Creating a Culture of Inclusion
We just read an article talking about top workplace trends for 2015. Of those trends, Inclusion was a top priority. As we continue to educate employers, we still have a long way to go. Diversifying your workforce shouldn’t be a “trendy” thing to do, but it should be ingrained in the way we do business. Skills, talents and innovation can come in all shapes, sizes, colors and abilities.
As the business environment becomes more and more global, the “traditional” workplace has also evolved allowing the workforce to become increasingly more diverse. Skills, attributes and talents are taking precedence over “perceived” challenges and shortcomings. Employing a culture of inclusion and diversity can foster creativity and offer different points of view and perceptions.
How can you foster an inclusive work environment? Here are a few tips to help with your strategy.
“Be the change you want to see…”
We’ve all heard this adage, but truly, be a role model for your team. Employees look to their managers, for guidance. Lead by example. Inclusion is about breaking down barriers, and looking beyond the physical and recognizing different voices and talents among all employees. You can set the bar by valuing each individual’s options, skills and making everyone feel comfortable bringing their ideas and points of view to the table.
Support your team & treat your team equitably.
Create an open-door policy to encourage your employees to discuss concerns. Take time to learn their long-term goals and passions outside of work. Acknowledging employee contributions will make them feel valued. Offer flexibility with their work schedule as outside influences may arise.
Make sure you are consistent with your team. Offering a flexible schedule to some and not others will not fly with your employees. Equity in pay and promotional opportunities should be made available to all those who have earn it, regardless of background. Provide opportunities for advancement, professional development and training sessions.
Educate about diversity and inclusion
The best way to get your team on board with an inclusive strategy is to educate them. Don’t gloss over potential challenges and only highlight benefits. Make sure you are teaching your team to understand how cultural, physical or mental differences are just that… differences. Differences which can bring value to your workplace.
Create accountability among your managers to move the inclusion agenda forward. Actions speak louder than words, so keeping your team on track by taking steps to transform ideas into concrete plans will help keep the momentum.
Motivate your employees to act inclusively
Encourage your team to actively think about their own behavior and how they can foster an attitude of inclusion.
Creating a sense of value and appreciation among your employees, regardless of their backgrounds is a good business practice in general. However, breaking down the gender, cultural, physical and mental barriers, will create a strong, diverse foundation in which to build your team, driving your business forward, creating an environment of inclusion.