A good inclusion strategy should entail support. Usually, companies want to include minorities in an homogeneous group. The homogeneous group is usually made of men and the minorities are either women or people from a different ethnicity. There is a need of adaptation for all employees who will need some kind of support to go through the transition. Let's imagine for a minute that each group is a primary color. Your aim as a company is to use all colors you have in order to create a more colorful picture. You can either mix colors together or let them separated which will only let you with the three primary colors that we know. Alone they are blue, red, and yellow and if you start to mix them thousands of colors can be created or they can be used to make each other more visible. You have more options. Your work as a leader is to make sure that the mixing takes place and correspond to your goals. You have to support the colors to make sure that the mixing does not ends up into chaos.

We have a tendency to expect that the minority changes and adapts to the majority codes of conducts, beliefs, expectations and so on. Basically, we ask them to change their colors away. This is a desire of integration, not of inclusion. Integration means people must change themselves to be accepted. They must become red even if they are definitely yellow. Some women must have behaved like men earlier in order to go forward for example . This is a denial of our differences and richness. Inclusion allows everyone to keep his color and mix his colorful ideas, competences and experience with the one of others making the everything richer and more adaptable to a multicolored world.

We already explored the other factors that influence inclusion: fairness, openness, cooperation. Let's talk about Support.

A. A definition of support

Inclusion of a diverse workforce in a company is influenced by the support offered before, during and after the inclusion. The word "support" is very vague and it took me some time and research to grasp its meaning. The main idea behind support is that you are reinforcing someone else actions.

What does it mean to support employees when you are trying to include them in a new team. It means preparing the people who are already there so that they are welcoming and accept the new person. It is making sure that every person is treated fairly, openly and that the are included in the cooperation. It is to support the inclusion process by giving it a body of rules and making sure that positive actions are taken. You need to support all employees. 

B. How to create a support strategy my your company? 

Preparation is a must. You need to identify potential issue that may be faced when including someone who does not fit in the "current" company. In the case that the person is already in the compamy the rules are the same. Find out what causes problem and estimate what type of actions you can take in order to address the issues. You can find out quiet easily what type of problems or missunderstanding exist. We also have to acknowledge that minorities may face unethical behavior and need the support of the company to stop them. Ignoring the problem of racism and sexism does not stop it. It makes it acceptable. Most of the time people are left alone and do not feel that they would be listened of they complained or worst they complained and were ignored.

5 Steps to support your employees defined as "diversed" 

  1. Acknowledge the need of a support strategy (racism and sexism issues for example, handicapped people also face problems)
  2. Find out what the people in the minority experience
  3. Work on rules of do's and don'ts (list behavior that you will not tolerate and indicate the punishment)
  4. Create a specific role to collect and work on complains
  5. Review the level of inclusion regularly. 
There is nothing worst than silence when it comes to abusive or borderline behavior. Saying nothing is accepting it. As a leader it is your role to stand up for those who decided to follow you. 
Say no to racism, sexism, xenophobia and any other kind of exclusion because our richness is in our diversity.
In the last two blog-post, I described the first two habits of inclusion. fairness and  openness. The principle of inclusion is also related to the capacity of companies to foster cooperation. This habit is primordial for teamwork which is usually part of companies daily life. The levels of cooperation required depends on the employee's tasks. Eastern culture are more individualistic in the sense that everyone is responsible for his own success or failure which can push some of us to be uncooperative. We usually see win-lose prevail and again it depends on the company culture. In this regard developing more cooperative companies may be a challenge because we face cultural mindset and habits. Habits that originated from the culture we live in can be difficult to change because we usually lack the distance to see our own discrepancies. I found it easier to understand the french culture after living abroad, for example. Awareness is always the first step to start a process of change.

A. A definition of cooperation

It is important to agree on what we understand under cooperation before going forward. Dictionaries are our best friends when it come to define a word and we can use our intellect, past experiences, culture and a good discussion in order to elaborate a definition that sounds right to us, to the company. Here is the definition of the oxford dictionary :"The action or process of working together to the same end:" This definition when taken at the company level implies that employees have the same goal and that they take action or follow a process together to achieve it. What does it mean to you? What is your company goal? What are the actions or processes that employees can take to achieve the company's goal?

It is a good idea to sit down with your colleagues and define what cooperation is and how it should look like in your company. If you see people work against each other then you really need to sit down and ask yourself what brought them to be hostile with one another. There are many more reasons for a lack of cooperation one of them is the lack of a clear vision or policies that do not foster cooperation. Employees of your company must know why they are working and see that cooperation is rewarded. No more individual prime for success for example. Otherwise, they start to run in different direction and try to get more rewards for themselves. Cooperation cannot arise when people do not have a common sense of what is expected from them.

B. How can we create a more cooperative workplace?

Cooperation arise when people forget about their individuality and start to care for the greater goal and you can do that by developing policies that encourage and reward cooperation. The result of all our efforts is greater than the sum of our individuality. It is really truth that together we are stronger because we are divers and face the same situation with different mindsets and solutions. We can bring our energy together to move those mountains, fly to the moon... 

After an accident people will rise together to save the victims. The aim is clear: save as much people as possible. We forget about our differences and diverging opinions. We focus on now and how to save them. All big movements are made of people believing in the same future and feeling rewarded for it. This common goal is the basis of all further actions. Companies can hope for the same bound to exist between their employees. Their effort is to create a compelling Vision and policies that call the attention and hearts of their employees. The selection of employees is also a big part of companies success. You want to have employees who believe that your vision is achievable and get motivated by your incentives. You want employees whose aspiration is to achieve your vision. You need diversity in cooperation so that as many solutions as possible are generated until cooperation fuels your company to success. 

The five habits of inclusive companies: 

  5. THE 5TH HABIT OF INCLUSION: Employee empowerment