Why modern organizations should prioritize inclusive leadership in their agendas and how internal communication actions can promote inclusion and diversity in companies.

Let’s promote inclusion and diversity

“Every leader must have the flexibility to develop and use different skills according to the people and the different situations that surround him/her. However, the main skill, both for leaders and for teams, is empathy. To develop it, it’s important to manage the unconscious biases that each person has and work hard on active listening and constructive communication,” says Sabrina Rodriguez, founder of Meraki Consultoría, an Oxean’s spin-off focused on Triple Impact Management.

As we can see, leadership can really create changes in companies:  leaders who give importance to participation in corporate decision-making, those who promote sociocracy and keep their communication channels always open, are also the ones who better manage and implement positive changes in their work environments, as researchers Bengü Hırlak and Ergün Kara discuss in an article published in the journal Studies on Interdisciplinary Economics and Business.

And the best way to promote diversity and inclusion in companies is empowering leaders to manage teams in an open and collaborative way, deconstruct negative behaviors, discuss them in public and provide the corresponding support in private, more than ever in this era of remote work.

“Behaviors that negatively affect employees can go unnoticed during remote work. People may feel that they are not being heard, that they are being cut off from resources or that they’re unable to do the same amount of work while at home. It is during this critical time that we find the true potential of diversity and inclusion within teams,” says Stephanie Stoudt-Hanses, Senior Director Analyst at Gartner consultancy.

Inclusion, a trending topic in organizations?

 Having inclusion and diversity policies is key for organizations… The lack of them could even jeopardize their subsistence.

  • However, only 2% of companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico are committed to inclusive leadership, according to Forbes.

  • And there’s more: 75% of business leaders consider inclusion and diversity to be a priority, but have not yet applied practices that promote them.

This delay obviously works to the detriment of companies. “Millennials and Centennials are the most involved generations in these issues, therefore, those companies that do not manage diversity, have an alert regarding the potential rotation and the economic impact that this entails”, warns the Founder of Meraki Consultancy.

The advantages of inclusive leadership for teams and organizations

As we’ve seen, having inclusive leaders is a priority for modern organizations. Sabrina Rodriguez details more benefits:

Internal advantages for the organization:

  • Higher performance of teams.
  • Attraction of new talents.
  • Inclusive organizational culture.
  • Motivation and better sense of belonging.
  • Innovation and productivity.

Advantages for the organization's external relations:

  • Investor credibility.
  • In the market: quality, availability of people.
  • Subsidies and incentives from public administrations.

Economic benefits:

  • Image and reputation.
  • Employer brand.
  • Increased market opportunities -competitive advantages.
  • Customer satisfaction.

It’s clear that inclusive leadership is a trending topic in the corporate agenda. However, in some organizations, implementing strategies in this line, it’s taking longer than in others. Nonetheless, in the long term it will be a priority and an exclusive condition to survive in the diverse market.

Meraki Consultoría accompanies companies in the cultural transformation for sustainable development: from the analysis of the organization in socio-environmental issues, to the strategies and tactics, so that this evolution of culture, people and processes, transcends.

We work under the premise of the BIA management methodology (Business Impact Assessment that measures and certifies B Companies) as a business model, and from there, adapt the policies, practices, values and commitment to generate positive impact for companies, communities, people and the environment; oriented to Diversity, Inclusion and Gender Equity.

What can be done to make Internal Communication more inclusive?

Internal communication is a departament from which you can make a real difference in inclusive leadership and diversity.

The communications of a company, both internal and external, are incredibly visible, so much so that they can even define the culture of the organization. Therefore, they must also clearly convey its approach to inclusion.

For the founder of Meraki Consultoría, “having a non-discrimination policy is the starting point, from there, IC strategies and the organizational culture are articulated”. According to her, the strategy that should predominate in organizations is “People first language”, that emphasizes skills and not vulnerability.

The expert affirms that companies should define their communication style (formal or informal) and construct and revalidate this communicational culture together with collaborators. “Even more regarding gender perspective communication, which still seems to be an issue that generates different positions of acceptance/rejection within companies,” concludes.