If your company is hiring a diverse range of employees that encompass a wide range of ethnicities, religions, ages, abilities, and worldviews, then you are lucky enough to have diversity in the workplace. Unfortunately, diversity doesn’t automatically mean inclusion — it is just half of the “diversity and inclusion” checkbox.
If you’re a leader in your company, you may be wondering why diversity doesn’t automatically lead to inclusion and how you can encourage inclusion in the workplace. Developing a company culture where all employees feel included — regardless of their race, religion, etc. — can prove to be a real challenge.
Developing a culture of inclusivity means the employees that make up your teams are happy to be there everyone’s opinions get heard. So how is it done?
1. Listen More
The first step in creating a more inclusive workplace is to listen to the wants, needs, and concerns of your diverse employees. This can be done by surveying employees and forming focus groups to better understand issues when it comes to inclusion. Then, an inclusion “task force” can be formed by leaders or HR to address the issues brought to light by your employee base.
Some companies hold town hall-style meetings and encourage open communication with staff. This allows staff to voice their concerns and opinions on a variety of subjects — giving you even more insight into issues that might be present with inclusivity in the workplace.
2. Celebrate Differences + Improve Accommodations
Celebrating differences means more than just hiring employees with diverse backgrounds. It also includes inviting those employees to share their backgrounds and traditions with your team, making them feel comfortable and celebrated.
One way you might encourage celebrating diversity is to hold potluck parties encouraging employees of different cultures to share their cultural foods.
Another way to celebrate differences is to make your workplace accommodating and accessible. If employees have physical limitations, then your workplace must be ultimately accessible for physical impairments. This might mean more handrails, ramps, and elevators. On the cultural side, it may also mean adding things like meditation or prayer rooms to allow employees of different religions to find peaceful areas to practice their faith.
3. Improve Your Meetings
More effective meetings are a must when it comes to an inclusive workplace. Many employees who are introverted, shy, or who don’t speak English as their first language, may find meetings a daunting task. If you want your meetings to be more thoughtful and inclusive, one strategy is to manage expectations well before the meeting starts by distributing materials well in advance so and share main points that will be discussed in the meeting. This can help introverted and anxious employees to prepare their expectations properly.
Some other tips for meetings and inclusivity:
- Be conscious of your communication style — not all employees communicate or receive information the same way.
- Promote active participation and even debate when respectful.
- Rotate meeting times for remote workers in different time zones.
- Make sure your remote workers have the necessary resources to participate in the meetings in a meaningful way.
Learn Inclusivity and Diversity From Our Leadership Development Series
The above tips are just some quick notes that may help to develop a more inclusive workplace, but if you want more in-depth insight into diversity, equity, and inclusion, the second half of our event taking place on August 11th is aimed at improving and discussing those very points.