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How can employers create a more inclusive workplace?

| Jan 30, 2021 | Employment Law - Employers |

Employers have a lot of tasks and responsibilities in front of them. One major consider is the level of inclusivity of your workplace. This goes beyond just legal considerations regarding harassment and discrimination. While it is crucial you establish a workplace free of mistreatment of others, you must also strive to make every worker feel at home. 

This is the goal of an inclusive workplace: that all staff is equally respected and that their voices are equally heard. It is up to employers to create an inclusive culture, and ensure this culture is properly maintained. CIO offers some effective strategies to boost workplace inclusivity. 

Express empathy towards your team

Perhaps you do not know exactly what it is like to be left out because of your skin color, ethnicity, or gender. However, virtually all human beings have experienced feelings of rejection at some point. Tap into these feelings and consider the effect they had on you. Now put yourself in the place of your staff, who may feel unwelcome or unwanted at work. Empathy is a key component of successful leadership, and it also allows you to meet workers where they live when it comes to inclusivity. 

Do not rely solely on quotas

Quotas are good for expanding your pool of qualified candidates to include more ethnicities and races. However, they are not the end all, be all of an inclusive workplace. Consider the type of environment a new hire of color is coming into. Is company culture amenable to people from different backgrounds? Are all staff members encouraged to contribute during meetings, or is conversation typically relegated to the same faces? Hiring a diverse staff is only the beginning, so do not waste too much time patting yourself on the back. 

Emphasize the joys of inclusivity

If majority workers feel “attacked” by your inclusivity process, regardless if these feelings have merit, they are likely to push back against it. While you must implement the proper hiring practices and policies to ensure all workers feel at home, you should also allow your staff to get to know each other on a personal level. Schedule lunches and happy hours, so your team can banter and trade stories. Getting over one’s bias or prejudice is sometimes as simple as sitting down and sharing a meal with a person from a different background.