The HR Industry is always full of new trends to be discussed and implemented. In recent years, the importance of inclusive workplaces have taken front and center of such discussions. And for good reason.
Companies should strive to create a diverse, inclusive and safe workplace where employees feel cared for and respected. Nobody should feel excluded because of their identity and workplaces should be level playing fields for all employees. Incorporating inclusive values in a workplace will not just benefit employees, but the business as a whole as well as the community. A diverse workforce will bring together plenty of refreshing new perspectives, ideas and opinions. Here are some strategies on how to better manage and implement a more inclusive workforce.
What is an inclusive & diverse workplace?
In order to implement the right strategies, it is important to first have a firm understanding of what an inclusive and diverse workplace is. While the two are often used interchangeably, they are not necessarily the same thing. Diversity refers to a workplace having a variety of employees of all different backgrounds such as age, race and gender. Inclusivity refers to an environment which is capable of acknowledging these differences and ensuring that each individual feels valued and welcomed for who they are.
1. Educate Managers
The behaviour of managers and those in leadership positions have a very powerful impact on the employee experience. The relationship between managers and employees is critical, and can often make a difference in how long an employee decides to stay in an organisation.
Managers need to understand the importance of workplace diversity and inclusion, and really buy into the value of making a welcoming environment for all. Managers need to understand how to hire and manage a diverse team in a way that is inclusive to all.
Empower managers with the necessary skills and education to handle these. Key actions would be implementing both cultural and sensitivity training. Reporting structures and employee feedback mechanisms are also useful tools to ensure that managers are effectively leading and guiding their team.
At the same time, it is important to remember that inclusivity and diversity cannot be implemented with just a one-time training. It is something that needs to consistently be reinforced amongst managers and employees.
2. Create Inclusive Workplace Policies
Facilitating a diverse and inclusive workplace may require one to review their workplace’s current policies and consider revising any if necessary. One may need to amend or implement new policies in order to ensure that all employees feel seen and cared for.
For example, considering allowing employees to take off-days for religious or cultural events that may not be officially observed by the company.
Employee resource groups can also be created to help an organisation grow their talent pools, and allow a safe space for employees to voice out their concerns to managers. Furthermore, this allows for a level playing field for all employees to grow and develop their skills.
3. Recognise and Celebrate Differences
Employees are more than just workers with different skill sets who help an organisation reach its goals. That is only a portion of who they are. When companies take the time to recognise and celebrate the different aspects of their employees’ various cultural and religious practices they are showing employees that they are cared for and appreciated for who they are as individuals.
Employees are no longer simply working for their paycheck, it is now important for their employers to care for them beyond simply the work that they are capable of doing. By embracing and celebrating differences, companies inspire more innovative and inclusive workplaces.
4. Track Progress
As said earlier, diversity and inclusion cannot be changed or implemented overnight. There is ultimately no one-size-fits-all approach to this, and not every solution will drive the same amount of change across any given organization. This can be done through anonymous employee feedback surveys to measure the satisfaction of employees overall.
Gartner’s Inclusion Index allows organisations to promote an inclusive environment by testing their initiatives along seven key dimensions, including fair treatment, decision making, trust and diversity.
This is an important step to ensure that the measures and policies implemented by an organisation are actually effective in promoting a diverse and inclusive workforce.
5. Diversity & Inclusion Matter
Diversity and inclusiveness no doubt should be important aspects of a company’s culture. It is important to note that inclusion is ongoing, and is not a one-off training matter.
It isn’t enough to simply teach employees and managers how to, or what it means to be inclusive. Rather, a workplace’s policies and values should be reflections of it’s dedication to being diverse and inclusive. Only then does real change become possible.
AYP Group specialises in Professional Employer Organisation services aimed at bettering both employee training and development.
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