5 Tips for Creating an Inclusive Culture at Work

Visionary Leadership,

Companies with greater diversity throughout their organizations outperform their less diverse counterparts — it’s that simple. A study conducted by McKinsey Insights published in 2015 found that the most diverse companies were “35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians” while the most gender diverse companies were “15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.”

However, while diversity in age, gender, ethnicity, and worldviews throughout your organization is of monumental importance, cultural inclusion doesn’t stop there. Continue reading to learn five tips on how to successfully create a more inclusive workplace culture that will undoubtedly improve the performance of your organization.

How To Create an Inclusive Culture and Work Environment

The ultimate goal for creating an inclusive environment is for every single person in your organization to feel they can safely and unequivocally be themselves in the workplace. Here are five ways to get you started on the road to cultural inclusion:

Start at the top

Instilling cultural values always starts at the highest levels of your organization and cultural inclusion is no different. You and your executive team need to convey the importance of a diverse culture by hiring and working with people of all backgrounds.

Another great way to convey the importance of diversity is to form an inclusion council who’s sole responsibility is to set the goals for hiring, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce. The council itself should be as diverse as possible; don’t be afraid to include employees below the C-suite.

Make personal connections

After encouraging the top members of your organization to further embrace diversity, ask them and their reports to take it one step further by making personal connections with the newest members of their team. Taking the time to have conversations with new team members about the things that interest them will make them feel more comfortable in their new environment. It may also show them they share things in common with even the people at the highest level of the organization.

To learn more, read Fast Company Executive Board member David Bartain’s advice on the importance of maintaining trust when building connections with employees.

Make it easy for employees to provide feedback

Feedback is incredibly important when it comes to creating a safe and inclusive culture at work. Every employee needs to feel comfortable providing feedback and suggestions for improving cultural inclusion, whether it be in person or anonymously. Making it as easy as possible for employees to provide that feedback will knock down any barriers that may be discouraging.

Listen to that feedback

When feedback is provided, you and the other decision makers in your organization need to listen to it. Turning that feedback into concrete changes at the company will ensure your employees feel valued and listened to. Plus, the chances are that if one person submitted feedback about a certain aspect of the company, it is echoed by others that didn’t want to come forward for one reason or another.

Celebrate employee differences

One of the best ways to celebrate the diversity throughout your company is to celebrate the individual cultural characteristics of your employees. One way to do this is by creating events that allow employees to share their favorite aspects of their cultures and backgrounds with others without forcing it on them. A potluck where everyone brings in their favorite dish is a great way to get people talking about each other’s cultures in a low stress environment.


At the end of the day, creating a diverse workplace is important, but creating an inclusive work environment at your company will ensure that diversity continues to thrive. By educating the leaders of your organization, making personal connections, and celebrating the cultural differences of your employees, you can create a welcoming and inclusive workplace for everyone.

Fast Company Executive Board fosters a diverse community of decision makers, industry influencers, and thought leaders to offer you meaningful connections and discussions. Read our spotlight on Leslie Wingo, president and CEO of Sanders\Wingo, to learn more about how the diversity of Fast Company Executive Board members has helped her. To learn more about becoming a Fast Company Executive Board member, visit our membership page or contact us directly.