When you hear the words “inclusive workplace,” you naturally think “diversity.” And that’s good. However, D & I are not the same thing.
Diversity is the characteristics, experiences and other distinctions that make one person different from another. A diverse workplace is one that hires and promotes people from a variety of backgrounds, with each distinct perspective enriching an organization’s talent pool. Inclusion means creating an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued, and no individual is denied access to education, resources, opportunities, or treatment based on the qualities that make them unique, whether intentionally or inadvertently.
Inclusion is the next step to supporting a diverse workforce. It’s not just the right thing to do, but it also pays off in terms of business benefits. Research has shown that inclusive workplaces are six times as likely to be innovative and have 2.3 times the cash flow per employee than non-inclusive ones.
Here are five ways to make your workplace more inclusive, starting today:
Educate people about diversity.
Keep diversity top of mind with ongoing education. It needs to start at the top and then cascade throughout your organization. Be sure managers at all levels complete training in avoiding unconscious bias, which occurs when people make judgments about others based on gender, race, or other demographic factors, without realizing they’re doing it. The right training will raise awareness and drive home the importance of modeling inclusive behavior.
Encourage people to showcase who they are.
Ask your employees about their favorite foods, weekend plans, or favorite vacation spots. Get to know their families, their coffee orders, or their favorite songs or books. Inclusion is about finding common ground and celebrating what brings people together.
- Diversify your company calendar. Consider offering additional vacation days or PTO so people can honor the days that are personally meaningful to them. Let “set” holidays be flexible; for instance, give people the option to take time off for Hanukah or Kwanzaa instead of Christmas.
Widen your talent pool.
Be sure your recruiting team looks at talent from a variety of backgrounds and emphasize your company’s commitment to inclusive hiring. Avoid barriers like advanced degrees or expensive certifications. Hire diverse candidates from entry level through leadership positions.
Use inclusive language.
Review the language your company uses, both internally and externally, in all its media and applications. Many terms that once were commonplace are not recognized as insensitive. This is especially notable when it comes to gender, race, or disability status. Use pronouns appropriately. Generally speaking. It’s most acceptable to refer to someone by name or with the indeterminate pronoun “they.”
Listen to your employees.
Field surveys, convene focus groups, and simply – but powerfully – dialogue often with employees so you can drill down on engagement and inclusion issues. Conduct a comprehensive assessment of your company’ demographics and people processes, so you can develop specific strategies for greater inclusiveness. Think about the culture you want and how you can create one that’s authentic to your brand while at the same time meeting the needs of all your employees.
As you build your talent acquisition team, and they lead your company-wide efforts to enhance D & I on an ongoing basis, turn to the Search Wizards team for additional resource, support, and insight. Contact us today to learn more.