Creating an Environment of Inclusion
A health-care company with 1000+ employees
The organization had a diverse population and there were concerns in three areas:
1. Muslim employees were feeling isolated.
2. A lesbian employee felt that she was being treated differently by her supervisor.
3. There was a level of frustration in their IT department and lack of cohesive leadership from above.
After a needs analysis, a cultural assessment was conducted using questionnaires and focus groups for the employees and one-on-one interviews with senior management. Individual coaching was given to the VP of IT to enable her to develop the core leadership skills necessary to lead this group.
The cultural assessment revealed that there were issues with creating an environment of inclusion within their organization…particularly around individuals who were recent immigrants from other countries and a lesbian employee. In addition, there was a feeling of isolation and separation surrounding the IT group who also expressed that they felt a lack of appreciation from the rest of the organization. There were deep divisions within this group that the new VP was unable to bridge. Continuing training and coaching was recommended for this department.
Within six months, the following changes had taken place:
- The client had started an education initiative to highlight different cultural celebrations by email and through a “brown bag” lunch series with diversity and inclusion speakers
- Coaching for the supervisor of the lesbian employee had helped him to develop better communication and leadership skills and reduced the stress of their interaction and averted the probability of litigation
- Coaching for the VP of IT helped develop her communication skills
- Highlighting the contributions of the IT department helped to focus positive attention on their department and simple team building exercises helped to develop their identity as a team.
The success of this initiative was due to the high level of commitment of the CEO and VP of HR to developing an environment of mutual respect and inclusion.