Everyone knows the saying, It takes a village to raise a child. While that might be overstating it slightly, the phrase conveys an important point: kids do better when they are surrounded by people who are different from them in some way, whether it’s their culture, race, or gender identity. The same concept applies to corporations—they function better and reach new heights when they bring together people of diverse backgrounds and personalities to work together as a cohesive unit.

Defining Diversity
No one’s ever said that working together is easy—after all, people are different! From differing abilities to varying viewpoints, our differences make us stronger as a company when we understand each other and use our differences to add value. An inclusive corporate culture fosters trust among diverse employees who feel safe enough to bring their whole selves to work without fear of judgement or reprisal. How can you define diversity? What do you do to remove biases from your work environment? How does your company foster inclusion in its day-to-day operations? If you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available on creating a more inclusive workplace.

Defining Inclusion
As we mentioned above, inclusion means more than just getting a seat at the table—it’s about making that seat one from which you can fully contribute to your team. To create a welcoming environment for all employees, take measures to ensure that your staff feels as though they belong by developing mechanisms that promote inclusion across functions and/or generations. For example, if your company has multiple teams working on a project together, it’s important to ensure that each team is made up of members who have diverse backgrounds and skillsets. Similarly, it’s crucial to make sure that everyone is included during meetings or other events where decisions are being made or information is being disseminated. This way, no one will feel left out or unable to offer input based on their background or experience level.

How Organizations Can Promote A Culture Of Collaboration and Inclusion
You don’t have to travel far to find stories about companies that promote diversity and inclusion among their employees, customers, or other stakeholders. According to these media reports, a diverse workforce often outperforms homogeneous groups in a variety of business arenas, including marketing campaigns, sales pitches, product development initiatives, talent retention strategies, and more. But creating a culture that supports diversity and inclusion requires an ongoing effort. It can be difficult for leaders who are trying to get a handle on day-to-day operations—and who may not feel qualified to lead such efforts—to know where to start. Here are some tips for getting started: 1. Conduct an audit of your current work environment to identify areas that need improvement when it comes to fostering collaboration and inclusion across your organization. Try holding one-on-one meetings with your staff members (of different ages, races, genders, etc.) and ask them questions like: How do you feel included at work? What could we do better as a company to help you feel more welcome? What would make you want to stay here longer? 2. Consider bringing together a cross-functional team from various departments within your organization to discuss how each department can contribute to promoting a culture of collaboration and inclusion within your workplace. 3. Think carefully about what you hope to achieve by creating an inclusive corporate culture and write down those goals so they’re easy to refer back to later on if needed. 4. Build out your action plan based on your goals and priorities, then follow through with concrete steps to create change. 5. Be prepared to accept that it will take time for people within your organization to adjust to changes in culture; consider offering training sessions or workshops focused on helping people learn new skills related to working collaboratively across functions, departments, cultures, generations, etc., as well as building empathy for others. 6. Reward individuals who go above and beyond to promote collaboration and inclusion. 7. Track progress toward achieving your goals over time using metrics specific to your organization’s needs. 8. Celebrate milestones along the way!

Types of Collaboration
There are two types of collaboration that occur within organizations – horizontal collaboration between individuals and teams, as well as vertical collaboration between different levels (such as departments) in an organization. Vertical or inter-departmental collaboration tends to be more prevalent because it requires less coordination; everyone is doing their part to achieve a common goal. Horizontal collaboration is a bit trickier since it requires consensus from multiple parties on similar issues, but it can also reap huge rewards for companies if used correctly.

Examples of Collaboration Across Cultures
Globalization is upon us, and workplace collaboration has become a necessity for companies that wish to remain competitive within their industry. In order to compete on a global scale, today’s companies must have a diverse workforce—one that includes both domestic workers as well as those from foreign countries. By learning how to collaborate across cultures, businesses can prepare themselves for long-term success.

Remote Teams – Ways to Improve Communication, Build Trust and Enhance Teamwork
Remote teams have become more common thanks to advances in communication technology. Team leaders can foster better communication between employees by using collaboration tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, Cisco Spark, Atlassian Stride, Jive SBS Pulse and others. These tools are designed to make it easier for remote workers to share ideas across functions and locations. Some products even automatically integrate with video conferencing systems from Zoom or BlueJeans so remote meetings feel as if they’re taking place face-to-face.