When it comes to creating a vibrant and inclusive workplace, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. What’s important is that you examine how your company culture supports and values diversity. In particular, consider whether your business is able to attract diverse talent, retain high performers of color or other underrepresented groups, and create environments where everyone can thrive – both on their own terms and in their roles at work. If not, it’s time for some self-reflection about why that might be.

What Does An Inclusive Company Culture Look Like?

Inclusive Company Culture

An inclusive company culture is one in which everyone feels they are respected, valued, and included. It’s a place where everyone is treated fairly and with respect. An inclusive culture also allows people to contribute and make a difference; everyone feels like they can thrive at work.

I know the idea of a “culture” sounds intangible—especially when it comes to something as complicated as inclusion—but think about it this way: Culture is not just what happens in the office every day; it’s also how you do business with your customers. And if you don’t have an inclusive culture at that level, why would anyone want to buy from or work for you?

Use These 4 Lenses To Assess Your Company Culture.

To assess your company culture, consider these four lenses:

  • Lens #1: How does the experience of people who benefit from diversity differ from others?
  • Lens #2: What are the experiences of people who don’t benefit from diversity? Are they being left out, ignored, or neglected in any way?
  • Lens #3: Does everyone have an equal opportunity to participate, share their ideas and contribute to decisions that affect them and their colleagues? Or do certain groups feel less included than others?
  • Lens #4: Do people trust each other at work—or do they keep things to themselves for fear of retaliation or stereotyping by others (for example, if a woman raises concerns about harassment in the workplace)?

Lens #1: Examine The Experiences Of People Who Benefit From Diversity.

Inclusive Company Culture

Lens #1: Examine the experiences of people who benefit from diversity.

The first lens is intended to help you better understand the experiences of those who benefit from diversity programs, specifically around their work environment, culture and inclusion. Using this lens will help you identify how they experience the benefits of diversity in their role (or roles) and if there are any challenges to overcome as well. It can also be useful in identifying expectations and goals for these employees so that you can be sure that your company is meeting them appropriately.

  • What does this group experience on a daily basis? This can include their interactions with colleagues, management, or customers from different cultural backgrounds than theirs—for example, do they ever feel uncomfortable because someone else has different views than theirs? Do coworkers or managers give preferential treatment because of racial or gender stereotypes about certain types of people? Are there other issues that come up regularly for this group at work?
  • How do they experience the benefits of being part of inclusive workplace culture? For example: How often do they feel included in activities outside of work hours/events; what kind of support do they get when facing difficulties at work; how often do colleagues reach out just to check in on them personally; etc., etc., etc…

Lens #2: Identify The Experiences Of People Who Don’t Benefit From Diversity.

In this lens, you’ll focus on those who do not benefit from diversity. What are their experiences? How do they feel about their work and workplace culture? You may find that some employees feel like their concerns aren’t being heard or taken seriously in truly inclusive company culture.

Lens #3: Understand How People Talk About Each Other And Themselves.

How do the people in your office refer to themselves, their colleagues, and their work? How do they refer to others outside the company? If you hear those kinds of words in your office, take note! What is being said can help you understand how power dynamics are operating at play. For example, if someone refers to themselves as an “employee” instead of a “co-worker” or if many people seem unable to see beyond gender identity when talking about men vs women (or vice versa) then there may be some important insights here that could inform at least part of what makes up your company culture.

Lens #4: Don’t Go It Alone — Engage Experts In Company Culture, Coaching, And Training.

You’ll have a much better chance of making a meaningful change if you understand the cultural dynamics that shape your workplace.

Here’s where engaged employees come in because they can help reveal some hidden truths about what’s really going on behind the scenes. They will also provide candid feedback about how their work environment feels and whether there are any issues that need to be addressed.

A good way to implement this strategy is by hosting an employee engagement survey from time to time and seeking out ways for people to give input anonymously through an app like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms (both free). This will help you uncover some of those specific areas where your company culture could use some improvement—and then you’ll be able to work with experts who specialize in coaching, training, and development programs for businesses just like yours!

Assessing And Understanding Your Company Culture Is Important Before You Can Make Meaningful Change.

Company Culture

Before you can make meaningful change, it’s important to understand your company culture and the biases that are currently afflicting it. Understanding your own biases is a good first step. You should also try to get a clear picture of what others’ experiences are like in your workplace—especially those of the people underrepresented in your industry. It can be difficult to fully assess these things without taking an honest look at yourself and asking yourself some tough questions:

What is my background?

How has my race, ethnicity, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, ability level or other personal characteristics influenced how receptive I am to different kinds of people?

What do I think about when I hear about racism or sexism happening outside our offices? Do any stereotypes come up for me when I hear about these issues from colleagues who belong to minority groups? How do these stereotypes affect how I treat them on a day-to-day basis at work?


We hope you found this article helpful. We know that creating an inclusive company culture can be a daunting task, especially for small businesses. If you’re looking for help, we encourage you to contact us right away so we can provide the guidance and resources you need!

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