3 ways technology is supporting enterprises to create a more inclusive culture

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging are four words that characterize the type of culture enterprises are focused on creating. But for large organizations, and those operating hybrid working models, creating a culture where everyone feels seen, heard, and represented is a big challenge. How can technology can help enterprises of all shapes and sizes architect a culture of inclusivity at scale? We asked three EX leaders for their takes.

Supporting inclusive culture

Harnessing technology to create inclusive cultures

How can employee experience leaders cultivate a sense of belonging that spans their entire enterprise? And, what role can the digital workplace play in bringing these visions to life? These were the big questions we put to our panel at Unite 23, Unily’s landmark employee experience conference attended by 600 EX leaders from leading organizations around the world.

The panel, which was sponsored by The Unily Women’s Network, played host to Eloise Thomas, Internal Communications Manager at Informa; Advita Patel, Director of Comms Rebel; and Kate Isichei, Director of Where to Look Communications. Jessica Wade, Presales Engineer at Unily, facilitated the discussion which spotlighted many of today’s most pressing corporate culture questions, including uniting the hybrid workforce and developing leadership practices that will support and engage the entire organization.

We’ve distilled the top takeways from the conversation into a quick digest. But you can still watch the whole session and many more on-demand! (link at the bottom ↓)

Takeaway #1: When used correctly, technology can be the vehicle for inclusion

While all of our panelists agreed that digital tools can help cultivate a sense of connectivity, Thomas encourages leaders to think strategically about the systems they choose to use. “Culture moves fast and so does technology,” she explains, highlighting the need to find digital platforms that can evolve as new work challenges emerge. “I think it’s important to remember that it’s a connector and a disconnector, an enabler and a disabler, a uniter and a divider. In order to harness technology well, we need to realize its true impact on our people and then we can start to navigate how to use that the right way for the audiences we have.”

Adding on, Patel reminds us to not only view technology as tools to implement, but also as an opportunity to create open dialogues and encourage all employees to share their ideas. “The challenge with technology is it goes straight on and it’s used as a tactical tool, but people don’t use it in the way it can be used, which is to start conversations and help innovation.”

Isichei takes the conversation about devising inclusive ways to use technology in another direction, mentioning that leaders should encourage their employees to use digital tools in ways that align with their needs, such as keeping cameras off during virtual meetings if they struggle with seeing themselves. “Don’t use technology to punish people or make them do things in the way you want to. Technology should be democratic, you should be allowed to use it in the way you feel comfortable using it,” she says.


Accelerating employee engagement with technology

As enterprises everywhere strive to attract, retain, and optimize top talent, the quality of the digital experiences we serve our employees has never been more important. We partnered with Harvard Business Review Analytics Services to survey nearly 500 global executives to understand how they are using technology to accelerate employee engagement. Find out how leading enterprises are leaning into digital to get ahead.

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Takeaway 2: Look beneath the surface and stay curious to create a culture of belonging

Each organization will have its own approach to creating an environment that welcomes and supports everyone, but an eagerness to learn about various employee challenges must be at heart of it, according to Patel. She pinpoints curiosity as a crucial component of an inclusive comms strategy, noting, “I think curiosity is the key thing that needs to be communicated. Everyone has different ways of working and as Comms, we can hopefully bring those conversations to life to leaders that we speak with. When you’re building anything that has to do with inclusion, the key is asking the right questions and getting to know what different people need.”

When it comes to asking the right questions, Thomas encourages leaders to ask themselves, “Are you really including everyone?”. She goes on to explain the importance of this query, noting, “You may think something is accessible when it’s not and it’s much easier to think about that question when you’re building something out rather than after the fact.”

In addition to asking yourself how inclusive your strategies are, Isichei underscores the importance of listening to what others are telling you and learning how to recognize signs that some employees might be feeling excluded. “Be alert to what people are telling you, even if it’s not verbally. They could be screaming for help so be alert to how they’re behaving. Make sure you’ve observing your colleagues and leaders to make sure their values and behaviors are fulfilling that idea of inclusivity.”

Takeaway 3: Leaders set the tone for belonging—and they need support as well

Technology alone is not the silver bullet for creating a culture of inclusivity. Setting the tone for a culture that promotes diversity and belonging starts with the people behind the tech.

Leaders that role model ways of working that are inclusive and considerate of all employees can feel confident that they’re doing their part to help their organizations cultivate a sense of belonging. Isichei emphasizes the important role stakeholders play in creating an inclusive culture, noting, “From the moment an employee joins an organization to the minute they leave, if leadership isn’t inclusive, if there’s no sense of belonging, if it’s quite siloed in the way they build relationships, then everyone will just try to appease them. Ultimately, leaders create culture so they are pivotal when it comes to inclusivity and belonging.”

To encourage all employees to play an active role in creating inclusive cultures, Thomas has the following recommendation: “In terms of leaders building inclusivity, we should all think of ourselves as leaders. We all have the ability to create the world we want to see. I feel like I’m able to have an impact in my organization because I am vocal. If we all use our voices, then we will be able to help our leaders to move forward.”

Patel underscores the importance of providing support for stakeholders, noting, “I think we sometimes forget that leaders are humans and they need support as well. Sometimes we aren’t as accepting of what our leaders need because we need them to keep delivering and engaging colleagues. But who’s engaging them? And what support are they receiving?”.

Watch the full session on-demand

As the great equalizer, technology holds one of many keys to unlocking a culture of inclusivity. But to get the results you seek, the strategy must be clear. Technology for technology’s sake is never the answer, but there are so many innovative ways the right technology partner can help you on your quest to build DEI+B into the DNA of your employee experience. For more insights from those doing just that, watch the full session and many more on-demand now!


Unite 23 - Harnessing technology to build a culture of belonging

Hear from stakeholders from different fields and industries in this interactive panel discussion that looks at how technology can disrupt systemic discrimination, elevate marginalized voices, and underpin progressive DEIB strategies. Discover how you can leverage technology to build a culture of true belonging – where everyone is seen, heard, valued, and represented. Sponsored by: Unily Women's Network.

Watch on-demand

Casey Farr - Communications Manager

Casey Farr

Communications Manager

As Communications Manager and our resident EX wordsmith, Casey supports content creation across the company from researching and writing thought-leading blogs, to creating compelling talk tracks for Unite speakers. Learn More

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