Closing the ‘Gap’ on Inclusion

January 21, 2016We’ve talked a lot about inclusion lately at Catalyst—from our research report to our edX virtual courses, and from our Inclusive Leadership Quiz to our leadership development solutions. In fact, we’re so passionate about the power of inclusion, we even revised our mission to, pardon the pun, include it: Accelerate Progress for Women Through Workplace Inclusion.

There’s a reason for that: inclusion breaks down barriers and ensures everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of gender or background. Additionally, employees who feel included are more likely to go above and beyond the “call of duty” to help other team members and meet workgroup objectives. And our research shows that a culture of inclusion unlocks employee innovation.

The 2016 Catalyst Award-winning initiative from Gap Inc. is a remarkable example of what can be achieved when an organization and its leaders commit to making inclusion a priority.

Rather than targeting a specific diversity challenge, Gap Inc.’s transformational global initiative, Women and Opportunity, leverages the company’s long-standing culture of equality and inclusion as a business tool to:

  • Attract top talent

  • Advance women’s representation globally

  • Increase employee engagement and retention

  • Drive business results

It also highlights how Gap Inc.’s leaders have become more intentional in their work, sharpening the strategic focus on gender and increasing programming that promotes women’s leadership across regions.

We will be honoring Gap Inc., the first fashion/accessories company to receive a Catalyst Award, at the Catalyst Awards Dinner on March 16 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City.

We know from our research that inclusive leaders engage in EACH behaviors. In other words they EMPOWER their employees to learn and develop, hold them ACCOUNTABLE for the work they can control, COURAGEOUSLY do what they believe is right, and are HUMBLE enough to admit mistakes. Prior to the dinner, the Catalyst Awards Conference will include solution-oriented breakout sessions focused on these inclusive leadership traits to help each of us make change in our workplaces and lives.

In my New Year’s blog post, I expressed my wish for 2016, that we “choose inclusive and diverse leaders now so that children can see opportunities for themselves in all aspects of their lives—and make a difference tomorrow.” It takes EACH of us to make a change. Gap Inc. is doing its part. Are you?

The views expressed herein are solely those of the guest blogger and do not necessarily reflect those of Catalyst. Catalyst does not endorse any political candidates. The post and the comments are presented only for the purpose of informing the public.