A close friend I’ve known since our college days recently shared a compelling story that emphasized the importance of company culture and inclusion. Despite being one of the brightest individuals I’ve ever encountered, with an uncanny knack for navigating complex business scenarios, he was at a crossroads. His remarkable problem-solving acumen had catapulted him to a leadership role in just three short years, with a VP title adorning his door by the seventh year.
Yet, as he ascended the corporate ladder, he began to sense a chilling shift — a cultural transformation that was anything but positive. At a casual lunch, he confided, “The more responsibility I held, the more I felt my perspective was overlooked. It was as if my urge to innovate was seen as a threat.” Despite his rapid rise, the investment in his education and the many responsibilities entrusted to him, he felt increasingly alienated. It wasn’t solely about him either; his colleagues related with his feelings of discontent. The company he loved was unwilling to invest the time and financial resources necessary to fix its broken culture. As a result, a dedicated “lifer” wanted out.
A gaslighting exchange marked his departure from the company. The CEO lamented, “You know we’ll need four people to fill your shoes.” Without missing a beat, my friend responded, “A wise man once told me ‘Never clutch a dime so tightly that you miss the chance to grasp a dollar.'”
This tale isn’t about one individual’s journey but rather reflects countless employees’ experiences worldwide. In a rapidly evolving business landscape, there’s an undeniable and consistent truth: nurturing culture and inclusion isn’t merely a luxury or trend — it’s a necessity for sustainable success.
The Business Case for Culture and Inclusion
Companies that neglect the essential fabric of inclusion do so at their own risk. Culture and inclusion aren’t just ethereal concepts — they directly influence your organization’s financial health. Here’s how:
- Reduced turnover: An inclusive environment makes employees feel valued and reduces the desire to look elsewhere for employment.
- Improved hiring: An organization known for its positive culture attracts top talent.
- Boosted productivity: Employees who feel included are more engaged and produce better results.
- Enhanced loyalty and passion: When individuals feel like they belong, their dedication to the company’s mission grows exponentially.
In essence, a company that values culture and inclusivity can save and earn increased profits because a healthy work environment allows employees to thrive. The effects of prioritizing an inclusive work culture can also go beyond internal efforts to positively impact the client experience.
A happy, engaged workforce often translates to satisfied customers. For instance, according to a 2018 McKinsey report, companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 21% more likely to outperform on profitability. Notably, those in the top quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability.
Before your business can experience the positive outcomes of an open and productive work environment, you must first assess your culture’s current state.
The Heart of the Matter: Getting to the Root of Culture
Want to better understand the depth and intricacies of your company’s culture? Consider employing the 5 Whys technique. When facing a cultural concern, don’t stop at the surface — ask why, then when you get an answer, ask why again. Continue this cycle until you reach the genuine root of the issue. It’s a simple yet profound method to unpack your organization’s realities, ensuring any interventions are effective and impactful.
Cultivate Success With Creative Planning Business Services
At Creative Planning Business Services, we understand the intricate dance between culture, inclusion and business success. Through our customized cultural assessments, we tap into the feelings and perspectives of employees from every level of your organization. We identify what’s going right, recognize barriers and pinpoint opportunities for enhancement so that your business can achieve its goals with an empowered workforce.
Don’t leave your organization’s potential untapped. Connect with our team today to learn more about our range of consulting services and how they can transform your business.
 Source: McKinsey “Delivering through Diversity” 2018