When talking about inclusion, many people automatically assume it’s about hiring and including people from different races, sexual orientations, cultures, and genders into their workforce. Some companies would even purposely put a picture of their diverse workforce in their company brochure so they’ll look like an inclusive organization. Truth is, this type of organization is more than just a picture.
An inclusive organization is about making each employee feel included, identified, and respected, regardless of what they are or where they come from. While it may be easier to ‘include and identify’ diverse people, many still struggle on the third part, ‘respect’. Even to this day, many people still claim that they sometimes feel unheard of or discriminated within their organization, prompting them to leave and search for a more authentic organization.
This article aims to help you understand the true meaning of inclusion and how you can practice it within your organization. To start, here are six practical ways you can cultivate inclusion within your organization.
1. Educate The Leaders About Organization Inclusion
It all begins with educating the leaders on the true meaning of inclusion. The leaders (e.g., managers, executives, supervisors) are the frontlines of the organization. They’re the ones who should promote, educate, and inspire inclusion to their subordinates and employees in the first place. One way to educate your leaders effectively is by letting them go through proper diversity training. This will help them understand the definition of an inclusive organization by using real-world scenarios and examples.
Once they understand how to practice and cultivate inclusion by heart, you may start scheduling diversity training and workshops for your employees within the organization. It’s also a good idea to ask for their feedback and hear their concerns about subjects like the lack of non-gendered washrooms or constant veil comments against races and sexual orientations. Their feedback will let you know what’s going on and eventually help you create an action plan to stop discrimination immediately.
2. Review Your Workforce Policies
Reviewing your current workforce policies will enable you to abolish existing policies that intentionally or unknowingly discriminate against others and create new ones that promote inclusivity. Your policies may run from the recruitment process to managing individual performances.
For example, when there are available positions in the company, the HR manager may conduct job fairs in various communities to reach out to diverse talents. Another is when you have employees belonging to different cultures, make sure to acknowledge and respect their holidays by allowing them to file leaves on their culture’s holidays. Most importantly, see that your employees are paid based on their job title and skills, not because of their gender, sexual orientation, or race.
3. Celebrate Differences
If your workforce consists of diverse cultures and traditions, promote inclusiveness by celebrating their differences. Here are some examples of how you can celebrate differences within your organization:
– During company parties or special events, encourage each one to bring food that reflects their culture. This will allow everyone to know and appreciate the delicacies from different cultures.
– Make sure you celebrate the days that hold high meaning for other communities, such as Pride Month, Black History Month, and more.
– Provide a multifaith prayer room so your employees with different religious beliefs may have a space to practice their traditional praying time.
To make it easier for the rest of your employees to follow, you can create a shared calendar filled with all the holidays and special festivities from different cultures. Better yet, you can even have a small celebration or commemoration at the office when time or budget allows.
4. Provide More Diverse Employee Engagement
When cultivating inclusivity and positive work culture, provide your employees with a chance to engage with more diverse cultures. For example, if your brand happens to have other branches located in various locations, give your people an opportunity to visit these places so they’ll have firsthand experience of the different work cultures around it.
Doing this will enable them to engage with diverse employees and be more aware of how other cultures do things differently and uniquely. This kind of exposure will also allow them to understand and appreciate the benefits of a diverse and inclusive work organization.
5. Introduce Inclusion As Early As Onboarding
Cultivating inclusiveness will be easier if practiced as early as onboarding. Thus, every time you hire new employees, make sure they’re properly oriented about your company’s inclusion goals and that your organization is a safe place for every culture, race, gender, and disability. They must also be aware that discrimination and disrespect will not be tolerated. Otherwise, strict sanctions shall be applied.
6. Respect And Acknowledge Pronouns Seriously
Part of promoting inclusiveness is acknowledging people’s personal choice of pronoun. As simple as this may seem, pronouns mean a lot for some people and they’re more than just words. These are words that describe and acknowledge who they are. So, start leading a pronoun-friendly organization by:
– allowing your employees to input their preferred pronouns on their IDs;
– creating job descriptions, emails, or newsletters with gender-neutral language; and
– encouraging employees to ask one another about their preferred pronouns during introductions and group meetings.
Promoting inclusiveness in an organization is not an option but a necessity. The more inclusive your environment is, the easier it will be for people to connect, interact, and, most importantly, feel contented and valued within your organization.