How to Build an Inclusive Culture at Work
Businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Companies that work to put the policies and processes in place to recruit, hire, and support a diverse workforce don’t just enjoy an improved reputation. They also see tangible benefits in increased revenue and productivity, innovation, employee satisfaction, and retention. [i]
But how do you build a workplace culture that truly feels inclusive? When the day-to-day reality of how personnel interacts doesn’t reflect lofty DEI statements, employees can be left feeling disillusioned. You need action that backs up ideas to demonstrate that efforts towards inclusivity aren’t merely window dressing with no substance behind them. Here are some suggestions for creating a culture that helps people feel included and valued, no matter their gender, age, ethnicity, disability status, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic background.
Diversify recruitment efforts: Do your traditional ways of finding new employees tend to turn up candidates who all share a similar background? Consider building relationships with universities, colleges, or nonprofit organizations serving underrepresented populations to widen your horizons. Diverse talent isn’t necessarily going to find its way to your door without encouragement. Not finding the people you need outside of the usual channels? Create opportunities for new types of candidates to join your field through training programs that give them the foundational skills to be successful in your company’s industry.
Listen to your employees: Employees with diverse backgrounds can have valuable insights to share on their experience in the workplace. However, your company won’t benefit from their knowledge without a means for them to communicate it in a way that produces meaningful change. One method is to create a reverse mentorship program that pairs diverse employees with upper-level executives to improve leadership’s understanding and guide decision-making.
Provide clear guidance: Especially when DEI initiatives are new, employees may be paralyzed by the fear of making a mistake and offending someone. Defuse this anxiety by being clear about your expectations and giving your staff the guidance and tools they need to inform their actions. For example, if you want all new job listings to use neutral language to attract the widest possible applicant pool, make sure your team has an inclusive language reference guide to work from when drafting them. Leading by example is also an effective means of introducing and reinforcing new best practices, like incorporating pronouns into regular introductions. Choose trusted employees who can model preferred behavior to show others how easy it is to change old habits to create a more welcoming environment.
Enlisting your workforce in your inclusion efforts is the best way to ensure their success. Bridge Training Consultants has relevant, realistic training on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion that help your employees understand the advantages to your organization. We don’t just talk about why inclusion is desirable. We talk about how you achieve the goal of a more harmonious workplace, with exercises that engage our attendees and recommendations that work to heighten awareness and change your workplace culture for the better. Most important is what we don’t do—we don’t lecture, nag, or guilt-trip. We guide self-discovery in a nonjudgmental atmosphere, using humor to encourage genuine participation and interest.
To find out how we can support your business’s inclusion efforts with effective DEI training, contact Bridge Training Consultants today.