An inclusive organizational culture is one that embraces different people, ideas, and perspectives. While it includes workplace diversity, it is more than that. An inclusive culture is an environment that encompasses respect, equity, and empathy. At its very essence, an inclusive culture makes employees feel valued by the organization and creates a sense of belonging.
How to Build an Inclusive Workplace Culture
If you’re trying to build an inclusive culture within your organization, there are many things that you can do. However, creating a company culture that is encouraging, and provides a sense of belonging, starts at the highest leadership level. This is truly an initiative that starts at the top. There must be a true desire to build a diverse culture. This can be evidenced in seeking diversity in hiring, training and development, promotion, and board seats. While there is no one way to build an inclusive work culture, there are simple actions such as interviewing diverse people, encouraging all employees to take part in an organization’s idea generation, and creating career paths for all employees that can have tremendously positive results.
Tips for building a more diverse and welcoming environment at work:
1. Identify Your Beliefs About Diversity and Inclusiveness
It’s important to be aware of any biases or assumptions you may have that could be a barrier to building an inclusive culture. One of the best ways of doing this is by talking to other people whose perspectives might differ from yours. People at work who are different than you might also be good sources for helpful information because they’ll provide some insight into how it feels to experience discrimination or exclusion. There are also professionals available who can help you work through any concerns.
2. Start Small
Start small with easy changes for you, like introducing yourself to new people or opening up conversations on topics that may not normally come up in your office. This will give you a chance to practice and get more comfortable with these interactions, particularly if you’re someone who would usually avoid them.
3. Be Aware of the Message
Be aware of the message that actions are sending. Are actions being taken that offend a specific group? For example, it’s important to be aware of how often people make certain types of jokes or use specific words at work because they might reflect the culture in the office. When offensive actions occur, you may want to intervene and point out why these actions might be offensive to others.
4. Create a More Diverse Workplace
If diverse groups of employees are currently not represented in your company, think about ways to encourage and support other people to apply for positions. You should also make sure that your company offers equal opportunities and benefits to all employees, particularly those who belong to different groups.
5. Speak Up If Someone Makes a Discriminatory Comment
If someone says something offensive or exclusionary at work, you can try informing them why it might be hurtful to people who hear it. It’s also a good idea to speak with someone in HR if you’re having problems with discriminatory behavior because they may be able to intervene and promote company policy to treat all employees fairly.
Why should you care about inclusion in the workplace?
Workplaces that offer inclusion and diversity are more likely to produce better ideas and foster a culture of innovation for their organization. Inclusive organizations have higher employee retention, and those employees are more likely to be happy and dedicated. As a result, these are often the organizations identified as the best places to work.