Why inclusive culture training matters: A must-have for modern businesses

Sandra Healy
CEO and Founder at inclusio
August 14, 2023 - 4 min read


What is inclusive culture training and how is it defined? 

Inclusive culture training is a process that aims to create an environment where everyone feels valued, respected, and included. It is a training program designed to help individuals and organizations understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and how to create a culture that supports it. The training covers a range of topics, including inclusive hiring and unconscious bias, cultural competence, and effective communication. 

The goal of inclusive culture training is to create a workplace culture where everyone feels valued, respected, and included. This type of culture is essential for modern businesses as it promotes innovation, employee engagement, and sustainable growth. Inclusive culture training helps individuals and organizations understand the benefits of diversity and how it can drive innovation and creativity. It also helps individuals develop the skills and knowledge needed to work effectively with people from diverse backgrounds. Inclusive culture training is an essential tool for modern businesses that want to create a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. It also helps organizations create policies and practices that support diversity and inclusion. By fostering an inclusive culture, businesses can drive innovation, employee engagement, and sustainable growth. 


Why is inclusive culture training important for businesses? 

Let's ask the experts! 

  • “Inclusion leads to an enhanced ability to adapt to changing market and environmental conditions and a better capacity for innovation, creativity, and responsiveness to diverse clients. An inclusive organization recognizes that a diverse workforce can offer insights into the preferences and needs of an increasingly diverse customer base.” Mor Barak, M. E. (2016). Managing diversity: Toward a globally inclusive workplace. Sage Publications. 
  • Nishii, L. H. (2013). The benefits of climate for inclusion for gender-diverse groups. Academy of Management Journal, 56(6), 1754-1774. “Inclusion climates are positively related to individuals’ feelings of uniqueness and belongingness, which, in turn, relate to increased creative work involvement, information sharing, and cooperative behaviors.” 
  • “Inclusion is expected to result in positive individual experiences, such as satisfaction, commitment, engagement, and feelings of empowerment and psychological safety. At the group level, inclusion should result in increased cohesion, communication, and collaboration.” Shore, L. M., Randel, A. E., Chung, B. G., Dean, M. A., Ehrhart, K. H., & Singh, G. (2011). Inclusion and diversity in work groups: A review and model for future research. Journal of Management, 37(4), 1262-1289. 
  • “Inclusion is about creating and sustaining an environment in which all members of an organization can participate actively and fully, both for the purpose of realizing the organization's goals and for their own personal development and well-being.” Ferdman, B. M. (2014). The practice of inclusion in diverse organizations: Toward a systemic and inclusive framework. In B. M. Ferdman & B. R. Deane (Eds.), Diversity at work: The practice of inclusion (pp. 3-54). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. 

And even more recent research has discovered: 


How can inclusive culture training help drive innovation? 

Creating an inclusive culture within your organization is essential for driving innovation. When employees from diverse backgrounds feel valued and included, they bring a wide range of perspectives, experiences, and ideas to the table.  

This diversity of thought can lead to more creative problem-solving and innovative solutions. By fostering an inclusive culture through training, you can encourage collaboration, open-mindedness, and a willingness to challenge the status quo.  

When employees feel comfortable expressing their ideas and opinions, they are more likely to contribute their unique insights, which can spark innovation and drive your business forward. 


What are the other benefits of inclusive culture training for modern businesses?  

Enhanced Employee Satisfaction and Engagement  

When employees feel valued and included, they are more likely to be motivated and committed to their work. Inclusive cultures foster a sense of belonging and create an environment where everyone's contributions are acknowledged and appreciated.  

By embracing diversity and creating an inclusive culture, businesses can boost employee morale and create a supportive work environment. Employees who feel included are more likely to be engaged, motivated, and loyal to the organization. This leads to higher levels of productivity, innovation, and overall success. 


Increased Innovation and Creativity  

One of the key benefits of inclusive culture training is its ability to foster diverse perspectives, which in turn leads to increased innovation and creativity. By promoting inclusivity, businesses can tap into the wealth of different experiences, backgrounds, and ideas that their employees bring to the table.  

When individuals from diverse backgrounds collaborate and share their unique perspectives, it sparks a creative synergy that can generate innovative ideas and solutions. Inclusive culture training helps create an environment where everyone feels valued and empowered to contribute their ideas, ultimately driving the development of groundbreaking products and services.


Improved Decision-Making and Problem-Solving  

One of the key benefits of inclusive culture training is that it enhances decision-making by leveraging diverse viewpoints. When teams are comprised of individuals from different backgrounds and experiences, they bring unique perspectives to the table. This diversity of thought enables more comprehensive analysis of challenges and opportunities, leading to better decision-making.  

Inclusive problem-solving approaches that consider a wide range of perspectives also yield significant benefits. By including individuals with diverse backgrounds and experiences, businesses can tap into a wealth of ideas and insights. This fosters creativity and innovation, allowing for more effective problem-solving and increased adaptability in an ever-changing business landscape. 


