6 principles to creating a successful inclusive culture

6 principles to creating a successful inclusive culture
Jobstreet content teamupdated on 26 July, 2017


An inclusive culture, is said to be the source of true competitive advantage for companies competing in today’s rapidly changing business environment. It is defined as “the full and successful integration of diverse people into a workplace or industry” by the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University.

An inclusive culture generally represents a climate in which respect, equity, and positive recognition of differences are all cultivated. In other words, employees are free to be themselves, share their problems, dare to innovate, willing to make mistakes and create change.

A new research conducted by Bersin, found that companies with inclusive cultures outperform their peers and 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.” However, the research further revealed that despite 78 percent of the survey respondents believe in the benefits of embracing an inclusive culture, only 12 percent of them have reached such potential.

Bersin’s research was conducted based on a survey of 245 global organisations and more than 70 client interviews. The two-year study also concluded that the most effective way to achieve significant gains is through “leadership ownership, strategic measurement, and a culture of accountability for inclusion that is driven from top to bottom.”

In addition, the research demonstrates the six principles in creating a successful inclusive culture:


One such company that demonstrates these principles is Carrington & Carrington, a Chicago-based recruitment firm, when it recruited Major League Baseball‘s diversity head, Wendy Lewis, to serve as the new global chief diversity officer for McDonald’s in 2016. The position of the global chief diversity officer was previously held by Patricia Harris for four decades. Willie E. Carrington, the founder of the Carrington & Carrington and the recruiter behind the search placement, took the approach to find a replacement who could bring a new sense of direction to McDonald’s and to build upon what has been created.

With its corporate motto, “strength through diversity and inclusion,” Mr. Carrington believes that in order to remain competitive, companies must attract top diverse talent for the management pipeline and executive-level positions. Riding on diversity and inclusion, Carrington & Carrington is seen as one of the most respected African American-owned search firms for almost four decades. The firm continues to lead and play a significant role in increasing the representation of diverse professionals in major business sectors in the United States.

By taking similar proactive steps, companies can cultivate true inclusion by shaping the cultural mind-set of their employees, especially their leaders. Remember that policies don’t create inclusion, people do. Therefore, it is essential for business leaders to start owning the cultural strategy, and begin building awareness of bias into critical talent activities from top to bottom, to implement and embed inclusive talent practices.

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