How Can Your Workplace Be More Inclusive?

Inclusivity is the fabric that holds successful organizations together. Other than having a diverse workforce in terms of gender, age, race, or religion, other aspects of workplace inclusivity must be considered. 

Respecting people’s opinions and ensuring that what they propose is taken seriously is another aspect of inclusivity. It should not be overlooked if retention rates and collective, determined pursuit of organizational goals are going to be realized. 

Valuing your human resources and demonstrating to them that good performance stems from every employee is of utmost importance. 

Here are a few ways to make your workplace more inclusive.

Have an Inclusion Council in Place

Your organization should form an inclusion council comprising members from various departments and ranks. Members should be tasked with inclusivity strategy formation, implementation, and adherence. This is fundamental to building a culture of inclusivity.

In addition, such a team forms a link between the C-suite and the rank and file. A team of this nature also advocates for discussions between executives and employees of lower cadres.

The inclusivity council should be involved in setting goals centered on retention, hiring, and promotion. The council also needs to facilitate employee groups that are not well represented in decision-making. 

Having quarterly reviews should come in handy in evaluating progress, identifying what is amiss, and troubleshooting issues raised. The importance of employee voice in the workplace should be the core guiding principle of such a council or committee.

Hold Forums and Workshops for Leaders

Recognizing the value of inclusivity should start from the top and then have a trickle-down effect on individual employees. Whether you are the human resource manager of a Fortune 500 company or a business owner who manages a handful of employees, ensuring that leaders are well-equipped with organizational inclusivity strategies is essential. 

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The leader of a particular department is the one who has first-hand interactions with the staff they are mandated to lead. Recognizing that leaders can either make or break your inclusivity efforts through the experience they give your workforce should give you an incentive to educate them on the value of integrating inclusivity into the company culture.

Have Structured, Effective, and Consistent Meetings

Holding regular meetings with employees in various departments is a key milestone in achieving your inclusivity goals. Having individual employees air their grievances in front of their peers builds a culture of free expression and open communication. 

In setting up meetings, however, the structure matters in order to include everyone. The first step in having a meeting with employees is distributing the meeting agenda in advance. Socially anxious employees and those for whom English is a second language can process key discussion points well in advance. This will enable them to better contribute during meetings. 

Reaching out to remote workers to join in the meeting and discuss concerns is another key strategy for effective meetings.

Uphold Employee Differences

Part of inclusivity involves creating an environment where employees are allowed to express their culture at the workplace. Whether that involves allowing employees to dress in cultural attires or holding potluck parties, this goes a long way in creating a work environment where ethnic learning is celebrated. 

Recognizing people’s beliefs by allocating spaces for meditation or prayer is also a big part of creating an inclusive work environment.

Also, create a nursery and allow parents with young children to bring their kids to work when necessary. Doing this demonstrates to employees that their needs are heard and addressed.

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Have an Expanded Company Holiday Calendar

Other than the usual holidays such as New Year’s, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Independence Day, recognizing other holidays celebrated by minority groups in your organization means a lot to those employees. 

Including, or at least acknowledging, holidays such as Ramadan, Eid-al-Adha, and Eid-al-Fitr for Muslims and Diwali and Navrati for Hindus gives those who practice those faiths a sense of belonging and recognition by their employer.

Conclusion

Creating a workplace where individuals are allowed to bring their real selves to work is a bold step in building a thriving work environment. 

Leading by example is the foundation of workplace inclusivity. Simple things like being careful about the words you use and how you address others to leaps such as instituting committees and coming up with sound policies all add up to a workspace that employees can own.

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