The term “inclusive culture” has become a buzzword in recent years. We see it on LinkedIn discussions, organizational policies, and job descriptions. But, it’s far more than a fancy fad among progressive employers. 

So, what does an inclusive culture mean?

“Inclusive culture” describes a positive environment that promotes harmony and collaboration among co-workers of all backgrounds. Thus, it’s the glue that keeps employees feeling valued, driven, and motivated to deliver at their best from day one. 

How Can I Be More Inclusive at Work? 

In an inclusive culture, workers often get equal opportunities, no matter where they come from. So, this usually means bringing in or hiring people who have been left out of important decisions and powerful roles in a company.

You can also be more inclusive by creating (and following) policies to strengthen DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) initiatives. These may include observing fair hiring processes, promoting employee resource groups (ERGs), and providing social support. Just to name a few.

Let’s dive into more detailed ways to create an inclusive culture in your biz.


5 Ways to Create an “Inclusive Culture”

What does an inclusive culture look like? Imagine a workplace where talent thrives based on merit and purpose! 

An inclusive approach makes the most of your talent pool. That’s why employers and recruiters continue to seek innovative ways to make the workplace more inclusive. Here’s how you can do it:

#1 – Promote and Support ERGs 

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are present in more than 90% of Fortune 500 companies, and for a good reason. So, apart from making the workplace better and improving how employees feel, ERGs also have a lasting positive effect on your financial success.

For example, ERGs provide company leaders with unique insights on specific issues that shape the decision-making processes, aligning actions closely with core business objectives.

And, ERG leaders often have the winning qualities to serve as brand ambassadors, engaging specific communities at a deeper level to expand and scale organizational outreach.   

If you are getting a fresh start with ERGS, here are 5 Best Practices for Employee Resource Groups you might find helpful.


#2 – Write Inclusive Job Descriptions

The words you choose in job descriptions affect how interested candidates are and whether they decide to apply or not. Therefore, using considerate and thoughtful language in job descriptions sets the groundwork for creating an inclusive culture right from the beginning.

A healthy and high-functioning workplace should foster the concept of considering applicants regardless of gender, disability status, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or where they went to school.

With only a few clicks, software like Ongig’s Text Analyzer helps you flag and replace exclusionary language from your JDs. This saves you the trouble of manually going through every sentence looking for potential bias. Some words are more obvious than others.

For example, did you know “brown bag session” might be offensive or exclusionary to people of color?



#3 – Hire a DEI Leader or Work Collectively

Chief Diversity Officers (CDOs) place inclusivity efforts into a clearer perspective, working closely with their CEO to create the ideal workplace setting.

So, by hiring a CDO, your company can take a more systematic approach to realizing daily DEIB goals (with a coordinated budget). And, CDOs help keep co.s on track with setting and reaching diversity goals.

Alternatively, if you have a smaller company with a lower budget, you can involve employees at all levels in managing culture through consistent feedback and mutual accountability. 


#4 – Restructure Company Meetings

Businesses with an inclusive culture empower every team member, acknowledging their unique voice in making an impactful difference through their roles. 

Company leaders can achieve this by replacing traditional meeting structures with alternative methods (e.g., using a Pomodoro timer that allocates speaker segments) to give each attendee an equal chance to participate in a discussion. 

Dynamic meetings involving every participant improve employee engagement, promote an inclusive culture, and prevent faulty decision-making processes.

For example, companies can avoid HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) bias, when teams rely on the highest paid employees during critical decision-making. 

You have a higher chance of leading positive culture change by avoiding rigid top-down mandates.


#5 – Nurture Psychological Safety 

Company leaders can help build an inclusive culture by setting an example through their thoughts, words, and actions.

Research in the industry shows that employees tend to follow their leaders’ behavior. And that’s whether it’s being consistently present at work or displaying abusive behavior. The same holds true for positive actions and interactions that help create the psychological safety needed for an inclusive culture.

In addition, company leaders should establish and maintain psychological safety at work through empathetic employee strategies like active listening, and encouraging feedback or suggestions through open-door policies. So, consider taking a company-wide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Workshop to assess your inclusive practices as a team.

