On Episode 72 of Talent & Growth we were joined by Gary Clarke-Strange, the Head of Inclusion and Diversity at Green King. We spoke about how to start building an inclusive culture and why it’s important to do so. Here are some of the highlights from that conversation that we hope will inspire you to build a more inclusive culture in your own workplace.  

Something Gary champions in his own workplace is building an inclusive culture in the company. We asked him why it’s crucial for businesses to build an inclusive environment, below are his insights. 


I think it’s important to focus on having an inclusive culture where your diverse talent can thrive. We could go out and actively work to recruit diverse talent into your organisation, there are ways and means to attract diversity into your business, and that’s great! If you’re bringing diverse talent into an organisation where the culture and the environment doesn’t support them, encourage them to grow or make them feel welcome, ultimately you’re damaging people’s careers, because you’re not enabling them to come in and be at their best.  

In my view, inclusion and diversity shouldn’t be seen as a standalone topic. It enables a business to achieve success and therefore enables its people to achieve success. What we’ve really been focused on as part of our overall cultural change at Green King is teaching how embedding inclusion as a concept and an everyday narrative helps to drive that culture change forward.  

There’s a way to focus on bringing in diverse talent at the same time as working on your inclusion culture. If you are working with recruiters or internally or externally hiring and you’re talking about bringing diverse talent into the organisation, being honest about where the company is on their diversity journey is the first step. If you go out with a message that says, ‘We’re great, we have this nailed’, and you haven’t, you’re overselling yourselves. If you can talk openly about what your intent is, where you’re aiming to be, and also how you’re going to get there, that will help build a great conversation with any new hires about what you can build together. Clear vision and strategy around the changes you want to make allow you to begin that open conversation that gets people on board that journey towards inclusion. Having open, honest communication from the start is essential to building an inclusive environment. 

I talk a lot about removing fear. I think sometimes people are scared of inclusion as a topic, and that’s because they aren’t allowed to be vulnerable, or aren’t allowed to admit that they’ve got things wrong, or that they don’t know things about certain topics. Exposure to vulnerability enables people to be more free. Starting to have the conversation across our business that says ‘It’s okay to not know everything, but it’s better to know more, so how we’ll help you grow and empower you to learn about different diverse characteristics, people and experiences’ can only ever be positive. The message is ‘Don’t be scared, it’s okay’. We could go into a whole debate about privilege and etcetera, but it’s not about being ashamed of what you don’t know, or not having lived experience in a certain area. What’s more important is you learn more, you become an ally, you become an advocate of that change. 

Inclusion isn’t the answer to everything when it comes to culture change, but it can enable it. We’ve been really pushing around the activities that we run internally, focussed around our communications about the journey, narrative and intent of our cultural change journey. We intend to be an example for people, because often in recruitment you offer false hope and there’s a lack of intent, whereas we’re really pushing for that willingness to talk openly about where companies are at. At Green King we wanted to capture diversity data to a point where we now have just under 95% of our employees profiles, and we understand our diversity profile data. That resource has enabled us to create a strategy that’s real, and it’s based on data. We wouldn’t have gotten there unless we had already started enabling a culture of trust, where people were willing to give us that data. I think that then helps us to then start to build a really strong foundation for what the future call for change will be. 

To hear more about how to improve your company’s culture, listen to the full episode of The Talent & Growth Podcast here. 

On Talent & Growth we speak to talent leaders about the challenges they face and their solutions for attraction and retention. If you’re interested in hearing about how companies are building a more diverse talent pool, how you can attract top people from the big players, ways to create a more inclusive interview process or learn about the latest and greatest automation software to make your life easier, then this is the podcast for you.