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So far, I’ve made the case that creating an inclusive workplace can:

  • Reduce the turnover of women—and so increase gender diversity, which has been linked with better business results (see three studies by Catalyst beginning with this one )
  • Improve overall engagement, which has also been linked with higher retention, productivity and profitability (see study)

HOW do leaders and managers create cultures of inclusion?

My approach, in my workshops and in my book, is to build leaders’ awareness and understanding of differences (in particular, in the masculine and feminine approaches to work) and the strengths of different approaches. With awareness and understanding, leaders can identify, appreciate and leverage both. They can act inclusively and build cultures of inclusion that enable women, as well as men, to feel heard, valued, included and engaged.

My book takes the reader through the steps of awareness and inclusion—and shows them how these increase engagement, retention and results.

To make the difference that I want to make, I must have an approach that works for men as well as women. From reactions to my workshops, my approach works for both. In building awareness, I don’t talk about gender, men or women. I use two very approachable characters to demonstrate the masculine vs. feminine approach in 10 areas. (There is no “bashing” of either men or women.) The book then offers suggestions and exercises so leaders and managers know how to put this awareness into actions that build cultures of inclusion.

My book, Difference Works: Improving Retention, Productivity and Profitability through Inclusion, will be out in January 2012!

In what ways do you think this approach based on awareness and understanding would improve your organization? Do you think both men and women would respond to this approach?