Importance of Inclusive Culture

Nowadays, making a workplace welcoming for everyone is crucial for making it a great place to work. Inclusivity is not just a trendy term; it’s an essential part of the process. So, having a diverse group of people on the team is just the starting point. Thus, the key is to create safe spaces where team members from different backgrounds can really do well and share their unique viewpoints.

Here’s why having an inclusive workplace culture is so crucial.

1. Building Diverse Teams:

Diverse teams bring together people from various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. When team members feel like they belong, they are more likely to be themselves and share their unique skills. So, this, in turn, results in more creative ideas and improved team performance.

2. Equal Opportunity and Unconscious Bias Training:

Companies that promote inclusivity understand how crucial it is to offer equal chances to all employees. So, to achieve this, they use unconscious bias training, which helps uncover hidden biases and ensures fair decision-making. Therefore, this not only helps existing employees. It also attracts new ones looking for a workplace that values inclusiveness.

3. Leadership Roles and Team Performance:

An inclusive work environment includes diversity in leadership roles. So, when employees from various backgrounds see people like them in top positions, it shows that everyone has a fair chance to do well. And this makes people happier with their jobs. Plus, it also improves how teams work together since diverse viewpoints help make better decisions.

4. Inclusive Language and Open Dialogue:

Making a workplace inclusive means using inclusive language and encouraging open conversations. So, it’s about creating a space where different views are heard, appreciated, and respected. Thus, this not only improves how employees feel but also leads to fresh ideas and motivates them to put in extra effort.

5. Importance of Inclusion Initiatives:

Inclusion initiatives are the foundation of a more welcoming culture. So, companies that put effort into inclusion training, cultural events, and initiatives led by a Chief Diversity Officer show they’re committed to doing what’s right. Therefore, these efforts make the workplace more inclusive, which is good for both current and future employees.

Building Blocks of Inclusive Culture

When we talk about creating an inclusive environment, it’s essential to understand the building blocks that pave the way for a truly inclusive workplace culture. 

These foundational elements go beyond the surface, shaping the organization’s culture and defining its core values.

1. Diverse Teams and Cultural Diversity:

One of the fundamental building blocks is fostering diverse teams. So, by bringing together team members from diverse backgrounds and cultures, organizations can harness the power of cultural diversity. This diversity also drives innovative ideas and better team performance.

2. Safe Spaces and Sense of Belonging:

Creating safe spaces where diverse employees feel a sense of belonging is crucial. So, when team members feel valued and respected for their unique perspectives and contributions, it fosters mutual respect. It also creates an environment where everyone can be their authentic selves.

3. Equal Opportunity and Unconscious Bias Training:

Encouraging equal opportunities and using unconscious bias training are important steps. So, by tackling hidden biases and making fair decisions, we create a fair environment for all employees. Thus, your employees will be happier with their jobs. In addition, it draws in a variety of talents and potential hires.

4. Inclusive Language and Open Dialogue:

Using inclusive language and promoting open conversations are crucial parts of an inclusive work culture. Therefore, companies that support open communication and discussions on important topics make sure that everyone’s perspectives are heard and appreciated. This also results in improved decision-making and inspires innovative thinking.

5. Inclusion Initiatives and Leadership Roles:

Putting resources into inclusion efforts and supporting diverse leaders are key steps. Therefore, when a company makes inclusivity a priority, especially with guidance from a Chief Diversity Officer or senior leaders, it shows a dedication to doing what’s right. This commitment also results in a workplace that’s more inclusive and appealing to top talent.

6. Employee well-being and Feedback:

Prioritizing employee well-being and soliciting employee feedback are crucial building blocks. So, by actively listening to employees and addressing their unique needs, organizations can enhance employee satisfaction and retention. In addition, this, in turn, contributes to a more inclusive work environment and higher revenue.


How to Foster Inclusive Culture in Leadership?

Inclusive Culture

Leaders play a pivotal role in shaping the environment, making team members feel valued and heard. So, let’s explore practical ways to instill inclusive leadership that goes beyond rhetoric and makes a real impact.

