How to Build an Inclusive Workplace
Posted on August 5, 2020, by Devyn Hinchee
The mistake that many teams make when implementing a diversity recruiting strategy is to not consider how to foster an inclusive workplace. You could have an impeccable diversity recruiting plan, but if the diverse employees you recruit don’t feel safe within the team you’re going to be faced with turnover.
Let’s look over some of the details that you need to know about diversity and inclusion. As well as what you can do to ensure that your team is inclusive as possible.
What is the difference between Diversity and Inclusion?
Diversity is the difference between members of a workplace. That difference may be physical, social, etc. and include characteristics like race, ethnicity, age, education level, etc. As we’ve said previously, “Hiring diversely means hiring people from numerous backgrounds and cultures.”
Inclusion is the act of treating all individuals fairly and equally while providing equal access to opportunities. In an inclusive workplace, all employees are respected and celebrated for their individual skills and accomplishments and all feel welcome and supported.
Diversity is the “who” of the employment process and Inclusion is the “how.”
Which should you focus on first?
Much like the age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” it’s really difficult to successfully separate the two from each other. Most companies focus on their diversity hiring goals and then place the focus on building inclusivity, but some choose to work in the opposite direction. Whichever you choose to focus on first, you need to respect their relation to each other.
Without a diverse workforce, it’s difficult to create an inclusive workplace and without an inclusive workplace, it can be difficult to attract a diverse workforce.
Why should you have an inclusive workplace?
We’ve talked about how diversity in the workplace has incredible effects on a company’s bottom line. What to Become has even cited that “highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial goals by up to 120%.”
When it comes to employee performance, “83% of all millennials are more likely to be actively engaged if they believe their company stimulates a diverse and inclusive culture.” More and more people want to feel a sense of pride when it comes to where they work and when employees care about diversity and inclusion, they want their companies to care too.
When it comes down to it building an inclusive workplace is simply the right thing to do.
How to implement the changes to become an inclusive workplace
As a TA leader, you have a special power to implement the cultural change that your company may need. As Katee Van Horn says, “As a leader, you need to be able to harness the power of each individual for the good of the larger team.”
You have to be honest about where your team is starting on the inclusion process. This isn’t a checklist where you get to work through the steps and then the job is complete. Be honest when your team has work to do and be honest about the effort that people need to be putting in.
You can start off your inclusion journey by making sure that every person on the team is aware of the rules going forward. Even if it feels like you don’t need to say something, say it. It’s always better to be clear.
Invest in Inclusive Workplace Training and Learning
By publicly investing in diversity and inclusion training you’re saying to your team and your company that this effort matters. It’s not enough to say nothing.
Whether you purchase tools particularly to supplement your diversity recruiting strategy (HiringSolved can help you with that!) or you bring in experts to work with your team one-on-one, you can’t have any growth without learning. Set aside time to work with your team and learn together. When you go through training and learning opportunities together you foster a collaborative workplace that equalizes the playing field. Everyone has something to learn and you as a leader aren’t above that!
Lead by Example
If you’re a department leader, the team will look to you for guidance. Lead by example and show what it means to be an inclusive member of the team. For tips about what you can do, head over to this blog post from Katee Van Horn where she shares how best to create and manage inclusive teams.
You certainly don’t need to force people to work together on every project. You do need to build a space where collaboration is key. Collaborative efforts at work can lead to team members being more open to communication and feedback than they would be working on their own.
Create teams who work together on projects or even just groups that get together for weekly brainstorming sessions. No interrupting or talking over each other allowed! You’ll be surprised how easy it is to learn from each other when everyone’s opinions and voice are not only welcome, but appreciated.
These tips are just the start! Building an inclusive team should be a constant goal that your company strives for. How do you foster inclusivity at your company? Let us know on Twitter!