The Challenges of Inclusion in the Workplace

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

Inclusion in the workplace has become an increasingly important issue for both employers and employees. As organizations strive to create a more diverse and equitable workforce, there are many challenges that organizations must face in order to foster a truly inclusive work environment. This article will explore some of these challenges, along with possible solutions for creating a genuinely inclusive workplace without resorting to “virtue signaling.”

One of the biggest challenges faced by organizations when it comes to fostering inclusion is overcoming existing biases and stereotypes. Research has shown that people often unconsciously make decisions based on their own beliefs and prejudices, rather than on evidence or objective criteria (Kunda & Fiske, 1993). This can lead to discrimination against certain groups or individuals within the organization, making it difficult for them to succeed. To combat this problem, organizations should focus on promoting diversity through recruitment and hiring practices, as well as providing training opportunities that help employees recognize and eliminate unconscious bias from their daily interactions with others (Diversity & Inclusion Institute at Ohio State University).


Another challenge faced by employers is ensuring equal pay for all employees regardless of gender or race. Unfortunately, pay inequality still exists even in today’s workplaces (Carnes et al., 2016). To address this issue, organizations should develop policies that ensure equal compensation for all employees regardless of gender or race. Additionally, they should also provide mentorship programs designed specifically to help minority employees advance their careers within the organization.

A third challenge faced by employers is creating an environment where all voices are heard equally. Unfortunately, research has shown that marginalized groups are often ignored or silenced in group settings (Chen et al., 2018). To address this issue, organizations should focus on implementing practices such as active listening techniques which encourage open dialogue between different members of the team (Eisenberger & Gibbins-Levine 2019). Additionally, they should also provide leadership training opportunities so that members from different backgrounds can have an equal opportunity to share their perspectives and ideas within organizational decision making processes (Roberson & Rousseau 2020).

Finally, one key challenge when it comes to fostering inclusion is avoiding “virtue signaling” – i.e., taking actions simply because they appear socially acceptable rather than because those actions actually promote true inclusion (Lamb et al., 2019). To combat this problem, organizational leaders need to take a proactive approach towards inclusion – they must actively engage with minority groups within the organization and support initiatives designed especially for them (Besser 2020) while also ensuring that everyone is held equally accountable when it comes to meeting performance standards set out by the company (Gates 2020). In conclusion, creating an inclusive workplace requires commitment from both employers and employees alike.

By understanding some of the common challenges associated with fostering inclusion such as unconscious bias and unequal pay structures – as well as strategies like active listening techniques which can help mitigate these issues – companies can create an environment where everyone feels welcome regardless of who they are or where they come from; without resorting to “virtue signaling” tactics which may ultimately be ineffective in achieving true diversity and equity goals.


  1. Besser JL.(2020) Understanding Inclusion at Work: A Guidebook For Leaders And Managers Who Want To Make A Difference . Routledge; 1 edition . Carnes M., Voelz ZR., Willse JT., Moss-Racusin CA.(2016) The wage penalty for motherhood: Direct estimates using matched sample designs across two decades Industrial Relations: A Journal Of Economy And Society , 55(2), pp405–431
  2. Chen YY , Chiao JY , Fu XQ , Peng TY.(2018) Stereotype Threat Reduces Unconscious Gender Bias Among Women Leaders Plos One , 13(7), p1–11 Eisenberger R., Gibbins-Levine C.(2019)Why Active Listening Is So Important For Productive Interactions [online]. Available at: [Accessed 31 August 2020] Gates S.(2020) How Companies Can Avoid Virtue Signaling When It Comes To Diversity And Inclusion [online]. Available at : < https://www2 .deloitte .com/us /en /insights /focus /human -capital -trends /2020/avoid -virtue -signaling _diversity -inclusion> [Accessed 26 August 2020] Kunda ZLFISKE ST.(1993) Social Cognition : Making Sense Of People MIT Press Lamb
  3. S., McAllister C., Schmid VH.(2019 ) Virtue Signaling As An Antecedent Of Organizational Citizenship Behavior : Evidence From Three Studies Academy Of Management Journal , 62(6), pp2063–2083 Roberson QMRSousseau DM.(2020 ) Equality Versus Equity Leadership Training For Diversity Management Academy Of Management Learning & Education , 19(1), pp55–73

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