion will take your organization’s DEI initiatives beyond being a ‘tick the box’ exercise. Diversity alone is not enough – are people actually being included into the fabric of your organization? Is each individual given the opportunity to succeed?

Inclusion is not only important from a human angle – it’s also crucial to business success. Facing unprecedented challenges in 2021, today’s organizations must embrace differing perspectives and ways of seeing the world. Embracing inclusion means opening your organization up to innovation, doing things differently than they’ve always been done – and we all know that these are the mindsets needed to not just survive 2021, but come out of it thriving.

What are examples of Inclusion? 

Some of the companies I work with are starting mentoring groups. For me, mentoring is something we have to level-up…and create that sponsorship. So I challenge these companies to really think about what they can do to sponsor somebody if that person has a dream to become the next leader within the next five years – what tool are you implementing to help them get there?

– Vivian Acquah. 

The smart businesses I’m seeing…yes they have their Employee Relations Groups, but they leverage them beyond just saying, hey, its (blank) month – let’s celebrate. They do things like facilitating for these groups to educate the senior executives on whatever is needed…They are using them to help disseminate and educate allyship within the business too

– Dr. Steve Yacovelli.

Diversity and Inclusion are interconnected 

Find out more about how diversity and inclusion are interconnected, but far from interchangeable.

Download our checklist and discover how you can build diversity and inclusion into your team and even improve intergenerational teamwork.

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