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The Elusive Inclusive Work Environment

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Work Sucks

The statistics aren't good for employee engagement.

  • 85% of employees are not engaged, Gallup's State of the Workplace

  • 81% of employees are considering leaving their Jobs, Hays

  • 91% of employees think their leaders lack communication skills, Interact/Harris Poll

  • 1 in 3 employees don’t trust their employers, Edelman Trust Barometer

  • 47% of people actively looking to leave cite company culture as the reason, Hays

It's Worse For Women And Women Of Color

Things were starting to head in the right direction, but "the COVID-19 crisis could set women back half a decade" (McKinsey & Company). In 2020, 1 in 4 women left the workforce all together according to McKinsey and LeanIn. Additionally, women of color represented 18% of entry-level positions and few advanced to leadership positions (Catalyst). Worse, black women are less likely to feel supported at work during COVID-19 (McKinsey & Company). It's why women often ask Should I Stay Or Should I Go.

But It Doesn't Have To

In our virtual panel, Discovering And Building A Female-Friendly Work Culture, we talked to Liz Jagla, from Future State, which is a women-founded, 80% women-owned, B-corporation. We learned a lot about what inclusiveness in the workplace looks like.

How To Know It When You Find It

Companies that set an example of inclusiveness in the workplace have these main characteristics: 1) the vision and do they live it, 2) the words they use - not just on the wall but also in the interview and in hallways and in meetings, 3) "it just feels different".

Lead With Purpose

Future State's vision is focused on people first:

With the focus on people at the heart of change, we enable organizations to their extraordinary visions

Future State's values have strong tones of inclusivity and according to Liz, they are regularly lived.

We lead with heart and we engage with purpose. We are real, we empower, we are a team.

Being a benefit corporation (B-corp), Future State is held to a higher standard of meeting a triple bottom line: commitment to a strong financial performance, verified social and environment performance. They are set up to hit a real balance between profit and purpose.

Inclusive Terminology

It's one thing to have inclusive terminology in your vision, mission, or values. Anyone can put them up a on a wall. But are they really lived? Liz shared that in her experience, these words are used throughout the organization regularly.

  • human-centered

  • purpose driven organization

  • meet people where they are at

  • business is a force for good

  • build a culture that uplifts, recognized, values

  • listen more deeply

  • emphasize inclusiveness and equity

  • empathy, care and love

  • sensitive, compassion, care and respect

It Just Feels Different

Right away during the interview process Liz realized Future State was different than other work environments. They spent extra time talking about culture and inclusivity specifically. During her tour, she noticed the office space was designed for collaboration and creativity. And because of their B-corp status, they share their office with a non-profit as part of giving back to the community. Last when she started working there, the company gave her an on-boarding team to support her, setting a standard not only for women helping women but also for humans helping humans at work. Liz describes working at Future State as a "warm embrace".

It's A Human Thing

Even though Future State is women-led, the men in the office also feel included. In describing their work, they use inclusive terminology and describe the culture traits of feeling heard, being recognized, and a safe environment to collaborate. Showcasing that the company is committed to inclusivity and equality, Future State was named a Best Places to Work for Dads by Fatherly!.

It's Not Illusive. It's Just Elusive.

Just because an inclusive work environment is not statistically prevalent doesn't mean it can't be found. Future State is proof that it does exist. Don't give up on finding a place to work where you can feel fulfilled and can thrive.


What topics do you want to discuss? Let us know in the comments below. #advancewithava

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