Six Ways To Create An Inclusive Organizational Culture

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Create An Inclusive

Social justice movements worldwide have now pushed employers to incorporate diversity and inclusivity (D&I) in their work culture. Diversity and inclusivity are interconnected but altogether different concepts.

Diversity is the representation of people from all kinds of walks of life. Inclusivity ensures that people from varying demographics feel like a part of the workplace. Diversity alone can look like an act of tokenism if employees do not feel included. Hiring employees from diverse backgrounds will only be beneficial if they receive the respect they deserve and are allowed a chance to contribute. This can also serve as an opportunity to broaden the exposure of other company employees and bring in new ideas. An inclusive organization will accept people irrespective of their race, gender, ethnicity, nationality, disability, age, and religion.

However, the culture and practices at some companies can create an environment of unhealthy competition, gossiping, lack of recognition, and favoritism. This leads to burnout and even a high turnover. The D&I practice, however, can be one of the fixes to curing a toxic work environment. This is beneficial to both the employer and the employee. It creates an atmosphere of productivity and reaps more profits for the company.

Exclusion at the workplace can cost the company its talented and hardworking employees. So, employers and managers must take concrete steps to prevent dysfunction in the workplace. Some ideas include:

Upskill the management

If the management reeks of traits that hinder D&I, consider replacing it with fresh talent. You can hire professionals familiar with modern management. Or even better, encourage existing employees to upgrade their skills to become familiar with diversity and inclusivity at the workplace.

Flexible online programs such as an MSOM degree are suitable options for working people. A Masters in Science of Organizational Management provides an in-depth understanding of the issues associated with organizational management in a company. These courses aim to teach professionals the best business practices to ensure the steady success of the companies by designing a healthy work environment.

Take the lead

Leaders and managers are responsible for promoting an environment of inclusion and equity at all levels. An effective way to modify the behavior is to model respectful behavior and extend respect to everyone from clerk positions to manager positions.

However, this begins by educating the leaders, which is usually the job role of an HR practitioner. The bosses at every level need to be trained on unconscious bias, which is the judgment that one does without even realizing it. Further training points must include listening actively or better managing a diverse workforce. The training must also guide how to deal with real-life scenarios that the managers might face, such as supervising an employee with a disability.  

Engage in a dialogue

A lack of communication usually leads to a dysfunctional environment. Therefore, ensure a continuous flow of communication between the managers and the rest of the workforce. This creates a relationship based on trust in the company. The communication needs to be two-way, where the managers will share their vision and expectations of an inclusive environment.

Employees must also be allowed to pitch in their ideas on how to build an inclusive culture. Anonymous surveys and informal discussions can help employees feel comfortable while communicating their concerns and sharing solutions. Just being able to voice opinions and being heard will also enhance the relationship between the employers and employees.

Track progress

It is essential to measure progress by auditing all processes from recruiting to hiring to retaining employees. At this stage, managers need to identify shortcomings in their inclusion policies. The policies need to be data-driven for accuracy. The company should also be transparent about what it aims to achieve by having a more inclusive culture. Each business will quantify inclusion differently. Is it a higher profit they are aiming towards, higher employee retention, or just a healthier environment for its valuable employees?

Create an inclusion council 

A council comprising employees from diverse backgrounds selected for their commitment to teaching inclusion in the company can be another step in the right direction. The council members will be aware of the deep-rooted issues in the company. They will be able to better advocate for a change. Ideally, they should also be included in decisions such as hiring, making inclusion policies, and goal setting.

The council will be more effective if the members not only belong to different gender or religion, but also come from different departments, locations, or family setups. For example, it may include a single or a new parent, a member of a religious or ethnic minority group, a disabled person, an employee at the manager level, and an employee at a trainee level. The council should also be given the power to influence the company’s policies. 

Hold effective gatherings

When it comes to inclusive policies, the daily exchanges make the most impact. An employee is most affected by the behavior of the few employees around them. This includes team meetings or company events.

There are several ways to make team meetings effective for all those involved. It can be as simple as changing the meeting time to accommodate an employee working from another time zone or providing opportunities to work from home. If the meeting materials are shared with the participants beforehand, introverted employees can prepare in advance.

Another way is to acknowledge everyone’s efforts and give credit where it is due. Or not letting people talk over each other. Communication styles and tones can also have an impact on inclusion. For example, discourage mansplaining during meetings. Similarly, providing vegetarian or vegan options at a company dinner is also a form of inclusive behavior. Or ensuring the event does not coincide with a religious group’s festival.

Conclusion

Changing a company’s work culture requires modifying the mindset and the behaviors of the people involved. Hence, it is never a simple or a linear process. A company looking to create an inclusive culture must continuously evolve its policies to keep up with the needs of its workforce. As long as organizations value growth, progress, and talent over demographic differences, they will be able to build a work environment that fosters productivity and engagement.

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