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Develop an Inclusion Strategy to Leverage Diversity and Drive Innovation

An inclusive culture is the key to unlocking the benefits of diversity.


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  • Sondra Thiederman, Ph.D., Consultant, Cultivating Common Ground
  • Andrew Moir, Interior Design Manager, Hyundai North America
  • Nancy Buonanno Grennan, HR Director, King County Government
  • Dynasti Hunt, VP of HR, Rocketship Education
  • Evelyn Lemoine, Vice President, People Programs, Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce
  • Catherine Gordon, HR Director, David Suzuki Foundation
  • Ed Cooley, Executive General Manager, Organisation Design & Development, SunCorp
  • Angie Hamilton, Sr. HR Director, National MS Society
  • Thomas Sasso, Co-Founder at Sexual and Gender Diversity Research Lab, University of Guelph
  • Michael Bach, CEO, Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion
  • Samantha Brennan, Professor in Feminist Research & Philosophy, Western University
  • Howard Ross, Founder, CLO Cook Ross Inc.
  • Catherine (Cato) Clune-Taylor, Researcher & LGBTQ Activist, Instructor, University of Alberta
  • Fernan Ricardo Cepero, Vice President Human Resources, The YMCA of Greater Rochester
  • Stefan Palios, Consultant at Info-Tech Research Group, Community LGBTQ Activist

Your Challenge

  • Despite years of diversity initiatives, workplaces remain surprisingly homogenous in many cases, especially at the executive level.
  • A diverse workforce that is not properly managed can lead to workplace conflict, lower engagement and productivity, animosity between employees, and higher turnover.

Our Advice

Critical Insight

  • Diversity is increasingly recognized as a source of tremendous benefit for organizations: differences in thought, background, and experiences lead to increased innovation and insight.
  • Diversity is now convincingly linked to a number of financial benefits. Diverse companies have greater revenue and market share.
  • An inclusive culture is critical to accessing all of the business benefits of diversity. Without an inclusive culture, employees do not feel free to express divergent opinions and bring their best insights to the workplace, and talent remains hidden.
  • Inclusion empowers everyone to contribute to their fullest potential, which boosts productivity, drives innovation, and increases revenue.

Impact and Result

  • Inclusion is the key to leveraging the benefits of diversity; without an inclusive environment, the power of diversity remains untapped.
  • Provide education and training around unconscious bias for all employees – this is a crucial first step to creating an inclusive culture by raising awareness of and addressing inequities.
  • Unlock the organizational benefits of diversity by creating an inclusive environment where differences are celebrated, debate is encouraged, and diversity of thought leads to innovative solutions.
  • Create an inclusive environment by gaining feedback from employees and assessing organization data to uncover key areas where you lack of inclusiveness. With the input of stakeholders, build out action steps for improving your level of inclusiveness throughout all areas of the organization and employee lifecycle.

Research & Tools

1. Form a diversity and inclusion (D&I) committee and set the vision

Form and hold a kick-off meeting with the D&I committee and draft a D&I vision statement.

2. Assess the current state of D&I and establish goals

Gather and analyze internal and external D&I data to assess the current state and establish high-level goals.

3. Create a culture of inclusion to leverage diversity

Provide training to employees; determine how to create an organizational brand for D&I awareness; identify action items to deliver on D&I goals.

4. Promote D&I throughout the employee lifecycle

Identify action items to reinforce D&I throughout the employee lifecycle and to deliver on high-level D&I goals.

5. Implement your inclusion strategy

Communicate strategy to the organization through the CEO; train managers and hold department-level D&I workshops; establish metrics for tracking and reviewing progress.

Guided Implementations

This guided implementation is a seven call advisory process.

Guided Implementation #1 - Form a diversity and inclusion (D&I) committee and set the vision

Call #1 - Gain advice on establishing a steering committee.
Call #2 - Review D&I vision statement.

Guided Implementation #2 - Assess the current state of D&I and establish goals

Call #1 - Gain advice for using the D&I Diagnostic and get feedback on your assessment.

Guided Implementation #3 - Create a culture of inclusion to leverage diversity

Call #1 - Discuss tactics for creating a culture of inclusion in your organization.
Call #2 - Discuss how to provide D&I training for different stakeholder groups.

Guided Implementation #4 - Promote D&I throughout the employee lifecycle

Call #1 - Gain advice on how to apply D&I principles to all areas of HR.

Guided Implementation #5 - Implement the inclusion strategy

Call #1 - Validate your implementation plan to ensure success.

Onsite Workshop

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Onsite workshops offer an easy way to accelerate your project. If you are unable to do the project yourself, and a Guided Implementation isn't enough, we offer low-cost onsite delivery of our project workshops. We take you through every phase of your project and ensure that you have a roadmap in place to complete your project successfully.

Module 1: Create a Vision Statement and Assess Current State

The Purpose

  • Create a vision for D&I for the organization.
  • Identify the focus areas for the organization and establish organizational goals based on these points.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Vision of the organization is defined and gap areas are detected
  • High-level goals are devised to help propel the D&I strategy into the organization




Establish your D&I vision.

  • Clear D&I vision statement

Analyze the data gathered by conducting a gap analysis.

  • Documented areas of improvement

Establish your high-level goals using the outcome of your gap analysis and the Diversity and Inclusion Diagnostic.

  • High-level D&I goals identified

Module 2: Establish Action Steps for Creating an Inclusive Organization

The Purpose

  • Understand what items and criteria will shape a culture of inclusivity.
  • Create action items specific to the D&I strategy that will aid in implementation.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Interpret findings and design a plan with action items for implementing a D&I strategy




Identify criteria for creating an inclusive environment.

  • Inclusivity criteria identified

Document action plan items and the next steps you will take to create an inclusive culture.


Determine and document specific action items you will implement in your D&I strategy.


Prioritize specific action items you will implement as part of your D&I strategy.

  • Detailed action items are defined

Module 3: Plan the D&I Strategy Implementation to Ensure Success

The Purpose

  • Recognize actions that will benefit managers in the implementation of D&I.

Key Benefits Achieved

  • Smooth implementation
  • Greater adoption of D&I strategy into the organization




Create a list of actions that managers can take to implement D&I.

  • Developed a plan to prepare managers for implementation of the inclusion strategy