A Culture of Inclusion: Promoting Workplace Diversity and Belonging

How to improve your organization by creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

• Cultural inclusion starts from the top down. It is imperative that business leaders display inclusive behavior.

• Ask employees for feedback on how to improve your company’s diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

• Cultural inclusion can improve your company culture and ultimately help your bottom line.

• This article is for employers, HR professionals, and business leaders who want to learn how to create an inclusive workplace culture.

Diversity is an important issue for any modern business. But it’s not enough to hire people of different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations – everyone needs to feel like they are truly welcome, safe and free to be themselves in the workplace.

How to develop an inclusive work culture:

Although many businesses are switching towards more inclusive and diverse workforces, there is still much progress to be made. Here are some simple steps you can take as a leader to promote an inclusive company culture. [Communication and involvement matter when promoting diversity.]

1. Start from the top:

As with any facet of company culture, creating and encouraging a sense of belonging in  workplace begins at the leadership level. The company’s founders and executive team need to have a desire to build a diverse culture and hire people who are open to working with people of all different nationalities, skin colors, genders and sexual orientations.

If diversity is not a company goal … it just won’t happen,” she said. “People tend to hire people like them so they are comfortable and rarely challenged. It is human nature.

“We strive to provide all of our employees with the tools and skills necessary to shine, and that starts with letting your employees know that yes, you can be exactly who you are here,” Beckerman, CEO of Unified, said.

2. Focus on inclusive recruitment strategies:

Once your company’s leadership sets the tone, it’s easy to extend that attitude throughout the organization.

“What is great about creating a culture of belonging is that it can be fostered peer-to-peer, bottom-up and top-down,” said Ullmann.

Ullmann also recommends taking a close look at your company’s recruiting tactics to make sure you’re approaching hiring with the goal of fostering diversity and inclusion.

“Make inclusive recruitment an integral part of your company’s DNA to amplify your company’s future, cultivate your workforce and invest in the community as a whole,” he said.

3. Provide safe spaces for employees:

Inclusive workplaces go the extra mile to consider the safety and comfortability of all employees, especially those from marginalized groups. One easy way to signal a progressive, inclusive workplace is to offer unisex bathrooms in your office.

On a broader level, inclusive spaces can be created simply by spending time with one another. Consider hosting team lunches and other informal events where employees can casually connect with each other. If your company is bigger, creating an in-office support group or network for diverse employees can help them connect with others who share their experiences.

“Employee networks can provide a safe, open environment to spark conversations and discuss the topics that are important to the community,” said Castro.

4. Connect with employees (but be sensitive):

One of the best ways to signal to your employees that it’s OK to be themselves is to connect with them on a personal level. Be transparent with them about your own life: “If you are real with them chances are you will get the same in return,” said Bune.

Simple gestures like asking about “spouses” or “partners” (rather than assuming someone’s sexual orientation and using gendered terms) can encourage LGBT employees to open up about their personal lives and feel included in non-work discussions. However, it’s important not to be insensitive about their identity.

“Be sure to treat LGBTQ employees like everyone else in the office and do not ask inappropriate questions like, ‘How did you come out?’ unless you have a close relationship with the person,” she said. “This is a very personal question.”

5. Give employees multiple ways to provide feedback:

Ullmann advised giving employees an outlet for connecting with others and sharing their stories.

“Whether it’s an employee survey, company all-hands discussions or campaigns, giving your employees multiple ways to share their feedback, their perspective and their stories will create an open dialogue that can lead to more positive outcomes,” he said.

Importance of cultural inclusion at work:

Cultural inclusion has moved to the forefront of many employers’ HR agendas, and for good reason. Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is not only the “right” thing to do, but it can also benefit businesses in many ways.

1. It fosters a healthy work environment.

2. It increases employee engagement and productivity.

3. It leads to more creativity and innovation.



SOURCE : www.businessnewsdaily.com

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