For the past two years, organizations have been forced to navigate a series of social, financial, and political pressures that no one could have seen coming. As the dust begins to settle, it’s become increasingly obvious where organizations have made great strides towards achieving more equitable cultures and organizational outlooks — and where they still have room to grow.

As we continue to steer towards that more equitable and egalitarian future, join us for a conversation on what your fellow leaders are doing to build a culture of equity and belonging — one that prioritizes DEIB initiatives, mindful hiring practices, and workforce satisfaction and retention rates.

In a NationSwell virtual roundtable, leaders connected to discuss some of the challenges they’re still facing, while surfacing opportunities we’re eyeing to help us advance corporate cultures that pave the way towards progress, equality, and greater social impact overall. 

Here are some of the key takeaways:

Wrap arms around the ways that work has fundamentally changed in the pandemic era. Workers and leaders alike share a heightened awareness of organizational shortcomings; and while all leaders have blind spots, there is new urgency around stakeholders’ expectations that you will work to address them. But even as we work to address them, they way we all work is changing: hybrid work means new technology, and new technology means new opportunities alongside new challenges. As internal stakeholders may feel even further from the rooms where big decisions are made, building a culture rooted in transparency becomes paramount to organizational success.

To build an equitable and inclusive organizational culture, align around what you mean when you use the word “transparency.” Workers want leadership that is clear and consistent, but just as there is a danger in sharing too little information, there is a danger in sharing too much. This often necessitates being explicit about what you will share, and what you won’t — especially in difficult moments. As an example, share the criteria around why you might terminate an employment instead of sharing the specifics around why one person’s employment was terminated.

A thriving culture often aligns around norms and expectations for when to have a meeting. In a hybrid work environment, meeting bloat can feel like the enemy of productivity. At the same time, those meetings were often designed to enable productivity, efficiency, and innovation. It’s helpful to align around what meetings ought to be used for, and what the norms are for being in one another’s presence: think about friendly ways to reinforce that attendees shouldn’t be working on anything else, and that they should focus to the best of their ability on the information that is being shared.

Culture is communication. Build performance management systems that can evaluate based on outcomes but also behavior and collaboration.  Reward people who hit goals, but also support positive behaviors that improve culture (and hold those accountable who damage culture). Consider using a work style assessment tool, such as DISC, to help employees understand one another better.