Why an Inclusive Workplace is Important
There’s a lot of momentum happening where businesses are recognizing the benefits that diversity, equity, and inclusion can bring. Even the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that inclusive strategies are helping businesses gain access to new talent pools, improving the chances of finding a skilled candidate.
These organizations use inclusive hiring strategies that remove unconscious bias using job simulators instead of phone interviews. More importantly, there are many strategies you can implement today to make your workplace culture more inclusive.
Need some extra help guiding your inclusion efforts? Coach Diversity Institute has resources, programs, and services to help build an inclusive environment. Get started today with an associate diversity coach program and put the inclusion in DEI!
10 Strategies for Creating a More Inclusive Workplace
It’s no secret that having an inclusive workplace brings higher performance, better communication, and reduced turnover. Going about crafting an inclusive workplace doesn’t have to be elusive. With these strategies, you can have the most inclusive business on the block!
1. Start from the top
Company culture starts at the top with C-suite leaders. These leaders must embody what it means to be inclusive and act as beacons for your team. When your organization’s leaders actively participate in inclusive behaviors, they model how the rest of the team should operate.
Naturally, shifting your company to an inclusive culture may have some hiccups. You can avoid many of these hiccups with executive leadership diversity training through Coach Diversity Institute. The one-on-one coaching helps senior leaders define inclusion goals and achieve them through actionable steps. You can even engage with these courses remotely, so you never have to leave the office.
2. Create safe spaces for employees
Safe spaces are more than a place to voice your concerns without backlash. An excellent example of creating a safe space is designating a gender-neutral bathroom. But, there are other spaces you can invest in also, like lactation rooms for mothers, prayer/meditation spaces for spirituality, and quiet work environments for those who struggle with focusing.
You can also create digital safe spaces for your remote team members. Leaders can use these digital spaces to approve religious holiday requests or make remote company events optional. To gauge what safe spaces your teams need, create an anonymous survey and gain valuable feedback.
3. Become a champion of inclusive language
Creating an inclusive environment means being inclusive with our words. Using non-inclusive language like gendered terms, discriminatory remarks, or unnecessary assumptions makes employees feel like they don’t have value and can reduce employee morale. Inclusive language at your organization should start with the hiring process to show new hires you have an inclusive workplace culture.
Regardless of communication style, there is always a way to champion inclusive language. Making inclusive language a core value can improve employee engagement as team members feel included. It’s critical that you remain aware of your own unconscious biases and always apologize if you unintentionally use hurtful or insensitive language.
4. Build trust and check in with employees frequently
You can accomplish a lot during a one-on-one conversation. These conversations are a segue into open dialogue that can help facilitate cultural changes. However, they can only happen when you establish trust with your staff.
You can work towards building trust by following through with suggestions, remaining fair, and practicing equity. Once employees feel comfortable, they will open up about areas of opportunity within the company’s culture.
5. Develop a DEI task force
A diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) task force is the perfect way to get various departments together to solve a common goal. A good practice is developing your DEI task force to be diverse, including leadership and lower-level team members of all backgrounds.
A DEI task force will be responsible for auditing DEI and recommending changes to inclusion initiatives. They will also organize and host DEI events to create strong awareness and can even get involved with community events. Want to become a professional diversity coach? Coach Diversity Institute provides certified diversity coach programs to help you become a leader within your DEI task force!
6. Ensure your office is wheelchair-accessible
A more inclusive workplace involves more than events and inclusive language. A genuinely diverse workforce will include employees with disabilities. To create an equal opportunity for these employees, you can ensure your office is wheelchair accessible and ADA-compliant.
During your office inspection, look for pain points those in wheelchairs may encounter. Old office buildings will often lack elevator access or wheelchair ramps. This small addition can help employees feel included and attract additional clients who recognize your business as an inclusion-friendly establishment.
7. Explain the importance of inclusivity during diversity training
Despite what some may think, diversity, equity, and inclusion mean different things. It is possible to have a diverse company that’s non-inclusive. That’s why you must explore the differences during every cultural competency training. Workplace inclusion happens when human resources, senior leaders, and regular co-workers are on the same page. And training is the best way to make that happen.
Not every organization has the time or staff to run comprehensive corporate diversity training. Leave the facilitating to the experts at Coach Diversity Institute, who provide diversity coaching services to individuals and groups alike.
8. Add pronouns to your email signature
One of the simplest inclusion strategies is to add pronouns to email signatures. Adding pronouns to your email signature helps to fortify digital safe spaces and signals a welcoming environment. This company-wide initiative takes mere minutes to complete and allows employees to share a sense of identity.
Some common pronouns to look for include:
There are far more than just a handful of pronouns. If you’re unsure, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s better to ask than to make a mistake and have to apologize.
9. Make space for introverts to shine
Diverse talent comes in many forms, including extroverts and introverts. While extroverts seem to get all the glory, implementing initiatives to give introverts a voice unlocks their hidden potential. It starts with providing a platform for introverts to share by creating space for those who are more reserved or anxious.
Introverts can also get overwhelmed with loud noises or feel pressured to share when they’re not comfortable. To alleviate these pain points, you can provide employees with noise-canceling headphones and headsets or give an anonymous suggestion box. These steps can cut down the number of background distractions and create an environment where introverts can contribute.
10. Put up signs in multiple languages
Language is uniquely human, yet many see it as a divisive force. To help combat ethnic, racial, and national discrimination, you can put up signs around the office that reflect multiple languages. These signs remind employees that we’re a part of a larger culture and that we should celebrate our differences.
Putting up signs in multiple languages provides countless benefits. It signals that your workplace or business is welcoming and willing to help, regardless of language barriers. These signs also help connect businesses to their communities which can help foster brand loyalty and increased recognition.
Promote Workplace Diversity and Inclusion with Coach Diversity
A workplace with consistent inclusion efforts can improve metrics like retention, productivity, and even sales. Moreover, the employee experience dominates social media, with a new work culture horror story going viral weekly. Following these few strategies for creating an inclusive workplace can help prevent your own workplace horror story.
You can take action today by including pronouns in your email signatures, developing a DEI task force, and touching base with your team to build trust. Your team can’t do it without dedicated leadership, which is why Coach Diversity Institute’s inclusive leadership training is the perfect way to educate senior decision-making managers on the importance of DEI.