exclusive inclusivity

Diversity, with ‘D’ as the fourth letter in the alphabet of corporate culture, is fortunately on the rise. More and more companies are establishing roles for ‘diversity, equity, and inclusion’, but how does diversity actually impact corporate culture? Here are six aspects where diversity has an impact, both positively and negatively.

Three positive influences are innovation & creativity, attractiveness, and improved engagement.

Innovation & Creativity: Various studies show that when approached correctly by human resource management, diversity not only stimulates innovation and creativity but also enhances problem-solving abilities.

Attractiveness: Companies known for their diversity often find it easier to attract talent because they have access to larger talent pools.

Improved Engagement: Employees who feel represented and involved are often more interested in their work, which increases engagement and thereby productivity.

On the other hand, three negative effects can arise when diversity is not properly managed; communication problems, tokenism, and exclusive inclusion.

Communication Problems: Cultural, linguistic, and perceptual differences can lead to various problems with poor management. A thoughtful approach and coaching are essential when focusing on diversity.

Tokenism: As a talent, you never want to hear a voice in your head during the ‘employee lifecycle’ asking a pertinent, painful question; did I get this job because my last name is Benaïcha, or because I am the right person for the job?

Exclusive Inclusion: Having a diverse workforce does not automatically lead to inclusion for everyone. Without actively focusing on inclusion, some employees might actually feel excluded or isolated.

Conclusion: diversity offers many advantages, but implementing it correctly is a challenge that requires insight and a solid approach.

no pity

Compassion (with ‘C’ as the third letter in the ‘organizational culture’ alphabet) is often mistakenly equated with pity, but it’s certainly not that. Compassion is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. In a corporate culture, compassion is not so much a moral as it is a strategic necessity.

When companies focus on compassion, it means that both leaders and employees pay attention to the needs, challenges, and well-being of colleagues. Integrating empathy into your core values creates an environment where employees feel valued and supported. This leads to increased job satisfaction, loyalty, and productivity on one hand, and increased customer satisfaction on the other.

For example, Salesforce, known for its ‘Ohana Culture,’ emphasizes building familial support within the organization. Their initiatives include mindfulness zones and well-being programs that extend to family members.

In short; organizations that hold compassion in high regard inherently focus more on the well-being of their employees.


“Belonging” is the pivotal ‘B’ in the alphabet of organizational culture, serving as a cornerstone for a robust and positive workplace environment.

The trio of affirmation, belonging, and competence are identified as vital components of a corporate culture that is both people-focused and inspirational. As highlighted by a study dating back to 2008, it is the sense of connectedness, the feeling of belonging, that resonates deeply within us—not only as individuals but also as colleagues.

Employees who experience a sense of belonging see their roles as more than just jobs. Their work becomes intertwined with their identity, making it more likely for everyday tasks to feel meaningful.

Conversely, where a ‘sense of belonging’ is missing, the result is often a disjointed workforce characterized by isolation, competition, and a pervasive sense of disengagement. In such environments, departmental silos, metaphorically thick and towering, certainly do nothing to bridge these divides.

Among the various initiatives that can cultivate a sense of belonging, two stand out: a commitment to inclusivity and the encouragement of open communication.

What other initiatives can you think of that might contribute to a greater sense of belonging?


Appreciation is much more than a pat on the back. Appreciation and recognition are the building blocks of a healthy corporate culture.

Gallup research shows that employees who do not feel adequately valued are twice as likely to leave the company in the coming year. Another study by SHRM shows that 68% of companies that strategically handle recognition score significantly higher on employee engagement.

One way to facilitate appreciation is by organizing frequent feedback sessions. It’s important to note that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The old adage, “my door is always open,” doesn’t work (for everyone). Some employees actively seek feedback, while others prefer to leave the initiative to their supervisor or the company. By the way, this is one of the things that Kazi addresses.

In short;

🔍 Visibility: Recognizing and valuing employees ensures that team members feel seen and heard.

❤️ Motivation: A simple ‘thank you’ can boost morale, leading to increased enthusiasm and higher productivity.

🔄 Retention: When employees feel valued, they are more inclined to stay.

Appreciation is the first part of the company culture ABC. Inspired by an image from Hacking HR.

bottom-up culture

One of the best and at the same time most challenging questions people regularly ask me is: how do you build a (good) company culture?

My answer usually goes something like this.

Start bottom-up.
Ensure that every employee feels heard and appreciated. This way, you create a better job match one by one. The sum of all these job matches ultimately helps determine your company culture. Conversely, trying to “impose” a culture top-down typically doesn’t work. I was recently reinforced in this belief by an item from Gary Vaynerchuck. He said; the number one way to build a company culture is one by one. Find out what drives each individual employee and what gives them a sense of security.

