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Just Say No to Demoralizing Leaders!

Creating an Inclusive Workspace for New Employees

Early in my career, I temped as an administrative assistant for a woman who had to climb her way up the ladder in a predominantly male industry.


She treated me like a peon. She asked me to order baby roses for her assistant. When they arrived, she railed at me because they were not exactly like the baby roses her husband had bought for her.


Seriously? I went to college for this?

Each time I tried to do something for her, she criticized me. It was demoralizing and demeaning.

A few years later when I managed a proposal for one of her projects, I proved myself. I became an asset, and she always treated me with respect from then on.


But I’ll never forget the way the relationship began.


Intimidating. Not welcoming. Certainly not inclusive.


What value do we get in treating people this way? Absolutely none.
We should always treat employees with respect.

The data are compelling.


Only 36 percent of employees feel they work in an inclusive environment, and less than half of employees feel connected to others at work.


One study showed that 85 percent feel afraid to raise concerns with their bosses.

Here’s the result of demoralizing treatment:

  • Miserable employees who do not feel welcome in the workplace

  • Big losses for the bottom line

  • A lack of belonging and inclusion, which means lower productivity and employee engagement

Good news! These problems can be fixed.


Start with:

  • Investing in strong internal communications: written, face-to-face, and companywide. Produce e-newsletters that report on company activities and reward outstanding work. Develop a useful, resource-packed Intranet to make your employees’ jobs easier. Equip your leaders with presentation materials so they can keep all companies up to date on what’s happening in the organization. Produce welcoming and comprehensive orientation materials and in-person onboarding programs.

  • Training and setting expectations for your leaders: Explain what you expect from your leaders. Help them understand how to create a welcoming workplace. Convey what will happen if they are not inclusive in their interactions. Each employee should feel comfortable discussing concerns with their leader. If they don’t feel comfortable, this is a problem that needs a solution.

  • Creating opportunities for employees to connect with each other: Institute a buddy system for new employees. Match employees interested in leadership with a sponsor. Set up an internal social media platform like MS Teams or Yammer for employees to interact with each other. Create employee resource groups with executive sponsors and fund them. Invest in your employees.

Toxic workplaces don’t have to stay that way. They can be fixed!

The longer you wait to fix the situation, the more employees will feel demoralized and the more money you will lose.


Let me know if you could use help with inclusive communications and leadership.


I help professional services firms avoid BORING and boost employee engagement, productivity, and readership. I translate technical, complex, and lackluster language into accessible, dynamic, story-driven text. Get known in your industry through outstanding thought leadership content. Walk your talk through outstanding, effective communications with your employees and clients.


Fertile Ground Communications LLC is a certified women-owned business enterprise, disadvantaged business enterprise, and emerging small business.

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