5 tangible ways to be inclusive at work!

Debaparna Kundu
4 min readFeb 26, 2021


Growing number of workforce and customers want to work with organizations that are Diverse & Inclusive (D&I). However, the D&I gap have been further highlighted in the pandemic. Although, many organizations want to achieve D&I, it can be a daunting topic. Firstly, the definition is very fluid and, secondly, it is difficult to pinpoint initiatives that make a work place inclusive.

D&I recruitment initiatives are most common wherein targets are set for number of diverse employees to be hired. However, initiatives that affect day-to-day work environment is not very common. Not because organizations don’t want to be inclusive but, usually, they don’t know how to be one!

Diversity & Inclusion: Photo by NPR
Photo by NPR

Increasingly, multiple global organizations are introducing D&I targets linked performance metrics for leadership but, is that enough? Should such initiatives be limited to select few or is it something that the entire organization play a role in?

In my corporate experience so far, I have had moments where I felt “Hey, I wish I spoke up for a team-mate” to “This leader really believes in this topic and addressed the situation really well!”. These experience have certainly shaped the below initiatives that any leader (not determined by just designation!) can take towards making their workplace and organization more inclusive.

  1. Mic (language) check!

If 2020's most used phrase was “Can you hear me?” then 2021 should be about “Do you understand me”?

We often assume that we all speak the same language when we are on calls with huge audience. Instead, we should make it a practice to also check if everybody speaks or understands the same language especially if it is a global set up. Also, there are times when some conversations are easier in native language but always encourage the group to discuss in a common language. After all, a team can be clear on the expectations only if they speak a common language!

2. Don’t assume — Ask / learn exchange sessions!

We often tend to assume things about the other person eg., based on the culture they belong to or how old they are.

In diverse cultural teams, it is a good idea to have short learning sessions on different cultures / lifestyles. For e.g., even in our small diverse team, we often conducted sessions on places to travel in India, introduction to Chinese language, exchange on German food etc.

3. Share the load especially for non-value added tasks!

Good leaders make sure that the work load is well-distributed among the team but, an amazing leader ensures the same for non-value add work !

Having said that, leaders need not micromanage a team but, can be mindful of it and encourage an open discussion!

4. Opinions matter but not of just select few!

Right from group discussions in campus placements to corporate corridors, often the voices are heard of those who makes the most noise. Offer chances for everyone to speak up in the meetings! Of course, feel free to share feedback with someone if they are not speaking up but, be consistent in the feedback. A recent HBR study shows that men get more actionable feedback than women.

Example of difference in feedback for men and women on “Confidence”; Read the full article here

5. Forgive but, do not forget the importance of D&I!

Amplify the topic and show commitment in all key meetings. Avoid down playing the importance of topic by highlighting a relatively minor thing that is working fine e.g. celebrating the diverse cultural team while in reality senior leadership lacks complete diversity. We often forget that being inclusive also means offering equal opportunities, which often get missed out as long as the D&I targets are met.

All these actions are a simple yet powerful ways to ensure that you don’t disappoint an employee who signed up for an “inclusive” organization.

What are some of the conscious actions that you take on a daily basis to ensure that you offer a more inclusive workplace? I would love to hear the initiatives that either you as an individual / or the organization you are part of is taking towards an inclusive future.

Don’t shy away from being a workplace trend setter!

Post is biased towards language, gender and cultural diversity
(Be aware of unconscious biases)



Debaparna Kundu