Inclusion can create a stronger team

By Cheryl L. Kane

July 25. Strong companies with longevity are those who adapt quickly to change. This is often because they share and put new information from customers, suppliers, and competitors to use, fast, much faster than other companies.

How do they collect and put information to work so fast? How do they get employees to become a highly skilled team? Could it be the way their culture is so inclusive that—individually—team members feel more valued, important, and mission-critical than in other companies, so they all work better-together? How does a culture help every member enthusiastically contribute? By seeking out and rewarding the outcome of inclusion, teamwork, and equitable processes. And by having zero tolerance for activities or practices that inhibit diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Know what you need

All job descriptions should be specific and current, or managers can rely on too much subjectivity during hiring, managing, and employee evaluations. Best practices support defining job descriptions and specifications with criteria that is primarily objective and can be measured from the initial hiring interview throughout the employment period.

If you seek teamwork, then define what it specifically requires. Define requirements for collaboration with other team members, timely communication of problem prevention, and documented idea sharing that supports organizational outcomes.

Hire well


Find the best “team” members. You can’t build a house with a weak foundation. Subjective insight is important in hiring decisions, but not the primary part of the process-the bulk of the hiring decision should be objectively measurable. Too much subjectivity can create hiring “like me” (which can make your workforce homogenous) vs. for the skills and abilities you need. If you need collaborative communication skills seek examples of how the candidate has historically done this or how they would do this, don’t just say you seek good communication skills. Being able to comparably measure candidates allows for a clearer perspective.

Manage inclusively

Managers and leaders who conduct their responsibilities objectively can demonstrate inclusivity. The way they disseminate information, assign projects, and openly share information show they value the knowledge, skills and abilities of each team member.

Do not play favorites in the workplace. Even if you used to be “one of the team” and were promoted, behave in a manner that is appropriate for your new role—or you help form cliques and promote inequities that thwart the teamwork you need.

Meetings can be incubators of inclusion & equity
When people gather is a prime opportunity to prove everyone’s voice is needed—and appreciated.

Managers have a responsibility to conduct efficient meetings, but not at the expense of effectiveness.

Use a segment of a standing agenda where everyone is anticipated to contribute something of relevant value. In discussions, establishing an expectation to make sure that, literally, every voice is invited to participate—and is appreciated—can prevent only the most extroverted being heard.

Highlight success

Do not take excellence for granted. Appreciate everyone.

Each person brings unique value to a team. On a regular basis, take time to acknowledge something a team member did that supported the greater team processes. Dissect both success and failures, together, so teams know each team member is valued, and the greatest value comes from collaboration.

Put a real team together

The most successful teams don’t happen by sheer luck. Strong workplace teams can’t happen by simply creating a position to create diversity and inclusion. It is a culture that needs to be built foundationally and supported through all processes and demonstrated every day by everyone.


Cheryl Kane, MBA, PHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, is a strategic business consultant, sales trainer, & professional speaker specializing in problem solving and strategic planning. Cheryl welcomes your communication at email: [email protected]


No comments yet.

Post a Comment