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How to Achieve an Inclusive Workplace

By: Erich TollDiversity Insights
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Inclusive Workplace

Diversity and inclusion should always go together in a workplace. While there is a lot of focus on hiring diverse employees and cultural diversity, it’s just as important to create an inclusive culture. This ensures that everyone feels valued, supported, and accepted, regardless of their gender, race, ethnicity, or  health.

When you create a truly diverse and inclusive workplace, your employees will be more productive and engaged, leading to longer-lasting working relationships.

Defining an Inclusive Workplace Culture

An inclusive workplace culture not only welcomes employees of different backgrounds and identities but also places value on their unique contributions. It’s no surprise that these workplaces tend to be more successful than non-inclusive ones.

Some other benefits of an inclusive workplace culture include:

Better work quality

These employees demonstrate increased creativity due to a variety of different upbringings, work experiences, perspectives, and ideas.

Higher engagement

People are naturally more engaged when they know that their ideas and suggestions are welcome where they work. This makes their work seem more meaningful and impactful.

Retain staff longer

Inclusion involves building an accepting culture where everyone feels like an asset to the team. This sense of value encourages staff to remain with your organization for extended periods.

Important Components of an Inclusive Workplace

Understanding the key characteristics of an inclusive workplace helps to identify one effectively. Some indicators that your workplace is truly inclusive include:

  • A sense of belonging: Employees feel valued when they are accepted and included. Belongingness means that people can be their authentic selves while working.
  • Amplified Voices: Employees are encouraged to freely express ideas, suggestions, or concerns without fear of retaliation. This significantly enhances their engagement
  • Opportunities to learn and grow: A culture of continuous learning and growth shows care for employees. Training provides professional development for all employees, regardless of gender, identity, age, health, or experience.
  • Collaborative teamwork: A collaborative work environment allows every staff member’s skills to shine. When everyone is given the opportunity to be heard and given credit for their ideas, they will want the business to succeed further.
  • Focus on equity, not just equality: Recognition that employees are individuals with unique needs. Individuality is understood, as no two employees are the same.
  • Transparent decision-making: Clear expectations that eliminate the need for guesswork. Being transparent about expectations encourages employees to speak up when they feel excluded.

Ways to Achieve This Workplace Inclusivity

Creating this inclusive workplace culture requires various measures, including:

  • Using inclusive language: Ask staff about their preferred language or pronouns and respect these choices.
  • Creating a safe space: Ensure that facilities like accessible bathrooms, ramps, stair assistance, and designated parking spots are available for people with disabilities. Adapt work areas to accommodate special equipment such as wheelchairs. Ensure digital accessibility for employees with visual, motor, auditory, or cognitive disabilities.
  • Expanding the company calendar: Celebrate a variety of cultural and religious holidays and festivals to expand the sense of belonging. Cultural diversity involves recognizing holidays from all cultural and religious beliefs. This offers an opportunity for your staff to learn about other cultures and for all employees to feel understood.
  • Offering diversity training: Address discrimination and prejudices in the workplace through diversity training. Effective training goes beyond cultural understand, it teaches employees how to collaborate with others while embracing differences.

Embrace Change in Your Workplace

For your diversity and inclusion program to be successful, be open to making minor adjustments over time. Use personal experiences and suggestions from your staff as ways to know when it’s time to change or update a policy. Discover more about crucial diversity and inclusion topics and take a step towards fostering an inclusive environment by exploring our Online Diversity Training and our Online Diversity Calendar.

FAQs

How do you achieve inclusivity in the workplace?

There are many ways to promote both diversity and inclusion in the workplace including inclusive leadership training that raises awareness about unconscious bias. A diversity calendar includes diversity holidays, religious events and festivals, and other important awareness or heritage months for staff to learn about those around them. Having clear DEI policies also ensures that staff understands your company’s mission and values going forward.

How can you contribute to an inclusive environment?

Creating an inclusive work environment means that you put your mission in writing in a company mission statement. You also ask DEI questions during interviews to vet candidates who share similar views. You also hire based on culture add and not culture fit. By being inclusive at every stage of an employee’s experience with you, you ensure that they are on board with your mission to foster a sense of belonging where all employees feel valued and respected.

What does inclusivity look like at work?

An inclusive workplace is more about work culture. It’s about developing a workplace where everyone feels appreciated for their contributions. In this workplace, all customers and colleagues are treated respectfully and equally. These values should be reflected in your company’s mission statement. DEI policies should be implemented and managed regularly by measuring benchmarks for success.

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