Inclusive workplaces: Everybody is welcome!
In the fight against discrimination, companies are increasingly taking measures to create accepting cultures and foster diversity. It turns out that what is good for the human soul is good for the business, too.
Money and location have traditionally been the top reasons for people to change jobs. However, company culture has recently emerged as an umbrella term for all the other factors they consider or realize they should have considered when signing a new work contract.
As a part of that company culture, recent years have seen a rise in the awareness of being inclusive. When the working community values individual and group diversity and acts accordingly, it fulfils the criteria of an inclusive workplace. Sharing information equally, presenting equal opportunities and assigning similar responsibilities to everyone, regardless of age, gender, race, or disability, are the most prominent examples.
But why is it important?
For an employee, the number one reason is human nature. They are predominantly hired for their professional capabilities, yet every employee has both the need to be accepted as a human being and to feel they belong in their (working) community. In practice, this includes being invited to lunch or birthday parties, having support during family emergencies, or merely experiencing no hidden rules of behaviour.
For a company, the inclusive nature of the workplace is a case for increased engagement and productivity. If workers feel accepted, they will be engaged in the company goals and want to give back. An engaged employee is also a productive employee: one survey finds businesses that care about engagement are 17% more productive than the others. Research from Deloitte states that inclusive workplaces are “twice as likely to meet or exceed financial targets. Not to mention employee turnover.”
What if job candidates could know about the level of inclusivity in a workplace before they walk in on their first day? Well, they actually can. Now, with the availability of employer-rating sites such as Glassdoor, they can check reviews by former or current employees. They can also find out whether a company has made any top lists for inclusivity. It is also increasingly common to ask related questions at an interview.
The 2019 Diversity and Inclusion study of Glassdoor, however, found that half of the employees in the US, UK, France, and Germany think there’s still not enough inclusion in their workplaces. So here is your to-do list as an employer:
- Train your leaders. Make them aware of everyday biases and give them the tools to overcome them.
- Give equal access to resources. Whether it is about preparing for a meeting or applying for training or advancement, make sure everybody has the same amount of information and equal chances to succeed.
- Promote diversity of thought. Create opportunities for everyone’s voice to be heard and value diverse opinions. Ensure that the workplace is a safe place to express concerns and set a good example.
- Celebrate the differences. Find out which unique qualities and personalities contribute to a healthy working environment and give them credit for it.
By consistently applying the above guidelines, you will find that your company is becoming a pleasant place to work for everyone. It will create a sense of belonging and a reason for workers to go the extra mile for your business.
Written by Anikó Jóri-Molnár