Inclusion is something that companies have been focused on for quite some time in an effort to demonstrate their corporate values. Inclusion is simply accepting and including something-it could be another person in most cases. It is the idea of developing strategies to make tangible efforts to make people feel included in the workplace. 

Some companies will include inclusion as a value for the whole company to focus on and show in their performance. It is safe to assume that given it is a value in some companies, it is not considered second nature by people. One would think that people would naturally include others and yet that is not always the case. Some of this may be attributed to individual judgements and biases. Both have no part in the culture of a company. 

Inclusion is ironically included in many corporate job titles that focus on Diversity and Inclusion. It is a part of many company’s organizations to make sure that they drive the performance that values inclusion. Inclusion roles are typically aligned with Human Resources making them outside of the operations or other main functions. This may set up a conflict in some companies. 

Inclusion can be seen as a flavor of the month if the leadership of the company is not fully engaged in supporting it with their behaviors. Leadership plays a big role in supporting initiatives such as inclusion, diversity, and other strategies. It makes a difference how leadership models each of these topics in the organization. More importantly, leadership must be in alignment with these topics and the values in order to lead effectively to successful outcomes. 

While inclusion may be a buzzword of sorts, it is a very important part of this global workplace and economy we are all involved with at this time. It is rare to find companies that are so isolated that they do not need to focus on inclusion. There is always an opportunity for inclusion in the workplace. 

What occurs to me is that inclusion like other buzz topics, is that could we do it without the need for driving it. We have the ability to include others day in and day out in our lives so what is it about our work lives that causes us to have to be Told to include others. It goes back to the judgements and biases that we each hold and our inability to put them aside while at work or at all. These get in the way of productivity and teamwork and do indeed have a negative impact on the performance and profits of an organization. I am eager to see leaders institutionalize inclusion in ways that make it seem less and effort less. 


Phil Bohlender
Phil Bohlender

Phil is an experienced and enthusiastic leader with extensive expertise in business process improvement consulting, leadership and executive coaching, and meeting facilitation.