Has your company made an effort to recruit a diverse workforce? Well done – but it doesn’t mean your workplace is perfect just yet. As important as diversity is, it’s only one-half of the diversity & inclusion (D&I) picture.
One way to think about D&I is to compare it to a choir. In this analogy, diversity is a lot like selecting people with different abilities, vocal ranges, and musical backgrounds. The inclusion part means making sure that all those different voices can be heard and valued.
Not sure where to start? Here are four simple ways you can build an inclusive workplace.
1. Promote the D&I Lexicon
Raising awareness of D&I concepts and behaviors is key in creating an inclusive culture. Here are some behaviors that your employees should be aware of:
• Implicit bias: Everyone has implicit biases. Our brains are wired to group things together to make sense of the world. Biases about age, race, or ethnicity shouldn’t be a barrier in your workplace culture.
• Allyship: A good workplace ally will always be willing to stand up and take meaningful action to support a member of a marginalized group.
• Microaggressions: A microaggression contains a demeaning hidden message that reaffirms a stereotype. Intentional or not, microaggressions make people feel judged and excluded.
2. Be an Inclusive Leader
Inclusion shouldn’t only be an HR mandate, but a leadership imperative as well. As a leader, you need to model inclusive behavior by striving for authenticity.
For starters, you should be actively open to engaging with your staff while deliberately including voices from different perspectives and backgrounds. Create and honor a no-tolerance policy for un-inclusive and disrespectful behavior. Make sure that your leadership team represents different backgrounds and, by extension, the voices of your employees.
3. Ensure Psychological Safety
In a post-pandemic workplace, leaders must be aware of the concept of psychological safety. This will make it easier to address stresses, uncertainties, and employee burnout.
A psychologically safe workplace is one where employees feel comfortable expressing an opinion without fear of getting criticized. This is true whether they’re working in a live, virtual, or hybrid environment. Fostering psychological safety allows your company to benefit from better team performance, improved mental health, and reduced turnover.
4. Switch Up Your Meetings
If you have the same people in the same room all the time, they’ll keep producing the same results. Try rotating who runs meetings to get different people in the room.
For best results, schedule a monthly brainstorm session each month. Make sure to include a diverse group and give everyone a chance to facilitate the brainstorming. This approach will encourage a healthy debate and may inspire new ideas. The more different voices you have at the table, the easier it is to come up with solutions to complex issues.