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The concept of creating inclusive workplaces is steadily gaining popularity and most leaders agree it is important. But the process of creating an inclusive workspace differs from one organization to another. Some conduct unconscious bias workshops and create employee support groups, others opt to hire and retain diverse employees. The primary feature of an inclusive environment involves affirmative action to negate the impact of bias, unequal opportunities, and discrimination.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are not restricted to a roster of employees with varied demographic characteristics. Instead, it is about creating an environment and culture of inclusion where employees from all walks of life are welcome.
Cultural inclusion is a key aspect of an inclusive workplace. It is geared at making all employees feel accepted while their differences are acknowledged.
3 Ways to Create an Inclusive Workplace
Here are the three important steps needed to build an inclusive workplace.
• Prioritize Diversity
An inclusive workplace cannot be created without diversity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are three characteristics an organization’s workforce must possess. Here’s what organizations can do to create the necessary environment:
Start by analyzing the organizational data about the percentage of diverse candidates at each level, turnover and retention rate, employee satisfaction, and the overall performance ratings.
Create a comprehensive plan to prioritize diversity and inclusion by establishing clear goals to track the above-mentioned metrics, implementing anti-discrimination policies, and by expanding the recruiting network.
Diversity in the workplace becomes easier when it starts with recruitment. From diversity in the executive teams to overall gender diversity in the organization, make a note of areas where diversity is needed.
• Establish An Equal Playing Field
Humans have unconscious preferences and they are influenced by different cultural and environmental factors. Unfortunately, these preferences become culprits that reduce diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Organizations must focus on creating an equal playing field by constantly challenging biases for promoting equality.
If organizations aggressively challenge their assumptions about an employee’s knowledge, attributes, skills, and experiences, they can witness a boost in diversity and organizational success. While assessing whether a specific employee is a right fit for an organization, companies must ensure that potential candidates aren’t excluded due to unseen biases and prejudices. Instead of fixating on characteristics, candidates should be screened based on their potential during recruitment.
Apart from broadening the hiring pool, on-the-job training programs must be created and conducted regularly to reduce the scope of biases. Organizations can also conduct different educational and information programs that tackle discrimination. Apart from these measures, they can consider incorporating a zero-tolerance policy for any form of discrimination and help employees identify signs of harassment.
A flexible working model, no-negotiation salary policy, remote hiring, and gender-neutral parental leave are some other measures that can help create a levelled playing field.
• Focus on Inclusivity
Diversity serves no purpose without consciously increasing workplace inclusivity. This means organizations must consider the degree to which all their employees are acknowledged, embraced, appreciated, and empowered.
Employee perception of inclusion is based on their personal experience as well as how they view their organization. Organizations should take conscious measures to ensure how the workplace culture caters to usually under-represented groups. This helps build and retain an effective and efficient diverse workforce. Companies can even create and maintain the needed communities and support groups to aid this purpose.
They can also establish effective, open, and honest channels of communication between the management and employees as an inclusion initiative.
To sum it up, an inclusive workplace culture is possible by embracing diversity, challenging biases to increase equality, and consciously focusing on inclusivity.