  1. Embrace Diversity in Perspectives:

Inclusive leaders value different backgrounds and cultures. So, actively seek diverse viewpoints within your team for innovative ideas.

  1. Use Inclusive Language:

Leaders, watch your words. Therefore, use language that makes everyone feel respected and understood, creating a workplace where everyone belongs.

  1. Provide Equal Opportunities and Bias Training:

Ensure everyone gets a fair chance. So, train leaders to recognize hidden biases, make decisions fairer, and build a more inclusive workplace.

  1. Listen to Employee Feedback:

Inclusive leaders listen. So, create a space where team members can openly share, boosting satisfaction and addressing unique needs.

  1. Set a Top-Down Culture of Inclusion:

Leadership sets the tone. Therefore, how through actions that inclusivity matters, from the top team to managers, creating an inclusive work environment.

  1. Invest in Inclusion Initiatives:

Support workplace initiatives. So, work with diversity leaders to foster an inclusive culture, making your organization an attractive place for diverse talent.

  1. Encourage Leadership for Everyone:

Offer leadership chances for all. So, promote gender balance and diversity, ensuring everyone has opportunities to grow. Inclusive leadership isn’t just right; it’s also smart, leading to a more innovative and successful workplace.


How to Nurture an Inclusive Culture with Employee Engagement and Belonging?

Building an inclusive culture goes beyond diversity—it’s about creating an environment where every team member feels engaged and valued. Here’s a quick guide:

  • Foster Inclusive Spaces: Celebrate diverse backgrounds for a more inclusive work culture.
  • Encourage Open Dialogue: Create safe spaces for open discussions to boost mutual respect and address unique needs.
  • Lead with Inclusive Language: Set a tone of respect, enhancing the overall employee experience.
  • Provide Equal Opportunities: Implement bias training for fair decision-making and a diverse workforce.
  • Support Inclusion Initiatives: Collaborate on efforts that make your workplace a great place for all.
  • Celebrate Diverse Contributions: Acknowledge and celebrate the unique talents within your workforce.
  • Encourage Feedback: Actively seek input to address concerns and enhance job satisfaction.
  • Promote Leadership Diversity: Encourage diversity in leadership roles for better decision-making.
  • Host Cultural Events: Organize events that bring different groups together and foster an open environment.
  • Prioritize Employee well-being: Recognize and address unique needs, creating a positive and inclusive work environment.

Embrace these practices for ongoing success in creating an inclusive workplace where everyone feels valued and motivated. 


How to Measure an Inclusive Culture?

Wondering if your organization truly embraces an inclusive culture? It’s more than a feeling—it’s about tangible indicators that reflect the depth of inclusivity within your workplace. 

Here are practical ways to measure and assess the inclusiveness of your organization:

  1. Employee well-being and Job Satisfaction:

Start by gauging employee well-being and job satisfaction. Happy employees are more likely to feel included and valued. So, regularly collect feedback to understand if your team members genuinely enjoy their work environment.

  1. Diverse Perspectives in Decision-Making:

Evaluate your decision-making processes. An inclusive culture welcomes diverse perspectives in the decision-making process, leading to more innovative ideas and better team performance.

  1. Open Dialogue and Safe Spaces:

Check the pulse of communication within your organization. Are there open dialogues and safe spaces for team members to share their thoughts? So, encouraging open communication fosters mutual respect and supports a sense of belonging.

  1. Leadership Diversity and Inclusive Language:

Assess your leadership team. An inclusive culture is reflected in diverse leadership roles. In addition, leaders who use inclusive language contribute to creating an environment where everyone feels heard and valued.

  1. Inclusion Training and Unconscious Bias:

Check how well inclusion training and unconscious bias programs are working. So, these efforts are crucial for building an inclusive environment. And regular training makes sure your team knows about biases and is ready to challenge them.

  1. Representation and Gender Balance:

Examine the representation across different groups in your organization, especially regarding gender balance. So, an inclusive workplace strives for equality, providing equal opportunities for all.

