There’s rarely a day when companies are not outed on the news or social media for lacking in diversity, equity, and inclusion practices. DEI has become more than just a buzzword. It’s an expected part of the organizational culture and integral to finding, retaining, and developing the best talent. It’s been directly tied to a more profitable bottom line and is the responsibility of leaders to implement.
Many organizations believe that they have strong inclusionary practices and have implemented a dedicated plan of action. However, more often than not, we find that there is a lack of INTENTIONAL INCLUSION. What does this mean?
“Intentional Inclusion is a proactive strategic approach to consciously create a workplace environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and belonging,” says Dr. Carrie Spell-Hansson, CEO of The Folke Institute. “Too often, the sense of urgency or commitment to doing so only exists after there has been internal organizational strife or social unrest — sometimes at catastrophic proportions. That is reactionary inclusion.”
Intentional vs Reactionary Inclusion
As Dr. Spell-Hansson says, if we are not being intentional then we are being reactionary in our approach to DEI. Our time is spent cleaning up problems that hinder the growth that we could have been realizing.
Ask yourself, are you practicing intentional inclusion? Does your commitment to DEI policies and practices go beyond the superficial? Are you investing in people or are you simply managing diversity numbers? Are the opportunities to succeed available to everyone or are there unconscious roadblocks and biases that get in the way?
Intentional Inclusion cannot be achieved if it’s approached with a one-size fits all mindset or given mere lip service. It rests on the shoulders of leadership to ask tough questions and devise the right way forward. As a leader, can you say that your organization is intentionally implementing inclusionary practices with conviction?
An intentional leader accepts responsibility for their team and the environment they work in. Intentional leaders are self-aware of personal biases, vocal advocates, and actively stage opportunities to grow the corporate culture to be more accepting and diverse.
The key is knowing where the gaps and inequities lie within your organization. To make impactful change, those barriers must be removed. Team members must know where their value lies and how they contribute to the success of your organization. When team members are willing to take risks and share ideas openly, it is not just a sign of an inclusive culture, it is a demonstration that they are invested, feel empowered, and know there are growth opportunities.
Let’s Talk More
Show your team your dedication to being an intentional leader and building an intentionally inclusive culture. The Folke institute offers transformative learning opportunities in all areas of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We look forward to building a tailored program that supports your organization’s specific needs. Let’s connect.