We are fortunate to have one of the critical pieces of the foundation for an inclusive workplace: the core values that shape our culture. Diversity and inclusion are inherent in our values. Nevertheless, as we grow rapidly – we hired 335 people in 2017 alone, and recently announced plans to double our workforce over the next five years – maintaining a sense of inclusion becomes more and more challenging. Like-minded teams start sticking more to themselves. We have jobs to finish and pressure to do them fast, efficiently, while ensuring we add value to our clients. When that happens, we tend to turn to what – or who – we know. This raises two potential problems. First, we don’t always have the best possible combination of minds at the table when we solve problems and make decisions. That can influence the outcome. And secondly, depending on the situation, others may feel excluded.
As we developed our inclusion strategy, one thing we did not do was create a top-down “future state” vision and detailed road map. While we use these tactics often in consulting to help clients conceive and plan for transformation, in this case we believed that the best result would come from helping our people understand the “why”, building a firm-wide foundation of inclusion, and focusing on inclusive collaboration. Without that, we felt we could not build the cultural shift we want. In other words, what could be a more powerful way of strengthening our culture of inclusion than having our whole organization collaborate to define and navigate the journey?