Tips on Creating a More Diverse & Inclusive Culture
If you’re a leader, manager, or simply a well-meaning employee who wants to help champion diversity and inclusion in your organsation, here are a few tips that should help you get things moving forward:
1. Educate leaders (and staff)
When a leader takes on the task of guiding their teams to success, part of that is creating an inclusive work experience that makes employees feel safe and secure enough to speak up when it matters and comfortable enough to build strong relationships with their co-workers.
However, HR practitioners often don’t realise that leaders don’t necessarily know what it means when they’re told to create an inclusive culture within their teams.
To this end, it’s important for HR to put plans in place to routinely educate leaders and staff on diversity and inclusion (i.e. via training seminars or workshops) so that people not only understand its importance but support it through their daily actions. The knowledge and skills on how to remain inclusive at work should be core competencies for business leaders and employees alike, and this means being educated, trained, and held accountable on how to manage real-world scenarios that deal with diversity and inclusion, such as:
- Learning how to recognise and mitigate unconscious bias among co-workers and employees.
- Supervising an employee with a physical disability and being able to accommodate them accordingly.
- Working with an employee or co-worker who is neurodiverse and coming to understand their strengths.
- Learning how to best manage an employee who is a single parent and deals with challenging child care issues.
The list goes on.
2. Celebrate diversity
Creating an inclusive workplace means taking the time to celebrate the people who make up your diverse workforce. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this that makes everyone feel included while keeping things both fun and educational, including:
- Acknowledging and celebrating each employee’s religion and culture (i.e. preparing and following a cultural celebration calendar).
- Encouraging participation among team members whether you’re a leader or an employee (perhaps even making time for an after-work happy hour at a fun new international spot?!).
- Creating your own workplace traditions so that every employee has something in common and something else to bond over.
3. Hold more effective meetings
Workplace meetings are a prime example of an environment where employees are encouraged to speak up and bounce off one another’s thoughts and ideas, however, meetings can often veer off track and even become ineffective (especially when employees are ill-prepared).
That’s why it’s a great idea to reconsider the ways in which you can help with making meetings more inclusive and effective. These include:
- Distributing meeting materials in advance, along with an agenda to ensure things run the appropriate course (this is also helpful for workers for whom English is a second language or for introverted employees who may need more time to process information).
- Ensuring you have the right technology for remote workers so they can have a meaningful experience from wherever they are.
- Mixing up or rotating meeting times if you have remote workers in varying time zones.
- Giving credit where it’s due among employees and co-workers, including pointing out who came up with a new idea or who’s in line to manage the next big project.
- Being aware of your communication style (i.e. being courteous and not interrupting others ae well as pausing for those who may be tuning in virtually)
4. Review company guidelines
Organisations should aim to establish diversity and inclusion at the core of their business practices. In doing so, they not only show their commitment to creating diverse workplaces, but they ultimately create work environments where inclusivity becomes an action rather than just an ideal.
To do this effectively, companies should take care to review their guidelines, goals, and progress by taking the following actions:
- Establishing diversity and inclusion goals, including the reasons for these goals (i.e. diversity equity)
- Determining how these goals will impact your mission, brand, and bottom line.
- Auditing your HR and L&D processes, including recruitment, hiring, training, develop, and retaining employees.
- Identifying where you can improve and effectively measure inclusivity.
- Developing and executing inclusion strategies with data-driven plans and measurable results.
- Holding leaders and staff accountable for making diversity and inclusion a priority and implementing it efficiently.