An inclusive workplace is about more than just hiring employees with different backgrounds, cultures, and lifestyles.
Inclusivity is a work environment and culture that gives every employee the chance to feel valued whilst recognising their differences and understanding how these differences can benefit the company. Diversity is celebrated rather than concealed and opportunities are available for everyone with no discrimination.
Source: Glassdoor 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Survey conducted by The Harris Poll
In 2019, a study by The Harris Poll Glassdoor to better understand how inclusive workplaces are found that in the UK, 55% of employees had witnessed or experienced discrimination based on age, gender, race, or LGBTQ status in the workplace. The same research showed that within 5,200+ employees across four countries, 33% experienced ageism, 30% had witnessed racism and 24% reported LGBTQ+ discrimination. This shows that many workplaces are still not implementing best practices to increase inclusivity in the workplace - and not just by hiring a wide range of diverse people, but by accepting, understanding and supporting its diverse members.
With the tragic passing of George Floyd in 2020, the world, including employers were forced to evaluate their companies internal and external ethics, as the events shone an essential light on how important diversity and inclusion is. Employees demand their employers use their power for good and internal leaderships demand that they must find a way to do what is right. Whether this is through the introduction of inclusivity workshops or a new round of hiring to promote diversity.
So, how can you create a more inclusive workplace?
It is important to create an environment where everyone feels comfortable and able to participate in all aspects of work in order to achieve their full potential. Highlighting diversity within an organization is very important when it comes to people management and it shows that everyone within the company is valued as an individual.
Here are a few ways you can promote inclusivity in your workplace ……
Educate Your Employees
As important as it is to hire a diverse range of people, it is even more important that your existing employees align with the correct morals of the company and act as an example for your brand - they are the face of your brand after all. You can do this through employee training, and bringing diversity workshops into your workplace. Diversity and Inclusion Workshops can cover a wide variety of topics, from unconscious bias to LGBT+ terminology - to ensure that your employees are educated on the correct practice. Employee participation can also be tracked to monitor which of your staff need more education, and which of those don’t agree with your business morals - which could lead to termination. Education is the most important part of the introduction of inclusivity in both the workplace and outside of it. So who better to start with than your existing employees.
Introduce a merit-based recruitment process
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the workplace has temporarily turned virtual, and many businesses are implementing a hybrid working system into their permanent business models. This has meant that the recruitment process over the last two years has been mainly virtual, and this is likely to continue. Therefore it is more important now than ever that you don’t discriminate and a fair approach is used in all aspects of the recruitment process - as you meet people virtually rather than in person. The pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives differently and so it is fundamental to understand the changes that it has caused to an individual, this could be in the way they look, or changes in their mental health. To avoid any discriminatory behaviours throughout the recruitment process companies are encouraged to follow a merit-based policy which indicates that the recruitment process will be based purely on merit. This will mean that a company will select an employee based on skills, experience, and professional based work achievements - gender, age, and race will play no part in the recruitment process.
Support and Celebrate Your Employees’ Differences
When you think about putting together people that are different to each other, from different backgrounds and beliefs, a smooth collaboration process and teamwork can seem slightly challenging at best. However, if you can look for the opportunity and use the creative tension in those differences, you can start to build a very powerful team; one that is healthy, creative and successful - that can provide insight from multiple perspectives. There is a very powerful source for learning and innovation that comes into play when different people come together, and encouraging this in your workplace could see you skyrocket. Support along with education and understanding will help you create a diverse team that can work well together. Differences can exist in many varieties; cultural, lingual, political, religious, race, personality, gender, values and many others - but one thing they do have in common, if only one, is that they’re are all opportunities.
Listen to Employees
The Covid-19 Pandemic has impacted everyone’s lives differently and so it is fundamental to understand the changes that it has caused to an individual - whether this is changes in their mental health, financial situation, and many other external factors. As a manager, it is important your team feels they can talk openly to you without judgment, and that you are open to suggestions that help them work more productively. An employee that feels valued and appreciated is far more likely to put in extra work and efforts to benefit the company and therefore the performance of the business will be heightened as a result. A great example of this process working well is at the meditation app Calm’s Head office. After recognising the work that his staff had put in throughout the pandemic, and noticing the effects that the new working environments can have on people, CEO and Co-Founder Michael Acton Smith, has introduced an unlimited holiday leave policy, and mental health days for his staff. Discussing this in a podcast with Steven Bartlett he says how introducing this benefit to his staff shows he cares about their needs, and staff are far more likely to perform to a higher standard when they feel listened to by their employer.
Communicate Goals and Measure Progress
It is important to create an environment and culture where employees feel comfortable and able to participate in all aspects of work to achieve their full potential. Highlighting diversity within an organisation is essential when it comes to people management and it shows that everyone within the company is valued as an individual. The benefits of inclusivity in the workplace cannot be understated as it means that everybody will feel like the workplace is a safe and welcoming place where they can strive to achieve their best potential.
The Great British Workplace Wellbeing sessions will highlight the importance of inclusivity in the workplace and will discuss ways in which a supportive workplace that celebrates diversity can be created. These sessions will commence on 2nd March 2022.
09:50-10:30 - Creating an Inclusive Workplace; showing your people their value
Bukola Adisa | Founder and CEO, Career Masterclass
Kelly Collumb | Wellbeing, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Gymshark Ltd.
Vikki Leach | Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Zalando SE
David Gentles | Relationship Manager, London Sport