  1. Employee Retention and Feedback:

Monitor employee retention rates. A workplace that values diversity and inclusion tends to retain employees better. So, regularly seek employee feedback to understand their unique needs and contributions.

  1. Cultural Events and Inclusion Initiatives:

Assess how cultural events and inclusion initiatives are affecting things. These activities help build an inclusive culture, bringing various groups together and creating a more inclusive workplace.

  1. Innovation and New Ideas:

Assess the flow of new ideas within your organization. Inclusive cultures encourage the sharing of diverse perspectives, leading to innovative ideas that drive success.

  1. Authenticity and Sense of Belonging:

Finally, measure the authenticity within your workplace. A culture of inclusion encourages team members to be their authentic selves, fostering a strong sense of belonging.


What Are the Characteristics of an Inclusive Culture?

  1. Inclusive Environment and Safe Spaces:

An inclusive culture thrives on creating a safe and welcoming environment for all team members. It also fosters safe spaces where everyone can express themselves freely, contributing to a sense of belonging.

  1. Diverse Teams and Cultural Diversity:

Diversity isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a defining trait of an inclusive culture. Thus, it goes beyond the surface, embracing diverse teams and celebrating cultural diversity as a strength.

  1. Equal Opportunity and Leadership Roles:

Inclusivity means providing equal opportunities for everyone. Therefore, it’s reflected in the distribution of leadership roles, ensuring that diverse talents contribute to decision-making processes.

  1. Inclusive Language and Open Dialogue:

An inclusive culture communicates with respect. Thus, it uses inclusive language, encouraging open dialogue where diverse perspectives are not just heard but valued.

  1. Employee well-being and Job Satisfaction:

An inclusive workplace prioritizes employee well-being and job satisfaction. So, team members feel a sense of fulfillment, knowing their unique needs are considered and addressed.

  1. Innovation and New Ideas:

Inclusive cultures embrace diverse perspectives, leading to the generation of new ideas that drive the organization forward.

  1. Mutual Respect and Team Performance:

Mutual respect contributes to enhanced team performance as team members collaborate in an atmosphere of trust and respect.

  1. Inclusion Initiatives and Diversity Training:

Inclusive cultures actively engage in inclusion initiatives and ongoing diversity training. So, these initiatives reinforce the importance of inclusion and address unconscious biases.

  1. Recognition of Unique Contributions:

Every team member in an inclusive culture is valued for their unique contribution. 

  1. Employee Feedback and Continuous Improvement:

Feedback is a crucial aspect of an inclusive culture. So, organizations must actively seek employee feedback, viewing it as a valuable tool for continuous improvement and growth.


Top KPIs and Metrics to Promote an Inclusive Culture

  • Diversity in Leadership Roles: Monitor the representation of different groups in leadership roles. So, this KPI reflects your commitment to providing equal opportunities and fostering an inclusive workforce.

  • Employee well-being and Job Satisfaction: Happy employees contribute to a positive work environment and are a testament to the success of your inclusive initiatives.

  • Open Dialogue and Inclusive Language: Measure the frequency of open dialogue and the use of inclusive language. Thus, these metrics show how well you encourage communication and mutual respect.

  • Employee Retention Rates: A workplace that values diversity tends to retain employees better, leading to a more stable and engaged workforce.

  • Innovation and New Ideas: Assess the flow of new ideas within your organization. An inclusive culture promotes diverse perspectives, fostering innovation and creativity.

  • Effectiveness of Inclusion Training: Evaluate the impact of inclusion training programs. Regular training ensures that your team is equipped to address unconscious biases.

  • Cultural Events and Participation: Track the participation and engagement in cultural events. These events contribute to a culture of inclusion and show your organization’s commitment to embracing different cultures.

  • Employee Feedback and Improvement Initiatives: Regularly seek employee feedback and use this feedback as a guide for continuous improvement initiatives. So, this shows responsiveness to the concerns and experiences of your team.

