Welcome to the future of work – a dynamic landscape where the traditional notions of a workplace are evolving, and the call for inclusivity is louder than ever. In this era, companies strive not only for success but also for a culture that celebrates diversity, respects individuality, and thrives on collaboration.
Across traditional finance teams, some seasoned team members may cling to slightly “old-school” perspectives and use language that is now considered outdated. Despite their deep attachment to the workplace and pride in their well-established careers, these individuals are resistant to change when it comes to company culture. This reluctance can create a “perfect storm” hindering the company’s progress by failing to attract a diverse range of individuals and missing out on innovative initiatives.
An inclusive workplace is one where every team member feels valued, respected, and included, regardless of their background, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability or sexual orientation.
Fostering an inclusive workplace is essential for ensuring a positive working environment where employees can thrive, contribute meaningfully, and drive the success of the business.
What exactly is diversity and inclusion?
While the two terms are different, both aspects must be seamlessly woven into the fabric of a company’s culture to create a truly well-rounded and respectful workplace. Diversity involves building a team that is balanced and open to all. Inclusion serves as the vital thread that binds them together, building empowerment and providing a genuine opportunity for everyone to voice their thoughts and be heard.
Why does diversity and inclusion matter?
We posed this question to our clients and candidates, and here’s what they told us:
- An agile, innovative culture boosts morale and sparks creativity.
- Employees who can be their authentic selves tend to be the highest achievers.
- The authenticity of the company culture directly correlates with the company’s capacity to grow and increase revenue.
- An attractive workplace culture expands the talent pool for recruitment.
- Positive branding that showcases an ethical and responsible environment has a lasting impact.
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Let’s delve into some practical, strategic actions for building an inclusive workplace:
Establish a safe and welcoming environment
Building inclusivity starts with ensuring a workspace free from harassment, discrimination, and bias. This involves implementing policies and procedures that address these issues and consistently enforcing them.
To enhance your workplace, consider offering online or phone mental health support as a free benefit. Discover why employee wellbeing is important for the ongoing success of a company.
Promote diversity and inclusion
Champion diversity and inclusion across all levels of the company, including hiring practices, training programmes, and policies. This creates a more diverse workforce, bringing varied perspectives and experiences to the organisational table.
Offer training and development opportunities
Providing opportunities for training and development contributes to inclusivity. This includes education on diversity, bias, and inclusion, as well as avenues for skill development and career advancement.
Encourage open communication
Cultivating an inclusive workplace hinges on ensuring open communication. This means creating a culture where employees feel free to share thoughts, ideas, and concerns. Regular feedback, one-on-one meetings, and employee engagement surveys can encourage open dialogue.
Foster collaboration and teamwork
Inclusivity thrives when collaboration and teamwork are prioritised. Creating spaces for employees to collaborate and share ideas through team-building activities and cross-functional projects contributes to a more inclusive environment.
Lead by example
Leadership is pivotal in building inclusivity. Leaders must lead by example, promoting diversity and inclusion, exhibiting inclusive behaviours, and consistently enforcing policies. Authentic leadership builds trust, encouraging employees to be authentic and contribute to a positive workplace.
What does inclusive hiring mean?
Inclusive hiring involves recruiting from a broad and diverse set of backgrounds. Offering a positive hiring experience can encourage individuals to accept job offers and speak positively about your company. You can use anonymous recruitment methods, such as blinding CVs, to reduce bias and opportunities for discrimination.
How inclusive is your organisation?
This is not an easy concept to assess and address. Evaluating inclusivity requires direct engagement with staff. Consider the below approaches:
- Create surveys for all staff levels
- Review existing data like “Great Place to Work” or staff engagement surveys
- Conduct focus group meetings to explore team perspectives on actual and perceived inclusivity performance
Creating an inclusive workplace requires a collective effort from all members of the organisation. It involves establishing a safe and welcoming environment for all, promoting diversity, providing training, encouraging open communication, fostering collaboration, and exemplifying inclusive leadership. By embracing these strategies, organisations can build an inclusive workplace where every employee feels valued, respected, and included.