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How to spread the inclusivity message in your organization

How to spread the inclusivity message in your organization

Diversity and inclusion may go hand-in-hand, but they have quite distinct meanings.

While diversity is the ‘what’, inclusion is the ‘how’.

A diverse workplace is one that has a collective mix of people with different values, beliefs, backgrounds, preferences, behaviours and abilities (as well as age and gender).

Why inclusivity is important and how to spread the word in your business

An inclusive workplace is one where everyone feels safe, respected, accepted and comfortable being themselves. Inclusion is how a diverse workforce is able to thrive.

There are many benefits of a diverse workforce, including higher levels of:

– Creativity and innovation
– Motivation
– Productivity
– Morale
– Team work
– Engagement and retention.

The importance of inclusion in the workplace cannot be underestimated.

While employers can create a diverse workplace through hiring decisions and practices, creating an inclusive workplace is an ongoing activity.

Here are some ideas on how to promote inclusivity in your workplace.

Leverage research

There is a lot of research demonstrating the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Reading and sharing this research with your leadership team is a great place to start on your journey of creating an inclusive workplace. It’s hard to argue with facts and figures.

Use powerful stories

We all respond to stories. Find and leverage stories about how people have experienced non-inclusive workplaces and created action and change. There is nothing more powerful than hearing other people’s stories of struggle and achievement.

Be aware of (and challenge) unconscious bias

An unconscious bias is a learned stereotype that is unintentional but automatic, deeply ingrained and able to influence behaviour. We all hold unconscious biases, the important thing is to become aware of them and challenge them. Internal bias training could be a way to inspire change and build better understanding between employees.

Be transparent about your intentions and accountable in your conduct

If you are committed to improving diversity and inclusion, talk about it – with employees, managers and clients/customers. Tell these key stakeholders what is happening – then demonstrate that you’re holding the business (or leadership team) accountable for those goals.

Use inclusive language

While this is a bit of a ‘no-brainer’, it’s also one of the easiest things to get wrong. Inclusive language ensures everyone feels accepted, respected and comfortable at work. Being very conscious about language choices is the best place to start i.e. not using the word ‘guys’ to describe a group or ‘girls’ to describe the females in the workplace.

Paint the bigger picture

When trying to create a more inclusive workplace, it’s important to keep coming back to the ‘why’ i.e. why inclusivity is important and beneficial for your employees, customers, business and your wider community.
A truly inclusive organization considers inclusion in every decision and action, every day i.e. language, attitude, values, approaches, events, employee benefits.

Amplify marginalized voices

Think about the people or groups who are best represented in your business – and the voices that are not often heard. Being mindful of the dominant personalities or groups in the workplace and those who might take a backseat in conversations is a great way to begin to promote inclusivity.

Although not everyone wants to speak up in meetings, there are plenty of ways for thoughts and ideas to be heard. An inclusive workplace gives a voice to the people who aren’t often heard, allowing for diversity of thought and opinion.

Accept critical feedback

We all make mistakes. Creating an inclusive workplace includes being able to admit our mistakes, talk about them and take on board feedback from other employees (regardless of level or role). Feedback is part of open, transparent communication.

An inclusive workplace is one where everyone feels safe, respected, accepted and comfortable being themselves. Inclusion is how a diverse workforce is able to thrive.

Follow these tips to share the importance of inclusion in your business.