Over the last year, there has been a wealth of discussions on diversifying your workforce. However, employers must recognise that you need to have an inclusive atmosphere for people to join before you begin to welcome different types of people to your company.
Much of the discrimination that happens in the workplace is a result of unconscious biases. This means that you may not even realise that some of your staff members are vulnerable to discrimination.
At the heart of an inclusive workplace is the belief that everybody’s experience, ideas and voices matter equally; the easiest way to encourage this by showing your staff how much you value them and their work. We have put together this guide for employers to learn some ways to create an inclusive atmosphere in the office.
Our top 5 tips
Check your policies
While the way you treat your staff daily is extremely important, it’s only as important as the company’s policies that dictate your staff’s employment rights. If you want to be more inclusive, start by removing any policies you think could discourage a particular person from working in your business. Most commonly, these include policies around dress code, maternity leave and parental rights, and working hours.
Encourage people to bring their whole selves to work.
One of the most important parts of being an inclusive employer is showing your staff that you value and celebrate their differences. You can do this by ensuring that nobody has to hide part of themselves while at work; this might be their sexuality, religion or even family life.
Make discussions about identity and life outside of work a part of your office environment so that staff know it is something they can talk about. You could also bring in exercises such as stating your gender pronouns in meetings to include all gender identities.
Listen to your employees.
Even when you are trying hard to get it right, it’s normal to make mistakes. Try to create a culture where your staff feel able to share with you, and comment on the successes and shortcomings of the company. The more your staff feel listened to and appreciated, the more likely they are to raise something concerning them. Listening to different people’s experiences and opinions is a great way to learn and develop at work.
Offer extra support where you can
Part of having an inclusive workplace is having a supportive workplace. This includes providing extra non-work-related support where necessary. For example, many employers have successfully introduced mental health support for their staff through optional counselling or wellbeing sessions. Another support avenue could be providing mentors for staff who want to grow and develop throughout the business.
Encourage collaboration and sharing.
One of the most important things you can do as an employer is to encourage collaboration and sharing between colleagues. It has been widely proven that teams that work together and share ideas are more productive and much more satisfied and happy in their jobs. Recent statistics show that roughly 75% of employees see teamwork as essential and that teams that are exceptionally well connected see up to a 21% increase in profitability.