In today’s world, employers are striving to create a more inclusive workplace. Although hiring for diversity is the first step, it shouldn’t stop there. To design an inclusive workplace, leadership teams need to first understand what the term means and how it’s different from diversity.
What is the meaning of inclusion in the workplace?
Most organizations are aware that they should be striving for a more inclusive workplace in 2019. But what exactly is inclusion and how does it differ from diversity? Diversity is making sure everybody is invited to the party. Inclusion is asking someone to dance.
While you may have a diverse workforce, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s an inclusive workplace. Insuring inclusivity means zero tolerance for discrimination, and a constant and intentional sense of welcome for different backgrounds.
Diversity is making sure everybody is invited to the party. Inclusion is asking someone to dance.
What does an inclusive culture look like?
An inclusive workplace can “activate the beauty and power of differences to create better decisions and solutions,” says Moe Carrick. This type of culture extends beyond diversity by utilizing a variety of skill sets that form a stronger team.
The goal is to build an adaptive culture that fosters creativity, innovative thinking, teamwork, and connection. How can organizations create an inclusive workplace? Follow these steps.
1. Create Inclusive Policies and Procedures
The first step to designing an inclusive workplace involves setting standards for your workforce. Written policies and procedures help set expectations for how staff members work together. Policies and procedures are designed to protect a diverse workforce. This means zero tolerance for any kind of harassment or discrimination.
This step has been shown to lower instances of harassment and discrimination. Especially when it comes to sexual orientation, such as the LGBTQ community and same-sex partner benefits. These organizational policies help employees feel a greater sense of belonging. Managers should also be encouraged to enforce these policies to maintain a safe work environment.
It’s important that this step extends to hiring for diversity. It’s good to streamline hiring to remove any biases in hiring managers, or perhaps create a hiring team. When doing the latter, try to incorporate diversity into that hiring panel, so that different ethnicities, sexual orientations, and religions are represented. Here’s some more on equal opportunity hiring forms.
2. Facilitate Company-Wide Collaboration
In many businesses, departments only communicate with each other. For example, accounting doesn’t typically spend much time communicating with sales or marketing. However, an inclusive workplace challenges this norm with company-wide collaboration.
Why? Encouraging each division to collaborate is beneficial in many ways. For instance, sales teams usually think the same way. They are in the same field, which can sometimes cloud judgment or prevent outside thinking. Next time your sales team faces a challenge, encourage them to problem solve with different teams within the organization.
Accounting, for example, may be able to help solve a sales problem by looking at the challenge through a different lens. Their unique perspective might provide valuable insight that sales members didn’t consider. Collaboration can help teams solve problems in creative, new ways. This is beneficial from both a company production standpoint and team building.
3. Discourage Gender-Specific Language
Often times male-centered language (i.e. “home run,” “murdered it,” etc.) can circulate around the office. Reducing the use of these terms can make employees feel more welcome. Hold a meeting that identifies these popular buzzwords and discuss how they can make employees uncomfortable. Suggest alternative language that encourages inclusion. Although small, this simple change is an effective way to create a more inclusive workplace.
Remember that diversity is only the first step. Your organization needs to make an effort beyond hiring to foster inclusion in the workplace. An inclusive culture can be the secret to improving your company’s operations and efficiency. Follow these steps to build an adaptive culture that fosters creativity, innovative thinking, teamwork, and connection.