We hear a lot about diversity and inclusion, how important it is to be an inclusive organisation. 

Yes, inclusion will benefit a lot your organisation. When people belong, are heard, valued, feel every day they are an important part of the group, your organisation performs better, gets better results. 

But sometimes, this concept of inclusion can be a bit hard to understand and knowing how inclusive your organisation is can be tricky. 

So, in this article, I am taking inclusion the other way around. Instead of looking at how inclusive your organisation is, it can in fact be easier to spot how excluding or divisive your organisation is. It can be easier to spot dysfunctional behaviours. 

Here I am looking at some examples of behaviours that lead to dividing people in your organisation. 

  1. The different departments, teams do not work together 

Do you work in silos? Each department pursuing their own agenda with minimal consultation and communication between departments and teams? 

It can also be that people do not think that people in other areas have something relevant to say and contribute. 

Each area fights for their part of the cake but do not collaborate.  

Can you also see some tension and lack of cooperation and working together from the leadership team? 

  1. No strong onboarding procedure 

An important aspect of inclusion is to ensure that people feel they belong to the place and that they can see how they contribute to the progress of the organisation. 

And this begins right from the start. 

How is your onboarding procedure for new recruit? 

Are new recruits left to fend for themselves and find the information for themselves? Do they have to go meet people themselves? 

A good onboarding procedure includes amongst many other things that a new recruit knows even in advance of joining what the organisation is about. They have meetings scheduled with all the relevant people in the organisation for their position in the first few days. Short- and longer-term objectives and goals are set and agreed and expectations are clearly explained. 

  1. No written behaviours to follow 

It is in daily behaviours exhibited by everybody in the organisation that inclusion is shown, or not. 

Not having written behaviours to follow will lead to a lack of inclusion.  

Do you let people build their own behaviours? Are behaviours exhibited in your organisation inconsistent? Do they vary between departments, teams, level of the organisation? 

Have you let behaviours such as making fun of people, making inappropriate jokes, excluding people from events or getting information creep in? 

For sure, some behaviours will be different and be linked to the job people actually do. 

However, there will be some overarching behaviours that can be followed by everybody. 

  1. Blame, self-defence and lack of accountability 

Do people tend to blame each other? Do they pass accountability on others? Is accountability not well set at the start? 

Do people tend to find excuses for missing deadlines, targets? 

Does it often seem to be someone else’s fault or responsibility? 

  1. Biases 

We all have biases. They are a natural part of how our brain works. It doesn’t mean that biases are good. 

The problem is not with the biases themselves; it is with their ignorance. 

A lack of inclusion will show up in letting biases dictate actions and outcomes. 

Who do you hire? Are they similar types of people? Look at who you short list. Do you tend to not include some people in the short list? 

Do people tend to label others? 

Do people form groups, clicks based on characteristics that exclude some people from those groups? 

Here are just a few examples. It is hard to recognise and accept that such behaviours can be seen in your organisation. No organisation wants to see such behaviours. There will be some of these behaviours exhibited at some point in almost any organisation. 

If you take an objective look and find that you can spot some of these behaviours in your organisation, then it is time to do something. Behaviours can be changed to become more inclusive. 

The first thing to do is to get in touch and see what and how you can improve. 

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