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The People Dividend Podcast

Sep 20, 2022

“What really matters is, what does it feel like to work in your organization every day and what is your organization doing to the world?” shares Gena Cox, Organizational Psychologist, Speaker, and Author of Leading Inclusion. Gena is an executive coach and accomplished speaker with a focus on human centered leadership and helping leaders to create healthy organizations. Today, Gena joins Mike Horne in conversation to talk about inclusion and the importance of going a step beyond representation to really understand the day to day experiences of employees that belong to marginalized groups. 

Gena shares that she realized a long time ago that the fundamental challenge with inclusion and workplaces is that we live in a very segregated society outside of work. We expect to just all magically understand one another within the work environment, without ever really discussing the challenges and differences that we face coming from different backgrounds. In order to really improve inclusion, there must be a focus not only on representation and hiring people from diverse backgrounds, but also in improving the day to day experience of those employees once they are there. In her book, Gena coined the acronym REDI for respect, equity, diversity and inclusion, and these are the main components of creating a truly inclusive work culture. It is not enough to just choose one thing and put all the focus on that, but really all four elements are what leads to true fundamental change within organizations. 

Often the focus of organizations is placed too much on profits and not enough on the human component of recognizing the people who actually are the backbone of the organization’s success. In order to create a truly inclusive work environment where people from all backgrounds feel they can be themselves and feel respected, there needs to be a larger focus on examining employees’ daily experiences. Tune into this week’s episode of the Authentic Change Podcast to learn more about REDI and how people in leadership roles can increase inclusivity within their organizations. 


“I recognized a long time ago that the fundamental challenge that we have with issues of inclusion and of just work, I think of it more broadly just employee experience, is that we live in a very segregated society outside of work. And yet we think that magically, when we get into the workplace, we should understand one another, when we never see each other once we leave work. And we never talk about the differences, and we never talk about what makes it hard.” (6:42-7:12 | Gena)

“The most important thing that any of us can do, especially if we are advisors to leaders, is to give them more data. Give them more insights from the data, all of the insights. Don't hold anything back, so that the student leaders can really understand what's going on here and when they're making decisions, those decisions can be grounded in a much broader framework than just telling them engagement is flat without really letting them see those nuances.” (14:07-14:36 | Gena)

“It doesn't matter how many people you hire who are of different races, ethnicities, LGBTQ plus status, disabilities, or what have you unless you know what kind of an experience they have on a day to day basis when they come into the organization.” (16:33-16:45 | Gena)

“The focus on inclusion means that organizational leaders need to not just ask about representation, they need to know about what's happening on a day to day basis. And then they need to know what outcomes they should focus on to really measure that.” (17:05-17:17 | Gena)

“What really matters is, what does it feel like to work in your organization every day and what is your organization doing to the world?” (24:45-24:53 | Gena)

“We look around and we can see leaders making decisions every day that appear to be contradictory to the survival of the species. But they're profitable, very profitable, and those leaders are lauded for their profitability. And yet, when a week later, we see stories where we discover that in this same organization that is so profitable, decisions are being made about people's daily lives, about their working hours, about whether they will be paid fairly, whether they can unionize that, that let you know that the human element, which is clearly the thing that gets this all done, isn't being given the same weight as other factors.” (25:01-25:42 | Gena) 


Mentioned in this episode:

Learn more about Mike Horne on Linkedin

Email Mike at

Find more about Leading People and Culture with Authenticity


Learn more about Dr. Gena Cox:

Website |

Book |

Tipsheet |


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