Imagine stepping into a work environment feeling like you don’t have a voice. Imagine feeling belittled and small, disengaged from your job and pushed aside. Now, imagine literally traveling to the other side of the world just to feel that way. Without a culture of inclusion, that might be what your out-of-town teammates experience.
That’s how it was for our Indian teammates when they would travel to our Houston office. At Softway, we didn’t realize we had a problem until a VP traveled to our Indian office. He couldn’t believe how well his Indian teammates went out of their way to accommodate him. They picked him up at the airport and took him grocery shopping. They took him to dinner and even cleared their weekends so they could show him the sights. At that point, the executive team realized we weren’t extending this hospitality both ways.
So we made some changes.
We started picking up out-of-town colleagues at the airport. We gave them welcome baskets and ate meals with them. We did whatever we could to make them feel included.
The takeaway here is this: Leaving people alone, isolated, and largely ignored is antithetical to a loving company culture. So make sure out-of-town visitors feel welcome, valued, and most importantly, included.