What Is Inclusiveness in the Workplace? (With Benefits)
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Executive professionals, managers, and other employees can all follow practices that promote diversity, equality, and equity in the workplace. This can help create a more positive and productive work culture. Creating this type of work environment is beneficial to all and is a great goal for each professional to work toward. In this article, we define what inclusiveness in the workplace is, the benefits it can offer, and how you can help create an inclusive work environment.
What is inclusiveness in the workplace?
Inclusiveness in the workplace describes a work environment where every professional can feel welcomed and appreciated, regardless of their identity. Inclusive workplaces celebrate diversity and promote fairness so that each professional has the same opportunities as others. Working to maintain an inclusive work environment can offer many benefits, such as:
Improved work culture
Companies that create inclusive work environments often experience better workplace culture. This is because employees can enjoy diversity among their colleagues and may feel happier at work. To include inclusiveness in the work culture of your employer, consider learning more about social causes and topics within equality and equity. You can also speak to your supervisors to learn more about the company values around inclusion.
If all employees feel welcomed and appreciated by their employer, they're often more likely to continue working for the company. Working for a company with high employee retention can help you become more familiar with your colleagues, as you can work with them longer. It also may foster teamwork within the workplace, which can contribute to better productivity.
When companies value inclusion, they often create hiring practices that focus on each candidate's merit instead of any unconscious bias a hiring manager may have. This means that the company can hire more talented professionals from diverse backgrounds. Having these types of professionals within the workplace can increase productivity and job performance. Since many inclusive workplaces create merit-based performance reviews and incentives, professionals can feel more rewarded for their good work and may feel more motivated to perform well.
Inclusive companies often have good reputations because of their values and the other benefits of inclusion, such as employee retention. Working for a company with a good reputation can help you advance your career, as it may help enhance your resume when you list the company within your experience section. It can also increase your job satisfaction, as you may feel proud to work for a company with a good reputation.
How to create an inclusive work environment
Whether you work within the human resources department or in another position, you can take steps to contribute to an inclusive work environment. Here are some ways you can do this:
1. Create inclusivity goals for your team
Collaborate with your team to brainstorm goals you'd like to work toward to build an inclusive and accepting work environment for all employees. You can build these goals within your department or meet with your human resources team to establish company-wide inclusivity goals. Work with them to conduct employee surveys asking employees how inclusive they feel their work environment is currently and ways you can improve. From there, you can build goals for you and other team members to work toward that ensure a more collaborative and inclusive environment, making everyone feel heard, appreciated, and welcomed.
2. Create training materials
Some professionals may not understand terms such as diversity and inclusion, so it's helpful to create training materials to ensure that everyone within the workplace has access to the information. Consider requesting that the company hire a guest speaker who is experienced in diversity discussions to hold a meeting for the company. You might also consider creating a document or presentation to share definitions and practices professionals can adopt to promote inclusiveness. Many companies undergo diversity training, so you can also contact the human resources department to request training for the team.
3. Start an inclusion council
To ensure your team is continuously practicing inclusivity in the workplace, consider forming an inclusion council. This council can consist of eight to ten employees and managers who dedicate their time to implementing inclusion policies and programs in the workplace. Make sure your council contains a diverse group of people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and genders to gain various perspectives on different situations.
This council can work to make sure all employees are accepting of each other. It may also work to build goals around creating a more diverse workplace through the hiring and retention process and helping under-represented groups feel more heard. Your council should also place importance on educating leadership on inclusivity and ensuring their teams are regularly practising it each day.
4. Celebrate team member differences
Having a team of professionals with diverse backgrounds can create a better work environment and expose you to new perspectives. Celebrating the differences between you and your colleagues can help create a more inclusive environment. There are many ways you can show your acceptance of differences in the workplace, including:
Speak up or report on any situations when employees might not feel included or welcomed by others.
Think about employees' dietary restrictions due to their religious or physical health needs when purchasing snacks, ordering lunch, or bringing in treats for the team.
Increase accessibility of your hallways, entryways, and office areas to make sure everyone has equal access.
Consider throwing parties celebrating holidays pertaining to your employees' backgrounds.
Refer to employees by their requested pronouns and share your own when meeting new colleagues.
5. Lead inclusive and engaging meetings
It's beneficial for everyone to feel more heard and noticed in your workplace, especially in meetings. There can be subtle instances where employees may feel left out or excluded during meetings, so it's helpful to recognize these moments. If you're leading a meeting with employees who speak English as a second language, print out and send your presentation and meeting materials to all attendees beforehand. This gives everyone plenty of time to read them on their own and feel more informed.
You can also give everyone enough time to talk and express their ideas. Motivate and encourage everyone to share their thoughts and ideas on certain subject matters and praise people for sharing with you. If you spot any employees interrupting others with their own comments, try to say something like, "Thanks for your thoughts, Kyle, but let's give Avery some time to finish their statement."
6. Express your gratitude
Expressing your gratitude for your colleagues often can help them feel more welcome and happy at work. It can also help ensure more employees receive praise, which is important for inclusive workplaces. Consider thanking team members whenever they offer help. When expressing your gratitude, try to be specific with your praise and offer a sincere and unique thank-you. You can also offer praise whenever you notice a colleague completing good work or putting forth extra effort to improve the workplace.
If you begin to regularly praise your colleagues, others may also adopt the practice. This can help contribute to a more positive and motivating work environment. Consider making offering public praise to your work routine so you can make it a habit. Remember to offer unique and sincere praise to ensure it's a quality statement and achieves its purpose.
Related: How to Praise Someone Professionally
7. Help others feel welcome
Inclusivity is about feeling like you belong on your team. Actively work to make sure all employees feel this way with one another with every daily action you take. Some ways you can do this include:
Using the same business communication platform and inviting employees to join groups based on their interests
Keeping track of and celebrating all employees' birthdays, holidays, work anniversaries, and any other important milestones
Inviting all employees to company events, work lunches or any other team outings
Encouraging every employee to express their thoughts during meetings, brainstorming sessions, and when collaborating on group projects
Offering praise often
Conducting surveys for team members to offer feedback and anonymous concerns
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