Inclusion has become something of a buzzword. Organisations across the world are announcing their efforts to become more inclusive and employ more diverse people. Creating an effective inclusive environment is not always as easy as that, though. Diverse teams don’t always equal inclusion. It often requires a culture shift and the development of practices to actively continue to include employees.
Inclusion, as defined by McKinsey, means that there is a sense of equality, openness and belonging in a workplace. And creating this kind of culture can have amazing benefits for an organisation. Companies that prioritise a diverse and inclusive culture have frequently been shown to be more profitable, more productive and more innovative as employees feel more engaged with their work and feel able to share and take ownership of new and innovative ideas. Here are some tips for creating that inclusive culture:
Leadership: Leadership plays a pivotal role in setting the tone for an inclusive culture. Leaders set the tone for the team and have a significant role in making sure that everyone feels that they are making valuable contributions to the team and can share freely. An inclusive leader will also ensure that equitable policies are maintained and followed across the whole team, creating a sense a security.
Communication: Effective communication builds trust and understanding within a team and allows those with different perspectives to be able to share their thoughts. Being able to maintain good communication between team members and across to other teams also means that collaborative efforts are more likely to succeed, and succeed well.
Learning and Development: Offering learning and development opportunities to all employees is one key way that employers can make their organisation more inclusive. There are many training programmes on topics related to inclusion and diversity that can help explain diverse experiences. However, all learning and development opportunities help to provide a sense of purpose and ownership to employees and offer advancement opportunities that some employees may not have been able to access without them.
Flexible Accommodations: Not everyone’s life is the same and not everyone can work the same way. Offering flexible working options such as part-time work or flexi-hours can help create an inclusive environment. Other things that could be considered flexible accommodations include ensuring that there are employee celebrations that do not involve alcohol, or making sure that an employee with a disability has the necessary equipment to help them do their job well.
Celebrating Progress: Celebrating the progress made is a great way to build an inclusive culture. It shows employees that their work is being noticed and builds a positive culture of affirmation, motivating continued efforts. It can also be a way of recognising a diversity of contributions in a way that is natural and effective.
Building an inclusive culture is not a destination but a continuous evolution. If you want to learn more about building an inclusive organisation, sign up to our Inclusion By Default conference and build your personalised roadmap to inclusion. You could also take our quiz below to find out how inclusive your organisation already is and how you could improve.
Or alternatively to discuss how we could help you, your business or to help others innovate - our innovation team would love to chat!