Diversity is very important these days and it’s crucial that workplaces incorporate it into the environment if they want to succeed. However, diversity is not the same thing as inclusivity. You can thinking of inclusivity as a step forward from diversity. It’s about forming an environment where every employee feels welcome, regardless of their background. And they offer plenty of benefits. A study be Deloitte sows that inclusive workplaces are 6x more likely to be innovative and have a greater cash flow than workplaces that aren’t exclusive.
Begin at the top
As with anything, you should begin at the top. The top level management has to have a desire to create a more inclusive work force. They should want to hire people who have different skin colors, nationalities, genders and sexual orientation. If they don’t want to have an inclusive workplace and have no such goals in mind, it will never happen. Moreover, if you don’t allow their employees to be the type of people that they want to be, it would backfire and result in a toxic workplace.
Ensure the Office is Wheelchair Accessible
It’s crucial to make your employees feel that they are part of the workplace. One of the ways that you can do that is to make your workplace wheelchair-accessible. Areas such as washrooms and kitchen should be accessible to everyone. If you have an older office, it might be best to revamp the place as they have uneven floors or small steps that create a lot of problem for everyone. It would also be best if you could borrow a wheelchair and use it to navigate the entire office. In this way, you’ll have a very good idea of which areas require work and which don’t. You’ll also have a better idea of how to make the workplace more accessible.
Companies can go the extra mile to recognize bias and eliminate it from their workplace immediately. Some multinational companies form a leadership program that encourages high-potential employees to get on the management track. Moreover, it also targets managers to get rid of their bias and ensure that they choose the right candidate. In this way, managers don’t automatically incline to people who think or work like them and instead, give everyone a fair chance of moving ahead of the game. Very important to implement a positive recognition program such as Peero
Listen to Employees
It’s also a good idea to listen to employees. Many times, managers don’t really listen to their employees and instead, focus on what they think is best. That’s a bad strategy and one that will backfire. In creating a more inclusive workforce, it’s important for employers to create an authentic environment where employees aren’t hesitant about speaking their minds. They should be able to voice their concerns about the place and talk about any issues they might be having. It’s the only way to feel like they belong.
Another thing you might want to consider is celebrating employee differences. When there are so many people with different background working in the same place, you can celebrate a lot of things. Muslims can celebrate Eid while Christians can celebrate Christmas. You can also have people from different ethnicity bring their traditional dish to office and have a potluck. You can also have a shared calendar in the office in which you can mark all the different festivals. Employees can then look at the calendar and wish everyone a happy New Year, or Diwali or Hanukah or whatever they want. It’s simple and easy enough to do. You can also have a prayer room in your office where people can go in to meditate, reflect or pray. That’s a sure way for employees to think that you care about their culture and wellbeing.
Rethink Your Meeting
Another way to practice inclusion is to think about your meeting. Make it a safe space where everyone can feel comfortable enough to speak up. So before you call in a meeting, be sure to share the plan with everyone. In this way, you can help your socially-anxious employees or the introverts to boost up their confidence and to think of things that they might want to say. Moreover, you can also make things easier for people in your team whose first language is not English. They can understand the whole context of the meeting and jot down whatever they want to say.
Offer Sponsorship Program
You might want to include sponsors in your workplace to make it more inclusive. Corporations such as Bank of America and American Express have implemented programs that allow women to move forward. These women and other people of color are paired with experienced sponsors who help them to understand the workplace and give them advice on how to progress in their career over the long run.
Hold Leaders Accountable
Make sure that the workplace is exclusive and not just by name. One of the ways to do that is to ensure that the leaders are following through. For instance, the stakeholders at CTI ensured that the CEO was living up to promises of inclusion by tracking and evaluating his goals. The same tracking progress was being applied to the leaders of different departments. Leaders were held accountable for everything and a further 10% of their bonuses were tied to the goals. This gave them motivation to achieve their goal and ensure that workplace inclusiveness was being practiced.
Make Sure Everyone is Safe
Not everyone likes inclusiveness. In fact, you’ll find people in your office who are opposed to the idea. Such people might endanger the lives of minorities and ensure that they don’t feel safe in this space. As the employer, it is your job to put a stop to this issue. You should also keep your ears open and take such complaints very seriously instead of brushing them underneath a carpet.
It’s important that an inclusive workplace is created to cater to everyone’s need and ensure that they have a sense of belonging. Failure to do so can set you back several steps.