It’s 2022, and companies globally are progressing forward by increasing workplace diversity. Companies are now hiring, embracing and valuing employees of different backgrounds irrespective of ethnicity, gender, religion and worldview. Building a diverse workforce enables employees to flourish and strengthen your organisation with their ideas, skills, engagement and more.

Significant steps are being taken towards building a diverse workforce, but is the organisation nurturing inclusivity? Inclusivity is a step forward in the right direction towards supporting a diverse workforce. In plain words, it is creating an environment that includes every employee at the workplace.

For example, you’re hosting a party for your friends, diversity is having the same menu irrespective of their food choices, while inclusivity is when you serve them food of their choice. 

D&I in the workplace are not easy to achieve. It requires building a culture where people are respected and appreciated beyond each other’s differences, and it requires effort.  This article explores ways to nurture inclusion in your organisation.

Sensitise the team about Workplace Inclusivity

Managers work on the frontline, and management handles organisational decisions. Managers play an essential role in promoting workplace inclusivity

Over the last two years, many organisations had to pay particular attention as the workforce was dispersed; some worked remotely while others were working from the workplace. These hybrid working arrangements can distance teams from one another, undermining inclusivity efforts that worked in the traditional working environment.

Back in 2018, remember how Starbucks responded amidst a Racial Sensitivity Crisis. It held an unconscious bias training attended by over 1,75,000 Starbucks employees, and over 8000 stores were closed until the diversity training was completed. 

This incident was an eye-opener for many organisations worldwide. Your organisation can take up initiatives that will address the importance of Diversity & Inclusivity:

  1. Conduct Cultural Training & Diversity Workshops at all management levels.  
  2. Conduct a thorough evaluation of your workplace and check how inclusive the work environment is with the help of an employee feedback system providing your employees an opportunity to voice their opinions. 

Rethink Workforce Policies

Building an inclusive workforce means you have to reconsider your existing policies.

  1. Enhance your recruitment process to attract diverse talent by creating special outreach programs and job fairs or hiring staffing agencies.
  2. Ensure that all employees have equal pay based on their roles irrespective of their age, race, gender and sexual orientation.
  3. It may mean that your employees can avail leave for holidays that may not be covered in the yearly holiday calendar.

Effective Communication & Inclusivity Goals

When building a diverse and inclusive workforce, you must effectively communicate your inclusivity goals and expectations with them. Provide comfort to the team members to have open communication with their managers.

Here are some ways your organisation can incorporate open communication channels for raising inclusion concerns:

  1. Ask your employees for feedback on their experience with the organisation.
  2. Dedicated diversity panels consisting of diverse panel members from multiple departments
  3. Making the workplace free from any unconscious bias.

Here are some ways your organisation can promote diversity and inclusivity:

  1. Recognise and celebrate days that are important to other communities at the workplace. Encourage employees to practice their traditions and culture at the workplace while being considerate to the rest of the team.
  2. Potluck lunches will enable employees to bring food from their culture.
  3. Ensuring that employees, irrespective of their race, gender, ethnicity, and more, can have a say in the organisation’s decision-making process.

Inclusivity Training During Onboarding

Inclusivity needs to be embedded into the new onboards from day one of them joining the organisation. You must ensure that you advocate and promote the importance of inclusivity at the workplace as an integral part of organisational values.

Promoting these values on the organisation’s social channels, website, job descriptions, and interviews with potential employees. It helps make people aware of inclusion and commitment to building a diverse workforce.

It also helps the new team member know that their workspace is safe, irrespective of everybody’s differences. Make sure they know about the D&I policies and measures of your organisation.

 Let them know that discrimination will not be tolerated, and strict actions will be taken against them.

Pronouns Matter

Make sure your employees can choose the pronouns they prefer for themselves. Mistaking an employee’s pronoun can be stressful for an individual leading to an identity crisis. You can build a pronoun friendly workplace by undertaking the following initiative:

  1. Add a section on the identity card to add pronouns.
  2. Advocate asking employees’ pronouns during initial interactions.

Pronouns matter, and it is a significant step towards building a diverse and inclusive workforce. Post and publish gender-neutral job descriptions on ads and job boards. 

We hope this article helps you understand how to nurture an inclusive workspace.