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By: Usman Khan

Phrases like “culture and climate,” “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and “conscious leadership” are important to us. Yet, in a political climate where these concepts are used as stones to advance agendas, they risk losing their power.

Unfortunately, “DEI” has become a catch-all dog whistle to discredit any effort aimed at making workplaces more equitable and inclusive in 2024. These attacks conflate politically-charged notions of DEI – where progress is mocked as oppression – with the true spirit of culture and climate work, which is rooted in well-researched strategies and practices that foster positive organizational change. The truth is, investing in a healthy culture and climate isn’t just a moral imperative; it’s a smart business decision. A strong culture directly impacts employee well-being, and a well-supported workforce becomes a driving force behind organizational success, productivity, and ultimately, profitability. Here’s why:

Individual well-being drives organizational well-being.

Anti-DEI discourse, designed to be reactionary, often overlooks the tangible benefits of a strong organizational culture. When employees feel valued, respected, and given opportunities to thrive, they become more invested in their work. This leads to higher engagement, greater innovation, and a willingness to adapt – qualities that make organizations more resilient in the face of challenges.

Beyond that, a positive culture and climate attract top talent and boost retention rates, saving organizations substantial costs associated with employee turnover.  Let’s be clear: a commitment to culture and climate work is a commitment to the long-term well-being and success of any organization.

Workplace culture can empower or undermine its people – an intentionally strong culture nurtures:


  • Increased employee retention: Satisfied employees are loyal employees, reducing costly turnover and fostering a sense of stability. source
  • Enhanced creativity and innovation: Diverse perspectives and psychological safety fuel out-of-the-box thinking, leading to groundbreaking solutions.
  • Improved collaboration and teamwork: When trust and respect are cornerstones, teams work seamlessly, achieving more together.
  • Reduced absenteeism and presenteeism: Happy, healthy employees are less likely to be absent, and when they are there, they’re more present and productive. source

Culture is a competitive advantage…

The benefits of culture and climate work extend far beyond employee well-being. Today’s talent pool is fiercely competitive, and organizations with strong cultures attract and retain top performers. A study by Deloitte revealed that companies with strong, inclusive cultures achieve 2x the revenue growth and 3x the profit margin of their peers. Why? Because engaged employees are productive employees, driving innovation, customer satisfaction, and ultimately, profitability.

…So build a culture that works.

So, how do we move beyond the politicized noise and build a culture that truly benefits everyone? Here are a few key steps:

  • Focus on Values, Not Politics: Clearly define your organization’s core values and ensure they’re reflected in every aspect of the business. Values shouldn’t be buzzwords but guiding principles that shape decision-making, behavior, and interactions within the workplace.
  • Embrace Diversity & Inclusion: Diversity extends beyond political discourse and surface-level differences. Create a workplace where everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to contribute their unique perspectives. Diverse teams drive innovation, problem-solving, and ultimately fuel organizational growth.
  • Promote Open Communication: Transparency is key. Establish a culture where employees can express opinions, concerns, and ideas without fear. Open communication fosters trust, allows for necessary adjustments, and prevents problems from festering. source
  • Invest in Employee Well-being: Employee well-being is paramount for a thriving workforce. This means prioritizing mental health resources, flexible work arrangements, and opportunities for continuous growth and development.
  • Lead by Example: Leaders set the cultural standard. They should embody the organization’s values, consistently demonstrate empathy, and take responsibility for creating a positive work environment. Actions speak louder than words, and their behavior will deeply influence the overall company culture. source

Remember, building a positive culture isn’t a checklist item; it’s a continuous journey of growth and adaptation. It demands commitment, an openness to feedback, and the courage to evolve. The rewards, however, are undeniable: a workplace where employees feel valued, energized, and empowered to perform at their peak.

We’re rejecting the toxic politicization of workplace culture. The choice is clear: we can perpetuate outdated systems that stifle progress, or we can embrace a future shaped by thriving, inclusive cultures. We know that organizations that do so won’t just survive; they’ll lead the way, setting new standards for success and shaping a more equitable world.

Put another way: If you feel that your organization’s value suffers because of advancing your organization’s culture and climate, are you doing it right in the first place?