Companies have a stronger workforce when they embrace and value employees of various backgrounds. They reap the rewards of innovation, creativity and stronger company culture through an inclusive workplace.
However, there is no diversity without an inclusive environment. Inclusivity should be the next step to successfully building a diverse workforce.
Therefore, it will be in your best interest to support inclusion by launching new inclusivity initiatives to help all your employees flourish. Here’s how you can achieve this today.
1. Create Inclusive Workplace Policies
As your organization becomes more diverse, analyzing your existing practices and completing an evaluation are important. Therefore, you may need to create new policies or amend existing ones for recruitment, promotions, performance evaluations, etc.
For example, when you post new job openings, you’ll need to tailor the descriptions to reach broader audiences.
Other ways you can change your workplace policies include:
- Allowing employee time-off for religious holidays not officially observed by your company.
- Providing on-site daycare.
- Reviewing your office setup to create an inclusive facility.
- Offering flexible work hours
- Using a mobile app with a translation feature so employees can communicate with others in their preferred language.
2. Build an Inclusive Workplace Task Force
Creating new policies won’t be enough to support an inclusive workplace. You’ll need to consider your stakeholders, whose input can help bring your company’s inclusive workplace to life.
The key players in this should be those passionate about inclusivity – putting in extra time to communicate your organization’s vision.
They should also be responsible for introducing new initiatives to the leadership team and collaborating with you to implement change. Therefore, creating a task force will be vital to inclusive workplace success.
However, ensure the task force is also diverse by varying locations, job functions and social demographics. The goal is to make everyone feel comfortable when you’re soliciting members.
3. Develop Mentorship Programs
While hiring a diverse workforce is crucial, mentorship programs are the key to ensuring everyone has the opportunity to level up. Consider offering employees mentorship regardless of their socio-demographic characteristics.
While this may not be feasible for every company, there are various other opportunities to consider, including:
- Provide professional development opportunities by offering continuing education.
- Connect your employees with outside resource groups, such as those dedicated to women’s leadership or young professionals.
- Ensure leadership supports inclusion by hiring diverse candidates into mentoring roles.
4. Be a Role Model by Using Inclusive Language
As a professional leader, you can make effective changes by modeling inclusive behavior, including the language you speak.
For example, you can learn to use the preferred pronouns of employees within your organization.
All the words and phrases you use matter, so it’s important to avoid slang, biases and certain expressions that involve discrimination. Modeling inclusive language is a powerful influencer in the workplace.
However, suppose you hear employees using discriminatory language in your company. In that case, you must challenge them to reinforce inclusivity in the workplace.
5. Create Opportunities for Employee Engagement
Consider allowing all employees, even full-time remote teams, to get together where they can spend free time or volunteer. Find out where your employees would like to hold these activities by surveying them. And consider arranging it on-site and externally to experience new outings.
Employees who engage with each other can share new ideas and solutions to problems. This may also encourage them to think creatively and enable them to bring those ideas back to their teams.
Additionally, you could consider having your employees volunteer in their communities. These kinds of activities foster deeper connections with each other, and it’s an excellent way to let them experience different environments.
Best of all, an inclusive workforce participating in these activities will have the chance to understand one another better.
6. Recognize and Reward Employee Performance
Recognition and rewards can go a long way in creating an inclusive workplace. While it can drive employee engagement and morale, rewarding employees for their behavior strengthens your company’s values.
Before the next quarter, ensure you review employees who’ve received public recognition beforehand. Rewarding those consistently for the same behaviors – such as top sales – send employees a message about the skills and talents your company values.
Instead, it would be helpful to consider less visible contributions that still help your company wholesomely.
7. Incorporate Inclusivity into the Core Values
Since you’re making changes to make a more inclusive workplace, this would be a good time to revisit your company’s core values. If they don’t include any statement on inclusive culture, you’ll need a buy-in from your leadership to draft a new update and implement one.
It would also be worthwhile to ask your employees for feedback and suggestions, especially if your leadership team isn’t diverse.
Gathering additional perspectives will help you fill in gaps and gain crucial insights from top to bottom.
8. Create Safe Spaces
Various companies have done an excellent job supporting inclusion by creating a safe workplace for employees. If your organization hasn’t accomplished this yet, consider starting one.
First, you’ll have to consider others’ needs. What will they need for privacy?
For example, breastfeeding moms need a dedicated space for pumping. Therefore, it would be best if you provided a lactation room. You could also consider a meditation or prayer space. Or a quiet workspace for those who get too distracted or overstimulated in open floor plans.
Do you have a fully remote team? You can also create a safe digital space by encouraging employees to have pronouns in their email signatures.
Additionally, you can collaborate with managers to learn more about everyone’s needs.
Support Inclusion in the Workplace
A diverse workplace fosters innovation, collaborative teamwork and effective decision-making. However, inclusion is the key to cultivating connections within an organization and retaining top talent.
Ensure you use these tips to support inclusion in the workplace so you can watch all your employees thrive.
About The Author
Eleanor Hecks is the Editor-in-Chief of Designerly Magazine, an online publication dedicated to providing in-depth content from the design and marketing industries. When she's not designing or writing code, you can find her re-reading the Harry Potter series, burning calories at a local Zumba class, or hanging out with her dogs, Bear and Lucy.