Modern workplaces have become melting pots where people coming from diverse backgrounds and cultures build valuable professional relationships.
Inclusiveness has become a standard for operating a cohesive workforce. In addition, people who are looking for a job want to work for employers that champion diversity.
Regardless of how long you have been in business, promoting inclusiveness in the workplace helps create an engaging and positive work culture that recognizes the contributions of every employee.
Apart from that, you also attract quality talents that will help nurture the organization’s growth.
To do this, you will need to use the right approaches. Here’s a guide for building a more inclusive workplace.
1. Make Inclusion Part of Your Corporate Vision
Inclusiveness must be practiced as a principle, so you must add this to your organization’s overall vision.
It’s a good start since it allows you to make inclusion a tenet that must be followed in all aspects of the organization.
Whether it’s recruiting new employees or reaching out to potential clients, adding inclusion allows you and your managers to adopt the right practices and methods.
In most cases, you may need to prepare a diversity and inclusion (D&I) statement.
Unlike your corporate vision and mission statements which mostly serve as brand-building instruments, your D&I statement functions as an official commitment toward creating a work environment and organizational culture that promotes diversity.
It includes the specific goals and the actions you can take to address issues of discrimination. Moreover, it should position your company as an equal opportunity employer.
Putting your commitment to inclusion on paper looks simple on the surface, but it helps you define and implement the strategies for reaching this goal.
2. Start Training Your Managers
Once you have set your D&I statement, your managers and supervisors must be all in the same boat.
Since they serve as your eyes and ears on the ground, you should equip them with the knowledge and tools for implementing inclusive practices in their respective departments or teams.
A single session isn’t enough to provide a full understanding of inclusion, so consider organizing seminars that touch on different areas.
You might want to hold training sessions and workshops on topics such as gender sensitivity, religious tolerance, and bullying.
Moreover, you can also include talks about the differences between xenophobia vs. racism and the ways in supporting persons with disability.
From this, you empower the upper management to take a more profound role in making sure that inclusion remains a priority.
You may need to spend time and resources on such activities, but it’s well worth it if the main goal is to improve internal relationships and create a people-first environment through your managers and supervisors.
3. Make Communication Central
Open communication is the cornerstone of strong professional relationships. It helps build trust and fosters respect among co-workers.
That’s why, as an executive, you need to create a work environment where healthy communication exists, starting with how the upper management engages employees whether in-person or through a virtual conference.
An open-door policy lets employees know that the company is willing to listen to their needs, challenges, and suggestions regardless of their backgrounds.
Counseling sessions allow your organization to pick up issues that would otherwise fall under the radar.
Some employees may find it difficult to point out problems and report cases of discrimination or harassment by co-workers.
Having an open-door policy provides them with an avenue to point out what’s wrong in the office so you can act on it accordingly.
Most employees would keep their opinions to themselves because they think that their feedback doesn’t matter. One way to gather insights from them is through quarterly surveys.
Apart from asking what they think about the current work environment, you should also encourage them to suggest improvements, especially when it comes to inclusion.
This will give you a deeper look at what your employees need through their eyes.
4. Practice What You Preach
Beyond the training sessions, workshops, and team huddles, inclusion should permeate life inside and outside the office.
It’s easy to draft a D&I statement and organize bi-yearly sensitivity conferences, but the application of inclusive practices matters the most.
Everything from the language you use in official communications to constructing accessible facilities should be monitored.
Along with that, you should also make sure that the company remains a safe space. Ensuring enforcement would mean designating a D&I committee that oversees the implementation of inclusive practices.
Building an inclusive workplace isn’t a trend. It’s a principle that must be followed through. After all, the world is getting smaller and companies like yours should make sure everyone has a voice.
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