Start with diversity … the next step is Inclusion
Diversity is the mix, inclusivity is making the mix work - Andres Tapia
Step back, have a look around the office. Scan the Zoom call, listen to the various accents. Will you find diversity?
Workplace diversity is crucial for a thriving business, but it doesn’t happen naturally. To be a diverse and inclusive workplace requires those in the positions of power to implore their employees to be aware of their unconscious biases and think strategically to consider
And the list goes on.
Once a company begins to employ people with diversity in mind, it could be easy to become complacent, feel fulfilled that you’ve ticked all the boxes, when in fact this is where the work begins. Now this diverse group needs to become inclusive.
Here are 3 concepts to get you started on your inclusivity journey:
Invest in diversity training - Whilst this can be a significant financial investment, the return on that investment once an inclusive workplace culture has been developed is infinite. Providing the opportunity for all employees to receive training, ensures that prejudices and negative ways of thinking can be challenged and educated in a conducive environment, resulting in employees changing their mindset, which in turn produces changed actions.
Build a culture of safety - This will take time, and patience, but without it there can be no progress. Encourage employees to share their world view, be curious about where they’re from, how they spend their day and why they spend it the way they do. Promote having different opinions and healthy discussions, and saturate the day with opportunities for employees to share new ideas or insightful feedback.
Ask the right questions - Questionnaires, team bonding and 1-1 discussions are all useful ways in discovering how different employees experience their work, and what ‘makes them tick’. For example - How would a dyslexic employee experience morning meetings with long wordy briefs? It’s best to ask questions and find an alternative together. This provides an opportunity for connection and respect for one another's differences.
Inclusion won’t happen naturally. We are designed to pursue comfort. We like being around those who look like ourselves, sound like ourselves, and agree with the same statements we do. But if a company pushes towards diversity and inclusion it will be all the better for it. There will be new ideas and perspectives circulating that weren’t there before. Enhanced perspectives and knowledge shared that would have previously been dismissed. All these things make for a more effective team, and more effective teams have a higher success rate. These are great equations for a business to thrive.
Grab this opportunity, it’s worth it!