Most people seem to understand—or at least have heard—that inclusion is important for organizational success. Yet many people are frustrated because, while their organizations may talk about the need for inclusion, very few know how to make it a reality.

All too often, people feel excluded and disengaged by interactions that discourage their full participation or the contribution of their ideas or experiences. An organization’s workplace environment is the sum of the behaviors—subtle and not-so-subtle, intentional and unintentional, and often habitual—of all the members of the organization. 

What this means, therefore, is that to create an inclusive environment, you must start with inclusive behaviors.

Policies, procedures, and initiatives can support such an environment, but an inclusive environment can only be created by the collective use of behaviors that foster inclusive interactions. In our work with organizations across the globe, we have discovered 12 simple behaviors that produce more inclusive interactions among individuals, teams, and work groups. These inclusive interactions, in turn, have been shown to accelerate results and generate higher performance.