Workplace inclusion is a crucial aspect of fostering a thriving and successful organization. When you develop an inclusive workplace, embracing diversity and promoting equity, you foster a sense of belonging that allows everyone to add value.
Creating and nurturing an inclusive workplace culture involves initiatives such as diverse hiring practices, unconscious bias training, inclusive policies and the establishment of employee resources and resource groups.
Let’s explore five practical strategies for creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace.
1. Learn More About Workplace Inclusivity and Diversity
It is important that you gain insight into what workplace inclusivity means, since it goes beyond having a diverse workforce. An inclusive workforce is one that provides an environment where every individual feels welcome, accepted and empowered to fully contribute. Diversity and inclusion are different concepts, with diversity pertaining to the representation of different backgrounds that extends to the following:
- Background matters such as age, race, gender, ethnicity, ability, religious background, educational level, veteran status, sexual orientation and geographic location
- Occupational considerations such as a job role, performance expectations, skills, training and work experience
- Personal style components, such as communication, learning, personality, leadership and work habits
Inclusion has a broader scope than any of these individual components and focuses on welcoming them, along with diverse thought, perspectives and solutions.
2. Create a Foundation for Inclusivity
A great first step in creating a foundation for inclusivity is to determine your organization’s current level of inclusivity through an audit that identifies areas that need improvement and helps you find a starting point to implement change. When you understand the necessary changes, establish clear and inclusive company values and policies that support inclusivity. Finally, commit to ongoing training and education on diversity and inclusion for all employees at all levels.
3. Recruit for Diversity and Inclusion
Create a more inclusive workforce during the hiring process, reviewing and revising job descriptions to remove any biased language that might discourage diverse candidates from applying. Expand your recruitment process to include blind recruitment practices wherein identifying information is withheld during the initial stages of the hiring process. Focus on reaching diverse talent pools to attract candidates by collaborating with staffing agencies and other organizations that focus on diverse candidates.
4. Build Trust — Welcome Ideas and Candid Interactions
Establish and nurture an environment where everyone feels comfortable offering their ideas, opinions and solutions. Offer bonding exercises to help build authentic relationships and trust between coworkers. For instance, organize sessions where everyone is invited to share their passions, hobbies and backgrounds. Such activities can help to break down barriers while encouraging your team to build positive and trusting workplace relationships.
5. Provide Diversity and Inclusivity Training for Everyone
Not everyone is certain about working in a diverse and inclusive environment. Provide the training everyone needs to enjoy this environment and thrive together. These programs aim to address prejudices, stereotypes and conscious and unconscious biases within an organization.
Developing and fostering an inclusive workplace is an ongoing and ever-rewarding journey, bringing numerous benefits to employees and organizations. Try implementing these strategies to launch your inclusive workplace initiatives and experience all the benefits.
Sara Riggs is Senior Vice President and Head of Swoon Staffing, where she works to create even more collaboration between Swoon’s recruiting and sales teams to build a true synergy. She has 15 years of experience in the staffing industry, Riggs’ expertise has advanced through the recruitment ranks with her determination, passion, strategic vision and unwavering commitment to organizational growth, her team and Swoon’s customers.