Many workplaces have undergone radical changes over the last 3 years – from hybrid working influencing where we work, to the range of technological tools and apps that enable the way we work – the delineation between ‘work life’ and ‘home life’ has become increasingly more blurred. This has had a profound impact on the attitudes and behaviours of people.

A recent workplace report from Gartner (2023) suggests that employees now take more of a values-based approach towards the workplace. According to their research, 82% of employees say that it is important that their company sees them “as a person, not just an employee”. People are actively seeking positive company cultures and inclusive workplaces where they feel respected, valued and trusted by their leaders and colleagues. This can often serve as a determining factor in attracting future candidates and an ongoing motivator for existing employees.

Define Why Inclusion Matters to You

There is a significant body of research which illustrates the economic and social benefits associated with more inclusive workplaces; which includes greater levels of employee engagement, improved wellbeing, staff turnover, and the ability to attract higher quality talent. While these reasons are valid incentives, the decision to move towards an inclusive culture is best served by aligning with the organisation's authentic intentions.


  • Why is it important for this organisation to develop a more inclusive culture?
  • What could a more ‘inclusive culture’ look like in this organisation?

Culturally mature organisations seek to build inclusivity in their values, objectives and annual plan to ensure that inclusive practices sit at the heart of their work. This very often starts with a clear purpose.

Make Space for Employee Voices

Psychological safety in the workplace refers to an environment whereby employees feel comfortable expressing themselves without fear of judgement. Empowering employees to speak up and exercise their voice leads to a number of benefits including improved self-perception, higher levels of employee engagement leading, increases in innovative and creative thinking and greater feelings of belonging.

In the context of inclusion, speaking up may result in uncomfortable conversations. Minority groups and marginalised communities often report a feeling of personal psychological fatigue whilst others struggle to broach topics related to inclusion fearing their potential lack of knowledge, or a fear of causing offence. The result is a refusal to address some topics altogether. Creating a deliberate space for employees to express their views and share their vulnerabilities and fears related to sensitive topics requires an inclusive environment which facilitates courage and greater self-awareness.

Start with a Common Foundation

According to the CIPD, workplaces are becoming increasingly age diverse. In some instances, this introduces a layer of complexity as attitudes towards inclusion may vary considerably. Organisations can often turn to training packages to up-skill their staff, however, research shows that training alone is not an effective intervention to drive authentic cultural change. One of the key principles of inclusion assumes that everyone will be approaching learning from different perspectives. Inclusive interventions should help employees arrive at a common foundational understanding of inclusion whilst encouraging them to introspect and reflect on their personal thoughts, behaviours and attitudes towards inclusion.

Commit to the Long-Term

Embedding inclusive practices requires a long-term committed effort at all levels of an organisation. In 2020, many organisations eagerly presented action plans for inclusion. 3-years on, a lesser number have succeeded in taking the intended actions or targets. These behaviours serve to undermine employee confidence, which impacts performance and leads to greater risks of staff attrition. Inclusion action plans, strategies and internal or external statements require clear actions and clear lines of accountability. Consideration needs to be applied to ensure momentum, communication and progress are sustained, measured and reviewed regularly. This cycle of activity encourages the opportunity for refinement and continuous improvement of inclusive practices over time.

Next Steps

If you are ready to take the next steps towards building an inclusive workplace, get in touch to find out more about our EDI Foundations Programme. Or if you would like help with a specific aspect of your EDI strategy, we offer bespoke help and coaching. Contact us to find out more.