Knowledge Center

Think People, Not Just Programs, to Build Inclusive Workplaces

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Employers worldwide seek to create high-performing work cultures where employees feel included and empowered to contribute. Yet despite sophisticated programs and practices, many are falling short when it comes to achieving workplace inclusion. 

Why are so many companies stuck, especially with so much at stake?

In this report, we surveyed employees working in multinational organizations with operations in China. The findings demonstrate a key reason for this stalled progress: a tendency to overlook the “people side” of change. Building inclusive workplace cultures requires far more than a strong business case, the “right” program, or even the most sophisticated assessment tools or metrics. 

To create high-performing work cultures, business leaders must pay attention to the people side—how employees connect to company values, its social impact on the broader community, the workplace role models employees are exposed to, and employees’ willingness and ability to participate in culture change efforts. 

This study suggests some key ways global leaders, change agents, and influencers can do just this and enjoy greater success in building the inclusive work cultures that are so critical to business performance.

Research Partners: AT&T Inc.BloombergBMO Financial GroupThe Boston Consulting GroupCardinal Health, Inc.Chevron CorporationCredit SuisseDebevoise & Plimpton LLPDell Inc.Desjardins GroupDeutsche Bank AGEYHalliburtonHewlett-Packard Company IBM CorporationKeyBankKimberly-Clark CorporationMcDonald’s Corporation; Novo Nordisk; PAREXELSodexoState Street CorporationUPSVerizon

How to cite this product: Travis, Dnika J. and Alixandra Pollack.Think People, Not Programs to Build Inclusive Workplaces. New York: Catalyst, July 7, 2015.