What makes an inclusive organization and how can talent management affect its success?
Effective talent management is defined and acted upon according to the culture of the organization. I offer that one of the key qualifiers to inclusiveness is behavior. Merriam-Webster’s definition supports the importance of the organization as a whole and the individuals within the organization in behavior through definitive statements such as “the manner of conducting oneself; the way in which something functions or operates; the response of an individual, group or species to its environment.”
I often say inclusion is everyone’s responsibility. A culture of inclusion is created by the people who inhabit that culture by contributing to a collaborative environment. The search for talent by a firm, legal department or other organization is competitive, and the ability to retain, develop and advance that talent is where the rubber meets the road. It takes an ongoing commitment to develop and enhance talent through cultivation of the organizational culture and its people. Let’s take a look at six elements of inclusiveness.
- Focus is one of the most important factors in an individual’s behavior because it requires a relentless focus to develop and improve a culture of inclusion. When one loses focus, the commitment to new behaviors can become less intentional so that the outcome of the goal may no longer reflect the original vision.
- Collaboration is essential. Why hire talented people if they do not have the opportunity to utilize and develop their skills? Why take on a career that requires your skills if you are not able to give your absolute best in your work? Capitalizing upon contributions by collaborating with multiple perspectives and talents of individuals produces a better product and/or outcome. Collaboration and collegiality are reflected within the core values of many firms with a strong emphasis on building relationships among one’s colleagues.
- Curiosity is a mindset that is required in order to seek different perspectives and skills in collaboration and team building within an organization’s talent base. Rather than shying away from new situations or people, consider responding with a strong sense of curiosity to learn, grow and collaborate. Remaining in one’s comfort zone because it feels comfortable or because of a demanding schedule ultimately inhibits the opportunity to promote innovation or inclusion. The interesting thing is that in either of these situations, there is a choice — the choice not to collaborate.
- Awareness of where you are, and the acceptance of that state is required by both the individuals and leaders of the organization in order to advance inclusiveness. Otherwise, there is no basis to understand current practices and obstacles, and to develop a clear picture of where you want to go. Attitude is essential to inclusiveness and is reflected through behavior. How you think or feel about something or someone has an
- Attitude is essential to inclusiveness and is reflected through behavior. How you think or feel about something or someone has an impact on your behavior. Attitudes can be conscious or unconscious, but all behavior sends a message. What are you communicating? Becoming more aware of the different mental and emotional states you are in provides an opportunity to interrupt unproductive thinking or behavior and recommit to contributing to an inclusive organization.
- Communication needs to be clear, and consideration of where responsibility lies for achieving clear communication will impact your effectiveness. Neurolinguistic programming principles state “the meaning of communication is the response you get.” Often, we think the responsibility is for the listener to understand what we are trying to convey. However, if it is clear that the listener is not getting our message and we have that feeling that they don’t understand, consider that we may need to communicate differently. This moves from an attitude of blame for a misunderstanding to an attitude of responsibility to clarify and to gain understanding.
Each of these six elements can play an important role in assessing the effectiveness of an individual in utilizing inclusive practices to promote talent management. Likewise, the policies and procedures that organizations utilize to develop and manage the talented professionals they hire affect organizational culture and ultimately the behaviors that lead to effective talent management. Practiced with intention and commitment, the six elements of inclusivity can lead to conscious and focused behavior that supports an inclusive organizational culture.