Ways To Nurture Inclusivity And Diversity In The Workplace
Today most workplaces include people from a range of religions, ages and ethnicities. While you may be working in diverse teams, true inclusion can only be brought about by creating a culture where people are appreciated and respected for their differences. Achieving this requires a different level of dedication and effort.
Working towards a more inclusive workplace is not down to the HR department alone. Every single person in the company has a role to play in nurturing inclusion in the workplace. Here are a few ways you can do your part.
Understand Existing Biases
Before you take any other steps towards inclusion, it is important to understand existing biases and build awareness about these. Some biases are unconscious, which means that they are hidden and do not align with our conscious beliefs. It is crucial to help your coworkers understand the impact that unconscious biases can have. Every employee must be encouraged to question and review their own personal biases.
In order to foster a more inclusive environment, these biases that exist in every organisation must be managed. Organise internal training sessions to inspire change and understanding among employees.
Celebrating differences is a great way to make everyone in your workplace feel included. Encouraging employees to express their traditions and culture will demonstrate that their beliefs are respected. For instance, you could organise a cultural event with performances that showcase traditions. Another option is to ask people to get involved in weekly potluck lunches featuring a wide variety of food from different cuisines.
It is also a good practice to recognise days that have a significance to people from other religions and communities. If your company publishes a periodic newsletter, ensure that employees from different backgrounds are given the option to express their ideas and beliefs.
When your organisation supports a mentorship culture, it drives inclusion. Emphasis must be placed on the development of employees and the importance of building strong working relationships. Senior leaders should take the time to get to know their employees and appreciate their differences.
Mentorship is a great way to show people that their contributions to the organisation are valued. When there is a sense of familiarity and understanding between mentors and employers, it builds cultural competency which helps bridge differences. To achieve this, it is important to create safe spaces where both parties can share insights and experiences.
Consider Creating Safe Spaces
Leading organisations all over the world have created safe spaces within the company walls to promote inclusion. For instance, gender-neutral restrooms are becoming more common and go a long way towards nurturing non-binary and gender queer inclusion.
Other moves in the right direction include adding lactation rooms for new mothers, prayer spaces and quiet areas for people to work without distraction. Speak to managers of different teams to understand the requirements of everyone in the company. Some employees may not be able to advocate for themselves, so encourage managers to express the needs of their team members freely.
Form An Inclusion Committee
One of the most effective ways to promote inclusion is by forming a dedicated Inclusion committee. This can be a group of about 10 individuals who are committed to encouraging diversity. Make sure you select people from different backgrounds who are willing to put in the work.
The members of the committee will act as a communication channel between people at different levels of the organisation. They will address any grievances and advocate for inclusivity in meetings and discussions. The committee must also keep a check on whether inclusion strategies that were previously put in place are still relevant and being followed.
Treat Inclusivity As An Ongoing Process
A one-off training is not enough to bring inclusivity into the workplace. Nurturing diversity and inclusivity requires conscious behaviour modifications. Employees must be encouraged to build new habits and daily actions that bring about genuine change. This may involve some uncomfortable conversations and tension in the workplace, but is necessary to create a better work environment in the long run.
Equip your employees with the information and skills that will help them work towards positive changes within their teams and departments. Doing this is more effective than a few training sessions held a couple of times a year.
It goes without saying that discrimination of any kind must not be acceptable at your workplace. People of all ethnicities, cultures and backgrounds should have a say in the decision-making process of your organisation.
There are many benefits to promoting diversity and inclusivity in a workplace. It leads to better innovations, cohesive teams and well-ordered decision making. When you create a truly inclusive workplace, job satisfaction levels will increase and people will feel more connected to your organisation.