When people talk about inclusion, their thoughts tend to go towards metrics like reaching diversity hiring initiatives, but true inclusion is so much more than that. It means building a truly inclusive workplace culture that will allow the company and individuals who work there to thrive and feel that their contributions as individuals are welcomed.
Look for Buy-In – From the Top Down
Your managers and executives set the tone. If they don’t take the commitment to inclusion seriously, no one else in the company will either. SHRM emphasizes the importance that “company leaders understand that inclusion is about ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard, opinions are considered and value to the team is evident.” Consider forming an inclusion committee that includes decision makers with the power to make genuine change.
Create a safe means for all employees to express opinions or concerns. By the same token, employees are not responsible for creating an inclusive workplace. But, employees can best tell you whether your efforts are successful or not by discussing how they are treated and supported in their day-to-day interactions.
Support the Initiative
A commitment to inclusion takes more than a mission statement or press release. It’s important to create a workplace where people can feel that their uniqueness is valued and appreciated. Be sure that everyone is included. If you have remote workers, include them as well. Geographical diversity can further contribute to the organization’s success.
Develop Checks and Balances
Understand where you are now in terms of inclusion and where you need to go. Before determining the structure of your future inclusion efforts, consider what you have done in past years. What succeeded for you and what didn’t? Evaluate your recruiting, hiring and retention processes and policies. If you seem to attract a homogenous population, you may need to rethink your approach.
Create a Sense of Welcome
While leadership committees are important, so are employee resource groups (ERGs). These groups, made up of a diverse cross section of employees, can be instrumental in educating others within the organization and transitioning new employees into a comfortable environment. They make a great launchpad for new ideas and change in creating more inclusive policies and practices.
Encourage Diverse Leadership
Allow various individuals to lead teams, meetings and initiatives. If the same people are in the same room all the time, you will yield the same results. When different people are given a seat at the table, you’ll gain new perspectives and insights, giving you a competitive edge in an increasingly diverse marketplace.
An inclusive company culture can help your organization to hire and retain the best people. If you’d like help with fostering an inclusive workplace or other HR assistance in the Reno or northern Nevada area, The Applied Companies’ PEO team would be happy to help!