Every single business must address diversity. It isn’t an issue that is best left to others to sort out. And it’s not enough to hire people from diverse backgrounds — everyone must feel genuinely welcomed, comfortable, and free to be themselves in the workplace. Achieving an inclusive and diverse workforce is still a work in progress for many firms.
Here are some easy steps you can take to build an inclusive workplace.
Start at the Top
Creating and supporting a sense of belonging in the workplace begins with leadership. To develop a diverse culture, the company’s founders and management team must be open to working with people of varied nations, skin colors, genders, and sexual orientations. Diversity needs to be a company-wide goal and something everyone is committed to, or else it won’t be as inclusive as you need it to be for everyone.
Create Safe Spaces Within the Company
Inclusive workplaces prioritize employee safety and comfort, especially for underrepresented populations. For example, gendered restrooms may cause discomfort for transgender and non-binary employees, especially in light of recent state legislation affecting transgender rights. To demonstrate a progressive, inclusive workplace, it might be an idea to use unisex restrooms. Spending time together can create inclusive spaces. Consider organizing team lunches and other casual activities for employees to meet. Creating an office support group or network for employees might help them connect with others who understand.
You need to make sure you are allowing employees to connect and share tales. Give your staff several avenues to offer their opinions, viewpoints, and stories that foster an open dialogue that leads to more favorable outcomes. Learn from their experiences, be it individually or collectively. Look at deeper issues such as racism and the economy and learn how you as a company can do better to avoid discrimination.
Use Inclusive Language
You can be a great force for change as an HR professional by doing more than just talking. Include inclusive language in all professional communications. Use “spouse” or “partner” instead of the gendered “husband” or “wife” to refer to someone’s spouse (especially if you don’t know their gender). Non-married couples can also use partners. Always avoid using abusive language. If you do, apologize correctly and attempt to avoid making the same mistake.
Acknowledge Different Celebrations
Small things matter — and for minority groups, even minor adjustments to accommodate them can make a big difference.
Examine your company’s holiday schedule. Along with Christian and secular holidays like Christmas and New Year’s, incorporate holidays representing your company’s religious values. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are critical high holy days for Jewish employees. For Muslim employees, include Eid-al-Fitr, Eid-al-Adha, Ramadan, and Muharram. For Hindus, add Diwali and Navratri. Block in local Pride events for employees to be able to celebrate these as they wish to.
Reward Employees Fairly Based on Performance
Be fair in who gets signed out for outstanding work and effort. Make it a mission to include different standout actions or ingenuity based on each individual’s approach. Not only does it increase staff engagement and morale, but it also communicates your company’s values. Pay attention to previous recognition and its reason and look at all employees equally to ensure everyone is recognized when they deserve to be.