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6 tips to foster a company culture of inclusivity

Think about it, if we all had the same experiences, opinions and skillsets, the world would be a boring place and we’d achieve very little. It’s individuality that makes up an eclectic team of people in any innovative team, group or organisation.

When different minds come together to achieve a mutual goal, the results can be overwhelming. In fact, Forbes reported in 2018 that companies that practice diversity and inclusion in the workplace outperform other non-diverse companies by 15%.[1]

max-van-den-oetelaar-buymYm3RQ3U-unsplash (2)Inclusivity

True diversity in the workplace means acceptance, respect and teamwork, despite differences in gender, race, age, sexuality, political beliefs, religion, language, abilities or appearance. It’s the responsibility of businesses to not only welcome, but celebrate diversity. Although it’s positive that workplaces are becoming more inclusive than ever, they still have some way to go to really embed the values of a diversified workplace. Here are 6 tips for organisations on this journey:

 

  1. Establish a culture of belonging for everyone

For every employee to thrive at work and reach their full potential, it’s important that they not only feel comfortable, but that they belong. Just as the individual has to be right for the role, the company has to be right for the individual. Remember, any organisational shift can take time and becoming a more inclusive company is a journey, but employers should start by prioritising diversity and addressing any challenges head on.

 

  1. Review your recruitment process

Employing or working with a recruitment specialist is a good idea to ensure that your business is providing equal opportunities to all. Working with a mix of people can be one of the most beneficial ways to learn about other people’s experiences and can help employees break any implicit biases they might have previously held. When employees can accept their differences (including differences to the way they work), effective collaboration occurs.

 

  1. Diversity training and education

Diversity training in the form of online learning modules, paper bag sessions or even change groups, can be effective in driving change. All employees should be aware of the disciplinary procedure for discrimination and this should be taken very seriously. But remember, embedding inclusion is an ongoing initiative, not just one-off training. Recruiting departmental champions and equipping them with the information and skills to drive change within their teams is a good idea. The goal is to get people to incorporate these values into their everyday lives.

 

  1. Lead by example

Organisations often make the mistake of assuming diversity is an initiative owned exclusively by HR. Education must go beyond online HR modules or communications. Your company values should promote diversity and be at the core of your company culture. Every company communication (both internally and externally) should align with inclusivity. Although it is up to Directors, Managers and Team Leaders to set an example and escalate any reported issues of discrimination or prejudice, every employee should understand their role in company culture.

 

  1. Consider an anonymous employee survey

To achieve true diversity, every employee’s voice needs to be heard. Individuals should be able to voice opinions or experiences without fear, judgement or concerns about the security of their job. A regular anonymous survey will allow you to see if there are any problems within your organisation and notice if your initiatives are effective over time.

 

  1. When it comes to wellbeing strategy, remember one size doesn’t fit all

As we’re all different, it’s no surprise that one size doesn’t fit all when it comes to wellbeing. We all have different needs and what works for one person, won’t necessarily work for another. Scalable, user-led solutions with integrated care pathways are the way to go. That way, employees can choose their own path. For example, if one employee was suffering with stress or a mental health condition, they could call the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to access counselling, whilst someone more private might prefer to use a personalised app with tools and techniques to self-manage. If symptoms persisted or worsened, they could then access a virtual GP service. To find out about Health Shield’s employee wellbeing solutions, head over to our website.

 

[1] Embracing Diversity and Fostering Inclusion Is Good for Your Business, Forbes, 2018.

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