In recent years, the case for inclusivity in the workplace has grown stronger than ever. These days, companies are paying much more attention to inclusion and diversity, and for good reason. Recent studies have shown that businesses in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams are more likely to have above average profitability than companies in lower quartiles. By incorporating inclusion strategies, you are not only promoting a more positive work culture, you are also taking steps to outperform your less diverse peers. Here are just a few ways you can demonstrate a true commitment to inclusion.
Educate Your Leaders
As with anything else, change happens from the top and inclusion is no exception. If your organization truly wants to meet the needs of a more diverse and inclusive work environment, it begins with educating the leaders. That’s why it is recommended that companies hold mandatory training for people at executive levels. It should include information regarding what inclusion is and why it is important. Then, as a small group, these leaders can discuss strategies for fostering inclusivity within their company. More importantly, they can learn to lead by example.
Form an Inclusion Team
Consider establishing an inclusion team of at least 8-10 influential leaders who are dedicated and committed to inclusion. You need people who have status within the organization and are willing to advocate for inclusivity in the workplace. This group should be involved in goal-setting focused on hiring, retaining, and advancing a more diverse workforce. They should also meet to review challenges, address issues, and handle any employee engagement issues.
Celebrate Employee Differences
One of the best ways to show employees that you support their backgrounds, traditions, and differences is to invite them to share their culture and tradition with others. For example, you could host a potluck luncheon to represent different nationalities. You can provide a meditation or prayer room to support religious diversity. You can observe and celebrate holidays and traditions from around the world. The idea is to create an environment where employees feel proud of who they are.
Develop a Training Program
Diversity training is not only for the leaders and executives, but it is important for everyone within an organization. Diversity training helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work and interact with one another. Companies should focus on training that is relevant to their specific organization and that aligns with their company mission.
Mix Up Your Teams
A key part of diversity is learning from people with different voices, experiences, values, and cultures. A diverse cross-section of talent is more likely to yield better results than a team of similar like-minded individuals. Therefore, teams should be made up of different genders, cultures, ages, and backgrounds in order to produce innovative ideas and multiple perspectives.
Create a Safe Environment
Finally, it is important to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion because it establishes a stronger sense of community and creates an environment where employees feel safe being themselves. Encourage and embrace employee differences and set high standards for all employees to treat each other with respect.