Canadian Association for Supported Employment

Practices to Create an Inclusive Organizational Culture

Organizational culture is often cemented into place. Moving or adjusting culture is no small feat, but there are steps organizations can take to shift their culture towards inclusion. An inclusive culture is focused on their teams’ performance and support systems, resulting in a more productive and engaged workforce.

Feedback Loop – Organizations that request feedback from their employees, act on that feedback and communicate their actions will develop teams willing to give more feedback. The key to feedback is keeping the loop continuously engaged and moving, so the process stays strong and faith is not lost in the system.

Going Beyond Legislation – Once safety regulations have been met and legislation has been followed, it’s time to further improve those areas to exceed the bare minimum. Efforts to expand accommodations and to remove existing barriers will not only ensure future-proofing for changing legislation but show responsive leadership in supporting your teams. 

Person who is Black and in a wheelchair is working at a table with colleagues.

Supporting Managers to Support Others – When training and support are provided to your organization’s leadership teams, they have the tools they need to support their teams. Your efforts also ensure that messaging is consistent about the organization’s expectations around fully supporting the success of their teams.

Speed of the Leader, Speed of the Team – A fully engaged executive team is essential for organizational cohesiveness. Culture that is exemplified by the executive team is recognized throughout the organization. When the senior leadership is held to the same standard expected from the rest of the organization, it sets a tone of imbedded culture and unified goals.

Corporate Branding, Employer Edition – Positive actions convey a stronger message than the best marketing images or campaigns. While a quick commercial may evoke a temporary emotional response, when people experience the intentions of an organization first-hand through its actions, the connections created are longer lasting and stronger. Brand loyalty is built through a commitment to strong mission-based actions.

Humility – Becoming an organization that is inclusive involves acknowledging that you don’t have all the answers and accepting that you will be reminded about the impacts your systems, processes and policies have on your team members. Individuals know themselves best and are the most credible source of information to leverage your strengths to support your teams. Acts of humility will strengthen your overall culture and team engagement.

Simple organizational actions can increase inclusive behaviours, which in turn result in the development of an inclusive culture. Organizations that invest the time to support their team members in removing barriers and creating inclusive workplaces for all employees develop stronger corporate cultures and more resilient business models.

Written by Chantelle Painter, a consultant and business and relationship development professional with over 20 years’ experience in corporate retail. Chantelle is skilled in Relationship Building, Coaching, Retail, Customer Satisfaction, Driving and Measuring Engagement, and Policy Development.