Personal experience of inclusion: Critical to winning the war for talent

Here is an excerpt from an article written by , , and for the McKinsey Quarterly, published by McKinsey & Company. Seven practices can improve personal experiences of inclusion and help diverse teams thrive.To read the complete article, check out others, learn more about the firm, and sign up for email alerts, please click here.

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Previously, we described the basic building blocks of the McKinsey inclusion assessment and the 10 key management practices to enhance employees’ perceptions of organizational inclusivity. We now shift our attention to the seven practices that help improve employees’ personal experience of inclusion. These are categorized into what peers/teammates do to support their colleagues and how leaders can help diverse teams thrive.

While most organizations adopt policies and programs to protect employees from mistreatment and discrimination, these steps are essentially table stakes. Often overlooked are the personal experiences of inclusion driven by employees’ daily interactions with peers/teammates and leaders.

Personal experience of inclusion: Critical to win the war for talent

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Peers/Teammates: Creating a safe, collaborative environment

Employees’ daily encounters with peers and teammates largely shape what is socially accepted, which ideas get heard, and whether bias is challenged or amplified. Research on workforce diversity and allyship point to four key practices peers/teammates can adopt to enhance personal experiences of inclusion:

  • 1. Allyship: Supporting and learning about other employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences.
  • 2. Mutual respect: Showing genuine concern for each other’s well-being and a commitment to treating each other fairly and respectfully.
  • 3. Idea integration: Being open and receptive to others’ ideas and opinions, even if they are different from one’s own.
  • 4. Peer support: Helping each other and inspiring confidence in one another’s ability to meet work goals.

One professional sports organization doubled down on these practices as part of its diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) journey. The organization created an ally network that truly taught employees how to be an ally, including responding to microaggressions and building supportive micro-habits. However, they still found that many employees avoided speaking up for fear of making matters worse.

To address this, the organization rolled out guides to help employees engage in deliberate conversations to embark on a journey of repair when unintended consequences inevitably happened. Employees soon reported greater comfort with allyship and higher levels of inclusion, especially within underrepresented employee populations.

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Here is a direct link to the complete article.

 advises clients across various industries in creating and sustaining high-performing workplaces with particular expertise in culture, organization design, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
builds and deploys organizational assessment tools and leads research on organizational culture, inclusion, leadership, and talent
serves private- and public-sector clients on large-scale organizational transformations, strengthening performance and health through enhanced culture, values, leadership, and talent systems
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