How to Develop Inclusive Workplaces
What is an inclusive workplace?
An inclusive workplace is one where all employees feel welcome and supported. Inclusivity is about valuing differences and giving everyone the opportunity to succeed. Inclusive companies embrace diversity and create an environment that fosters open communication and celebrates different backgrounds and perspectives.
Is a diversified workplace the same as an inclusive workplace?
No. A workplace can be diverse without being inclusive. An example would be a workplace with lots of cultural and gender diversity, but where these groups do not interact, share, or communicate. When diverse groups work in isolation, the workplace is not inclusive.
A workplace can also be inclusive without being diverse. If you have a workplace that is welcoming and well-integrated, but very homogeneous, it is not a diverse workplace.
Why is an inclusive workplace important?
When workplaces are diverse and inclusive they are more productive and innovative. Diversity and inclusiveness are important for attracting top talent, improving communication and cooperation between co-workers, and reaching a diverse customer base.
What are some ways to create an inclusive workplace?
Sharing - Diverse workplaces usually include people from different cultures and parts of the world. Inclusiveness is about communication and understanding. Food can be a great way to learn about one another.
A potluck lunch where employees can bring a meal representative of their background gives everyone a fun and interactive way to learn more about their colleagues.
Diverse Committees - Workplace committees offer an opportunity to bring employees from different departments and disciplines together. When calling for participants keep diversity and inclusiveness in mind and build a committee that is welcoming to all who are interested.
Employee Bios - Create processes that allow team members to get to know each other. Employees are more than just titles and job descriptions. Good team collaboration requires strong working relationships. Holding regular team meetings will allow employees to learn more about each other. You can also encourage them to set up brief bios that include personal details like hobbies, pets, and other interests.
Diversity and Inclusion Groups - Some workplaces have employee-led groups that promote inclusion. These groups often organize employee activities and events to promote inclusiveness and make all employees feel welcome. These groups can also help identify opportunities for improvement and recommend new practices or policy changes to improve workplace inclusiveness. Employee-led groups can be very powerful in giving employees a sense of ownership in their workplace.
Employee Training - Education is necessary to get employees to acknowledge their biases. Many biases are subconscious, so it’s important that employees receive training that addresses limiting preconceptions and stereotypes. Workshops should also teach participants how to overcome them.
Open Door Policy - Inclusive workplaces have a free flow of communication. Employees need to feel comfortable approaching their supervisor or manager about diversity issues like discrimination or unfair treatment. Leaders need to figuratively and literally keep their door open, be available, and listen when an issue is brought to their attention.
An inclusive workplace makes employees feel welcome and comfortable and encourages them to share their ideas and perspectives. A diverse workplace is not a healthy or productive space in which to work if it lacks inclusivity.