Everyone is talking about workplace diversity and inclusion, but what exactly is it about, and why should it be a matter of concern? How does it affect productivity and the overall performance of an organization?
Diversity and Inclusion
While these two concepts are interconnected, they cannot be applied interchangeably.
Diversity is the technical make-up and representation of the unit. This includes different nationalities, races, genders and sexual orientations, and identities.
On the other hand, inclusion describes how the presence of said persons is perceived and how their contributions and perceptions are integrated into the day-to-day operations.
Suppose a group is highly diverse, but only a particular group carries any amount of influence and authority. In that case, that work environment is not inclusive.
Understanding Workplace Inclusion
Technically, an inclusive workspace accommodations and values all types of individuals, regardless of their differences. As such, every person has an equal opportunity for career growth and advancement. The inclusivity culture assumes that each person has the capability of performing well regardless of a disability.
A healthy work environment goes beyond describing the unit as a family. Do you feel welcomed and safe at your place of work? Are there any hindrances to your personal and professional growth? If so, are they a result of your current work situation?
What is the Purpose of Promoting an Inclusive Workspace?
Diversity and inclusion are strategic gameplay that helps to accomplish the following;
- It creates a sense of belonging. Embracing the differences between employees strengthens their togetherness.
- Embracing the authenticity of an employee gives them a chance to use their voice and participate in decision-making at work.
- It also improves the overall work experience of the employees. Inclusion creates a safe platform where people can be expressive, share ideas and innovate without any risk.
- It helps to boost the positive engagement of the employees within the organization. High employee engagement consequently results in increased levels of productivity, retention, and improved performance of a company.
- Inclusion plays an integral part in employee retention. If an individual feels that their presence and contributions are not valued, they will leave.
Developing an Inclusive Environment
Creating an inclusive platform requires consistent and intentional plans from the managerial positions. The goal is to cultivate a culture that appreciates and values all employees equally.
Is this an achievable objective? How best can it be implemented?
Carving Out a Strategy
Inclusion is a concept that significantly affects the day-to-day operations of an organization. It revolves around the managers and employees, teams, peers, and leaders. You cannot afford to ignore the work dynamics, and this is where impact is really felt. This is the main reason why a top-down approach would never work.
To create a successful strategy, you must understand the foundational blocks of an inclusive work environment at the company and individual levels.
Components of an Inclusive Work Environment
This is the connection between a company and its staff. Employees should feel that they are part of a system that knows and values their presence.
II. Having a Voice
Does the company value what its employees have to say about different topics? If so, they are more likely to share their opinions and feedback with others and those in leadership positions.
In as much as you want the employee to feel connected and heard, you must respect their authenticity. It is essential to encourage individuality among the staff and pay attention to their personal experiences and strengths. You can check out this app as a real-life example of investing in individuality and authenticity of both the staff and target audience.
IV. Feeling Valued
Appreciating and respecting your employee’s voice and individuality promotes a sense of value and satisfaction.
V. Learning and Development
A healthy work environment allows access to learning and development opportunities. This shows that the company cares for the ideas and growth of its employees.
VI. Collaborative Environment
Regardless of an employee’s role, encouraging a collaborative environment helps promote company-wide inclusion.
VII. Strategic Alignment
It is crucial to highlight the importance of an inclusive work environment to those in leadership positions. This allows the company to lay down and implement strategies for achieving an inclusive space.
VIII. Access to Resources
A company is responsible for providing the necessary support for an inclusive environment. This is very influential on the individual behaviors of the employees.
For meetings, ensure all participants send their materials and agendas beforehand. Set up technology properly and on time. Preparing ahead saves time and gives everyone a chance to actively participate in the daily operations of the company.
How to Achieve and Sustain an Inclusive Workplace
Any organization that expects to realize the maximum potential of its staff must work towards creating and sustaining a safe and inclusive workspace.
Here are several strategies you can apply to achieve this;
● Recognize Bias
Regardless of how willing your employees are to work hard, it will be impossible for them to advance in a non-inclusive environment.
Individuals in leadership positions should be trained to recognize and control inclinations to nominate staff who are similar to themselves.
● Hold Leaders Accountable
Inclusion should be a core value in every company. Management should institute a tracking and reporting system that measures the progress of diversity and inclusion projects.
● Facilitate Ongoing Feedback
A company should encourage its staff to share feedback often. It gives management a better understanding of what goes on below the surface.
Pulse surveys are a great way of keeping up with behavioral patterns within a particular branch of the company. This strategy allows management to make smarter decisions and eliminate any biases or discriminatory patterns.
● Assess Company Policies
Without an in-depth assessment of the company’s structure and power distribution, it would be impossible to fully eliminate discrimination in a business.
Company policies play a significant role in perpetuating existing issues. According to research, most employees leave as a result of poor interpersonal interactions.
Policy assessment allows the staff and management to review and replace negative interactions and processes with more accommodating ones.
Diverse, inclusive, and equitable work environments are not only healthy for the existing team, but it is also an appeal to potential candidates. Such a workspace has low turnover and high staff retention. What’s better than a happy and productive team?