How to Cultivate a Culture of Inclusion and Belonging

The world has been going through some pretty big changes lately.

And to keep up with the times, we’ve had to change a lot of the things we do, including how we work. Nowadays, employees have higher expectations of their employers, and they’re willing to voice their needs. 

A major concern for employees is feeling safe and empowered to bring their best selves to work. After all, doesn’t everyone deserve to feel this way? 

As a result, many companies are now putting a lot of effort, and money, into diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 

But here’s the thing: despite good intentions, progress has been slow. That’s because many organisations still don’t really understand inclusion, or how to make it an integral part of their culture. 

That’s why at Kultralab, we conducted some ground-breaking research into how to truly cultivate a culture of inclusion and belonging. Our findings led us to create a blueprint which organisations can use to measure inclusion within their own culture. The blueprint consists of five key pillars: Awareness, Insight, Strategy, Commitment, and Behaviour. Each of the pillars work together, feeding into the next to create a holistic approach to fostering inclusion. And believe us, it’s a game-changer.  

Ready to find out more? 

Pillar 1 – Awareness

Inclusion and belonging - Awareness

In order to create a truly inclusive culture, it can help to have an awareness of inclusion and why it’s important. And to build awareness, education is needed. 

Whilst traditional inclusion courses can be valuable, they often fall short in providing long-lasting change; that’s because our brains tend to forget 90% of new knowledge within two weeks!     

Instead, we can try targeting motivation and engagement.   

An effective way to do this is to harness the power of storytelling. By opening the floor for diverse individuals to share their stories and perspectives without judgement, it’s possible to create a space where everyone can learn from each other’s experiences and challenge their beliefs.  

These perspectives can then be used to improve our daily practices such as our values.  

By entrusting our people with co-creating company values that are both relevant to them and centred around inclusion, learning becomes enjoyable and impactful. 

What could you learn by embracing the diverse stories of those around you?

Pillar 2 – Insight

Inclusion and belonging - Insight

With a clear understanding of inclusion, we can begin to explore how it operates within our own organisation. To achieve this, data is key.

Gathering data through engagement surveys, focus groups, and interviews can help us understand the challenges our people face and create targeted solutions. 

To gain meaningful insights, it’s important for our data to represent all of the voices within our workforce. Additionally, ensuring diverse individuals feel comfortable sharing their open and honest experiences can help us get to the heart of the issues they face. This requires trust. Establishing trust with our people involves full transparency; this means telling them what their insights are being used for and what changes they can expect to see.

How could you create an environment where diverse individuals feel comfortable sharing their experiences?

Pillar 3 – Strategy

Inclusion and belonging - Strategy

Armed with powerful insights, we can build a clear and intentional approach to fostering inclusion.

Creating an effective strategy involves tailoring it to meet the specific needs of our people. This means using the insights we’ve gathered to inform goals that are specific, actionable and time-bound, then regularly testing and seeking feedback from employees to ensure it’s fit for purpose.  

Sometimes, this process may feel uncomfortable. That’s because finding solutions that directly address the problem requires thinking critically about our current ways of doing things, including our fears, concerns and gaps in knowledge.

What does a strategy that fosters inclusion look like for your organisation?

Pillar 4 – Commitment

Inclusion and belonging - Commitment

Creating a strategy is one thing, but delivering meaningful change is another. 

If you intend to stick it out for the long haul, commitment is crucial. This means having a genuine willingness to make tangible changes, despite challenges. This might include dedicating time to inclusion initiatives, providing training and development opportunities, or adjusting how we hire and promote.

Inclusion is a continuous journey, one that involves regularly assessing the changes made and being prepared to adapt our approach when needed. 

How far are you willing to drive inclusion?

Pillar 5 – Behaviour

Inclusion and belonging - Behaviour

Behaviour is another vital part of shaping an inclusive culture; it affects how people interact with one another, reinforces values and establishes norms.   

Leadership commitment and allyship are a key part of this process. When demonstrating behaviours like respect, empathy, and fairness, it creates a ripple effect.  

However, creating a culture of inclusion and belonging requires a whole-person, whole-organisation commitment. To promote inclusion at every level, leaders can appoint change champions within their teams to help drive inclusion initiatives. 

What behaviours could you display to foster an inclusive culture?

Cultivating a culture of inclusion and belonging requires a comprehensive, ongoing approach; one that’s intentionally curated to meet the unique needs of our people.  

By committing to the five pillars outlined above, organisations can create workplaces where everyone feels valued, accepted, and empowered to thrive.  

To learn more about how Kultralab is partnering with organisations to help them promote positive, long-term and sustainable behavioural change through our Kultra app, please get in touch – info@kultralab.com.  To download your copy of ‘The Power of Difference’ report click here.