Higher Employee Retention and Talent Attraction 

Inclusive culture training plays a vital role in boosting employee retention rates. When employees feel valued, respected, and included in the workplace, they are more likely to stay with the company long-term. Additionally, an inclusive work environment acts as a magnet for top talent, as job seekers are increasingly seeking out organizations that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion. 


Better Customer Understanding and Satisfaction  

Inclusive culture training plays a crucial role in helping employees understand diverse customer needs. By promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the workplace, businesses can create a workforce that is more attuned to the unique challenges and preferences of their customers. This understanding leads to better customer experiences, increased satisfaction, and ultimately, stronger customer loyalty. 


Increased Productivity and Performance 

Did you know that inclusive culture training can actually boost productivity and performance in your organization? By fostering a sense of inclusivity, employees feel valued and supported, which leads to higher levels of engagement. When employees feel included and engaged, they are more motivated to perform at their best, resulting in improved productivity and better overall business outcomes. 


Mitigated Legal and Reputational Risks  

Inclusive culture training is not only about promoting fairness and equality, it also helps organizations comply with legal requirements. By providing employees with a deep understanding of diversity, equity, and inclusion, companies can reduce the risk of legal action and costly lawsuits. In addition, fostering inclusivity within the workplace helps to mitigate reputational risks associated with discrimination or exclusionary practices. 


Enhanced Team Collaboration and Synergy  

By fostering an inclusive environment where everyone's perspectives are valued, teams can leverage the diverse skills and experiences of their members, leading to more innovative and effective solutions. Inclusive teamwork enables individuals to feel heard and appreciated, creating a sense of belonging and trust that enhances collaboration and synergy. 


What are the consequences of not having inclusive culture training in the workplace? 

One of the consequences of not implementing an inclusive culture training program is the perpetuation of unconscious biases and stereotypes. Without proper education and awareness, employees may unknowingly engage in discriminatory behaviour or language, which can create a toxic work environment and negatively impact employee morale and productivity. 

Another consequence of not having an inclusive culture training program is the potential for legal and reputational risks. Discrimination and harassment lawsuits can be costly and damaging to a company's reputation. In addition, customers and clients may choose to do business with companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, leading to a loss of revenue and market share. 

A lack of inclusive culture training can also lead to a lack of diversity in hiring and promotion practices. Without proper education and awareness, hiring managers and decision-makers may unconsciously favour candidates who fit a certain mould, leading to a homogenous workforce that lacks diverse perspectives and experiences. This can limit innovation and creativity, and ultimately hinder a company's ability to compete in a rapidly changing business landscape. 

Finally, not implementing an inclusive culture training program can lead to a high turnover rate and difficulty in retaining top talent. Employees who feel undervalued or excluded are more likely to leave a company, leading to increased recruitment and training costs. On the other hand, companies that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion are more likely to attract and retain top talent, leading to a more engaged and productive workforce. 


What are some examples of successful inclusive culture training programs in modern businesses? 

Inclusive culture training programs have become increasingly popular in modern businesses. One example of a successful program is the one implemented by Starbucks. In 2018, the coffee giant closed all its stores for a day to provide racial bias training to its employees. The training included interactive sessions, videos, and discussions to help employees understand their unconscious biases and how to create a more inclusive environment for customers and colleagues. The program received positive feedback from employees and customers alike, demonstrating the effectiveness of inclusive culture training. 

Another example of a successful inclusive culture training program is the one implemented by Accenture. The consulting firm has a comprehensive diversity and inclusion training program that includes workshops, coaching, and leadership development. The program aims to create a culture of inclusion by educating employees on the importance of diversity and how to create an inclusive workplace. As a result, Accenture has been recognized as one of the best companies for diversity and inclusion, attracting and retaining top talent from diverse backgrounds. 

Salesforce is another company that has implemented a successful inclusive culture training program. The cloud computing company has a program called Trailhead, which offers online courses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. The courses cover topics such as unconscious bias, inclusive leadership, and creating an inclusive workplace. The program has been successful in creating a culture of inclusion, with Salesforce being recognized as one of the best places to work for diversity and inclusion. 

These examples demonstrate that inclusive culture training programs can be effective in creating a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. By educating employees on the importance of diversity and inclusion, companies can foster a culture that values different perspectives and experiences, leading to innovation, employee engagement, and sustainable growth. 


About the Author: 

Sandra is an Organisational Psychologist and NLP Master Practitioner. Over 17 years she has championed and driven diversity and inclusion practice across industry and is considered a leading expert. In 2014, she was involved in establishing the EU Diversity Charter Ireland. In 2020 Sandra was a member of the Expert Advisory Group for Ireland’s Citizens Assembly.

Read Full Bio