Align mission & vision.
When the values that are important for the company to pursue are never explicitly expressed, effecting a cultural ‘shift’ is difficult.

Failure is allowed.
Allowing your employees to make mistakes, in fact, even encouraging them, emotionally creates a psychologically safer place. This makes it easier to get everyone on the same page and establish a culture that is supported.

Celebrate wins.
Obvious, yet it’s often forgotten. This doesn’t necessarily require exuberant initiatives. A small token or compliment can go a long way.

In the coming days, I will explain in more detail the individual pillars of company culture.

What (high-level) initiatives do you see that are building blocks for setting up a good company culture?

great reset overflow

The number of Belgian youths (under 25) who voluntarily terminated their employment contracts in 2023 is a staggering 40.8% higher than in 2022, according to a study by Acerta. The so-called ‘great reset’, where people in the United States offered their resignations en masse during the COVID-19 pandemic, seems to be finally (partially) spreading.

Young people are becoming increasingly critical, and rightfully so. They want to make their own decisions, have their voices heard, and have a say in shaping their careers.

Today, talent is in the driver’s seat, especially during labor market tightness. Making it easy for them to switch employers, given the very high demand.

Without considering the professional expectations and soft skills of talent, implementing a sustainable recruitment policy becomes extremely difficult. In that case, the 40.8% mentioned above will continue to increase in the coming years.

first six months

According to a survey conducted by The Muse among 2500 respondents, 80% of Gen Z candidates are willing to quit a new job within six months if it fails to meet their expectations.

This phenomenon, known as ‘shift shock’ or expectations mismatch, poses a challenge to sustainable hiring practices.

In countries with more rigid job markets, candidates or employees may have the intention to quit their job, but actually following through with it is often a different story. Nevertheless, it is important to recognize that these employees have become disengaged, which has a negative impact on their involvement and overall productivity.

To ensure sustainable recruitment, it is crucial to have an accurate understanding of work values and (team) roles for both talent and the job itself. This serves as the foundation for effective recruitment practices.

shift shock

Shift shock, also known as “quitter’s remorse” or “new job regret” is a term coined by Kathryn Minshew, co-founder and CEO of online career platform The Muse. In short, shift shock is the (unfortunately all too common) feeling washing over those who have switched jobs only to find their new position is not living up to their expectations.

According to a study by The Muse of more than 2,500 Millennial and Gen Z job seekers. Nearly three in four respondents (72%) have experienced surprise or regret surrounding a new role or company.

Are careers something we’d like to spin the roulette wheel on? Hoping a new job makes adequate use of your existing skills, offers the development opportunities you have been looking for and provides the longer-term career path you had in mind. Hope seems a bad strategy for significant life events.

If expectations are indeed the root of all heartache, surely there must be something we can do?

At Kazi we’ve been referring to shift shock as a “mismatch in expectations” since 2016. Semantics aside; to have a crystal clear understanding of the expectations of the job on the one hand, and the expectations of the candidate or employee on the other hand, are the indispensable building blocks for sustainable employment.

universal desire

What desire is more universal than the pursuit of happiness in life and work?

Abraham Brill, an influential psychiatrist, believed that emotional factors are the primary cause of fatigue among desk workers. Anxiety and feeling unappreciated create nervous tension, which ultimately exhausts desk workers.

Despite Brill sharing this insight in the 20th century, it remains remarkably relevant today, especially given the unfortunate increase in burnout rates.

However, within this challenge lies untapped potential.

Imagine a workspace where mental exhilaration is not just a concept, but a practice. Where recognizing and appreciating efforts becomes a routine, fostering an environment that energizes rather than drains.

The reason we often fail to create such environments is because job expectations are rarely explicitly communicated. Without clear expectations, workers struggle to effectively utilize their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

By understanding workers’ professional expectations and soft skills, and aligning them with precise job expectations:

🌱 Employees feel appreciated and valued. 🤝 Collaboration improves. 🎯 Focus and efficiency replace exhaustive and inefficient work.

Mental exhilaration overcomes physical fatigue. However, without setting and managing mutual expectations, this becomes challenging to achieve.

privacy isn’t what you get

Employee privacy is a joke. A terrible one at that. If you ever got to spend time in large corporations, specifically the departments where they set up large HR (integration) systems, it won’t be long before you realize how careless data is being thrown around, on test, development, and production environments.

Interestingly, GDPR brought about law and order in the wild west of privacy-sensitive employee data, but arguably, not nearly enough. Moreover, employees are almost never aware of how their data is being mistreated, but for how long? As consumers become — rightfully so — more demanding with regard to sustainability, employees will follow suit, becoming more vigilant about their data. Gartner dubbing “tackle employee data privacy” as the seventh future of work trend for 2023 might speed things up.

The only way for companies to truly create added value for their employees in their human resources ecosystem is by treating their privacy with the utmost respect and never compromising it.