Building an Inclusive Work Cultureby Rie Parker
Everyone deserves to feel safe, respected, and encouraged in the workplace. When people do feel welcomed and supported, collaboration and creativity are amplified. To create such an environment, businesses need to prioritize having an inclusive work culture.
So, let’s breakdown exactly what it means to have an inclusive work culture and look at some tips to cultivate inclusion within your organization.
What is a Culture of Inclusion?
Inclusion is one of three DEI pillars (Diversity, Equity, Inclusion), and it’s a vital component in building a healthy and thriving work environment.
An inclusive work culture is defined by how valued, respected, and supported all employees feel regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, or other identifying characteristic. Essentially, a culture of inclusion fosters a strong sense of belonging for all. It encourages everyone to show up as their authentic selves and gives them a safe space to do so.
5 Tips to Build an Inclusive Workplace
Building an inclusive work culture shows your staff that you respect them and everything they bring to the table, regardless of their background. Plus, with higher revenue and lower turnover rates, it can also positively impact your bottom line.
So why wait? Follow these tips to get started:
Be Mindful of Language
It’s important to be mindful of what you say and how you say it. For a business or organization, that means consistently using inclusive language in internal and external communication.
Examples of communications to be especially mindful of can include:
- Holiday announcements and celebrations
- Company newsletters
- Job descriptions for open roles
- Content for social media or marketing campaigns
- Application announcements for ambassador programs and other internal groups
Inclusive language is a big step in building an inclusive workplace culture.
Ask for Feedback
The path to improvement always requires a starting point, and that applies to improving workplace culture.
To find your starting point or base level, assess where your company is succeeding and failing in terms of inclusion. You can achieve this through anonymous surveys, hosting forums, or any process that elicits feedback from your staff.
It’s important to understand what your teams are looking for in upcoming inclusion initiatives so that you can make improvements that are both meaningful and effective.
Inclusion in the workplace means everyone has the opportunity to be heard. To achieve this, try to boost representation within your leadership and organization.
This is important for a few reasons, but here are two key ones: First, boosting representation will help to create a space where everyone can be seen and heard.
Second, a leadership and organization that is representative of all groups within the workforce will offer valuable, first-hand insight on inclusion and other DEI problem areas for improvement. And whenever your organization begins planning inclusion initiatives or creating a DEI strategy, include employees of all backgrounds.
A top tip for implementing effective inclusive initiatives is to educate leaders and their teams on the value, strategy, and intended outcome.
When you express the purpose and importance of your inclusion initiatives, it’s far easier to motivate people and get them involved. And when everyone is on board with inclusion, your culture is sure to thrive.
Here are a few examples of how to spread the word and encourage your teams to foster an inclusive work environment:
- Training for leaders on how to foster inclusion within their teams
- Education on inclusive vs. exclusive language
- Tools and resources for protecting an inclusive work culture, and what to do if they see areas for improvement
Remember: it takes everyone!
Acknowledge Past Mistakes, and Move Forward
When working toward a more inclusive culture, there’s potential to uncover mistakes or problem areas. And that’s okay! What’s important is ensuring that your organization is using these past missteps, along with employee feedback, to learn and do better grow forward.
It may be uncomfortable, but don’t let previous failures keep you from achieving an inclusive work culture.
Inclusive Culture Matters
Having an inclusive work culture creates an environment of trust and respect. And when employees feel trusted and respected, collaboration, productivity, creativity, and mental well-being all flourish.