In a bid to address racial injustice, reduce discrimination and implicit bias within the workplace, in recent times, business organizations all over the world are embracing the idea of inclusivity as an organization culture to enable diversity to thrive.
Inclusivity is that workplace culture that makes an organization welcoming to all potential job candidates, making them feel valued and respected, regardless of their racial identity, ethnicity, sex, life experiences, background, religion, age, abilities, etc.
Mitjans describes inclusion as a measure of culture that enables diversity to thrive. She said: “Diversity is the ‘what’; inclusion is the ‘how’.” While diversity focuses on the demographics of the workplace, inclusion looks at the workplace culture and how employees feel and are able to thrive.
Even though the concepts of inclusion and diversity have become buzzwords in today’s business world, they represent very essential prerequisites to an organization’s success in recent times. A diverse and inclusive workplace allows an employer access to innovative ideas, perspectives, knowledge and experiences of different segments of society and resulting in business growth.
There is often confusion between diversity and inclusion in the workplace. However, it is worth noting that both ideas have distinct meanings as highlighted above. Hiring a diverse team is the first step, but it is the inclusivity; the welcome culture and vibe within the workplace that allows employees thrive and enhance the company’s staff retention.
So, here are four ways to promote inclusion in a workplace:
1. Ensure that the management understands the need for DEI
It is important that organizations committed to DEI ensure that its leaders and managers understand and are committed to the need for an inclusive culture within the workplace. Jared Atchinson of WPForms stated that: “You form stronger connections with people you understand, and inviting people to be their most authentic selves at work will give you great results in other areas. People are able to work more productively and openly when they feel accepted in their environment.”
2. Create avenues for employees to express themselves
Inclusivity thrives where employees are validated in the form of being allowed to air their opinions, concerns and objections based on their individual perspectives without fear of being victimized. A company may create an anonymous form of receiving complaints, objections, etc.
Also, favoritism or the adoption of discriminatory practices that typically make some employees feel unwelcome need to be shunned so that its inclusive strategy will be effective.
It’s vital to create an environment where employees feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Companies should validate each and every person, regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual preferences or background. To effectively promote diversity, managers shouldn’t play favorites or have discriminatory practices and employees should feel safe to voice their concerns and opinions without the fear of victimization.
3. Create a safe space to accommodate employees’ beliefs
An organization can promote inclusivity by allowing employees the freedom and safe space to accommodate the practice of their personal beliefs. For example, there are organizations that curate a separate prayer room where employees can observe their prayers within the work hours. A Forbes study reported that this does not only encourage employees to feel free and welcome to be their true selves, it is also an indication that the organization cares about its employees and choose inclusivity over differences.
4.Organize regular culture day fun activities
Employees will feel more inclusive in the workplace if organizations make the effort to make provisions for culture day events that is based on the various cultures of the employees. With a bit of creativity around the event, employees will be able to interact, become open minded and tolerant of the culture of other communities represented within the workplace.
In conclusion, an inclusive culture in a workplace requires that everyone treats everyone else with respect and that each employer can use his/her voice. Also, managers and leaders must appreciate the unique features of all employees within the workplace.