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What Every Business Needs to Start Doing for Embracing Inclusivity

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  • Digital Team 

One thing that businesses really need to keep in mind is the fact that creating an inclusive business environment isn’t just a moral imperative—it’s also a strategic advantage. A culture of inclusivity not only fosters innovation, creativity, and collaboration but also attracts top talent and enhances customer loyalty. It’s really sad to think, but a lot of businesses will preach and boast about inclusivity without actually being inclusive; it’s like greenwashing; maybe even “inclusivity washing” would be a good term for it. 

In general, no one likes disingenuous brands; no one likes brands that flaunt their talent only to turn around and lay them off. All of these look bad for a company, and it makes customers not want to support their business, and it definitely turns talent away from them. But with that said, you need to practice what you preach and let everyone know they’re welcome to embrace their true self. So, with that said, here are some ways to make your business feel more inclusive and welcoming to all.

You Need to Create a Culture of Respect and Empathy

At the heart of inclusivity lies a culture of respect, empathy, and understanding. So, in all honesty, it’s going to just simply start by fostering an environment where every individual feels valued, respected, and heard, regardless of their background, identity, or perspective. It’s really going to help just by encouraging open and honest communication, actively listening to diverse viewpoints, and addressing any instances of bias or discrimination promptly and decisively. You’re essentially creating a foundation of trust and belonging that empowers everyone to thrive.

You Need to Put Diversity First

So there’s the “We’re Committed to Diversity” meme, and it’s far more realistic than you might think; unfortunately, even in the 21st century, there’s still this issue with getting diverse leaders. You just really need to keep in mind that building a diverse team is essential for fostering inclusivity and driving innovation. 

Seriously, you have to prioritise diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices by actively seeking out candidates from underrepresented backgrounds and creating equitable opportunities for advancement. Again, you absolutely have to ensure that your leadership team reflects the diversity of your workforce, as diverse leadership brings a variety of perspectives and experiences to the table, enriching decision-making and driving organisational success.

Keep Providing Ongoing Inclusion Training

Do you want to know the secret of happy talent? While yes, it’s great pay and a solid work-life balance, it’s also safe. There’s the aspect of feeling safe knowing you can be who you are. There’s the feeling of safety knowing you don’t have to hide who you are. Honestly, this open feeling plays such a major role in positive psychology within the workplace, too. 

So, with that said, another good step in the right direction is through the power of education. In general, education is key to fostering a more inclusive workplace culture. It’s really going to help to just offer regular diversity and inclusion training sessions for employees at all levels of the organization, covering topics such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and inclusive leadership.

But why not go even further than this? Something else that you could do (and more companies are doing this) is simply provide resources and support for ongoing learning and development, including workshops, webinars, and educational materials. Generally speaking, just by equipping employees with the knowledge and skills to navigate diverse perspectives and experiences, you create a more inclusive and understanding workplace environment.

You Need to Create Inclusive Policies, Guidelines, and Practices

Ideally, this is something that’s immediately done first because there need to be actual policies that protect your diverse employees. If you’re recruiting talent, they will look into this. So go ahead and review and revise your company policies and practices to ensure they are inclusive and equitable for all employees.

You’ll need to consider factors such as flexible work arrangements, parental leave policies, and accommodations for individuals with disabilities. On top of that, you should implement inclusive language and imagery in all communications, including job postings, employee handbooks, and marketing materials. Just by demonstrating a commitment to diversity and inclusion through your policies and practices, you create a more welcoming and supportive environment for everyone.

Engage with Diversity Outside the Company

Why stay in this little bubble within the business? Instead, why not extend your commitment to diversity and inclusion beyond the workplace by actively seeking out diverse suppliers and partners? It’s truly another way of showing how big of a deal this is, your true commitment, and of course, it’ll show that you are genuine and it’s not some PR stunt. But in what ways can you go about it?

Well, you could partner with minority-owned businesses, women-owned enterprises, and LGBTQ+-owned companies to support economic inclusion and create opportunities for underrepresented communities. You could even take this a step further and prioritise diversity and inclusion in your supply chain and procurement processes and hold your suppliers and partners accountable for upholding the same values of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Implement Flexible Work Policies

Now, at first glance, you wouldn’t think this has anything to do with diversity and overall inclusion, but it really does. Diversity comes in so many different ranges, so it’s really going to help to just recognise that employees have diverse needs and responsibilities outside of work and implement flexible work policies that accommodate these differences. Offer options such as remote work, flexible hours, and compressed workweeks to help employees balance their professional and personal obligations. 

Take Action

Are customers giving you feedback? How about your employees? Talent perhaps? Some people might not even feel comfortable expressing themselves, so you might even need to create avenues for anonymous feedback, such as surveys or suggestion boxes, and listen attentively to concerns and suggestions. 

These are just things that can’t be traced because employees want to feel safe, not judged. On top of that, take concrete action to address any issues or areas for improvement identified through feedback, and regularly communicate progress and updates to demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity and continuous improvement. Basically do whatever you possibly can to truly make a difference.

Categories: BusinessNews