  • Representation of Minority Groups: Examine the representation of minority groups within your workforce. This metric reflects your organization’s commitment to diversity and the inclusion of underrepresented groups.

  • Sense of Belonging and Authentic Selves: Measure the sense of belonging among team members and their ability to be their authentic selves at work. So, a high score indicates a more inclusive culture where employees feel accepted and valued.


The Challenges of Building Inclusive Culture in the Workplace

Building an inclusive culture is a noble pursuit, but it comes with its share of challenges. Therefore, acknowledging these obstacles is the first step toward overcoming them and fostering a workplace that truly embraces diversity and inclusion. 

Resistance to Change:

When trying to make a more inclusive environment, you might face resistance, especially from people who like things the way they are. So, to overcome this resistance, you must communicate clearly about the benefits and why it’s essential to create a workplace that includes everyone.

Unconscious Bias:

Despite the best intentions, unconscious biases can persist. Therefore, overcoming these biases demands ongoing efforts, including equal opportunity practices and regular unconscious bias training.

Lack of Leadership Buy-In:

Without support from the top, creating an inclusive workplace culture becomes an uphill battle. So, gaining leadership buy-in involves showcasing the business benefits, as highlighted by the Harvard Business Review, and aligning inclusion efforts with core values.

Diversity Without Inclusive Culture:

Having diverse teams doesn’t automatically translate to an inclusive culture. Thus, it requires intentional efforts to ensure everyone feels a sense of belonging, fostering an environment where diverse talents can contribute their best work.

Balancing Different Cultures:

Managing teams with different cultural backgrounds can be challenging. So, it requires promoting inclusive language, creating safe spaces, and encouraging open dialogue to bridge gaps and cultivate mutual respect.

Attracting and Retaining Diverse Talent:

Job seekers are increasingly drawn to organizations with inclusive cultures. So, attracting and retaining diverse talent requires showcasing a commitment to inclusion. It also includes continuously evaluating and improving the workplace environment.

Overcoming Stereotypes Through Inclusive Culture:

Stereotypes can impede the progress of building an inclusive workforce. So, overcoming stereotypes involves actively challenging preconceptions and celebrating the unique contributions of each team member.

Balancing Inclusive Culture with Job Performance:

Striking the right balance between inclusivity and job performance can be delicate. So, it involves navigating the decision-making process carefully, ensuring fair opportunities for all team members.

Continuous Learning and Adaptation:

Inclusion initiatives require ongoing learning and adaptation. So, stay abreast of best practices, participating in diversity training, and being open to new ways of fostering inclusion are vital building blocks.

Navigating Hot Topics:

Sensitive issues can arise, requiring your organization to navigate hot topics with care. So, encouraging open dialogue and providing safe spaces for discussion help address challenges related to diversity and inclusion.

Facing these challenges head-on is the extra mile needed to build an inclusive culture. While the journey may have its hurdles, the destination—a more inclusive and innovative workplace—is undoubtedly worth the effort.

Why I wrote this?

Ongig continues to advance its mission of creating effective and inclusive job descriptions. This mission directly relates to creating an inclusive culture in the modern workplace. Optimizing JDs with Ongig helps you leave a winning impression, attracting more top talent.



  1. Georgene Huang (Forbes) – 90% Of Fortune 500 Companies Already Have A Solution To Gender Equality But Aren’t Utilizing It
  2. Heidi Lynne Kurter (Forbes) Hiring Managers, Here Are 4 Useful Tips To Create More Inclusive Job Descriptions
  3. Anthony Karcz (Forbes) – Try One Of These 5 Pomodoro Timer Apps To Help You Stay Focused
  4. Taylor and Francis Online – Leaders as role models: Effects of leader presenteeism on employee presenteeism and sick leave
  5. The University of Nevada – Breaking the Cycle: The Effects of Role Model Performance and Ideal Leadership Self-Concepts on Abusive Supervision Spillover  
  6. Paige Bennett (Hubspot) – 5 Open Door Policy Examples
  7. HiPPO (highest paid person’s opinion, highest paid person in the office) (by Ed Burns)

by in Diversity and Inclusion