We can define the word inclusivity as the practice of providing marginalized groups with equal opportunities and resources. An inclusive workplace culture is one that values and prioritizes diversity—one that respects and values its employees. Establishing an inclusive workplace culture improves employee retention, increases workplace productivity, and skyrockets employee satisfaction. To reap all these incredibly valuable benefits, read on to learn how to create a more inclusive work environment.
Prioritize Inclusive Language
When it comes to inclusivity, words are everything. How we speak and the words we use can hold unconscious bias. Simply changing how we automatically refer to people can make a world of difference. For example, deferring to gender-neutral pronouns such as they/them when you don’t know a person’s gender or referring to someone’s spouse as a “partner” are examples of inclusive language.
We can also change the way we write job descriptions to be more inclusive. Some job listing descriptions can come across as biased when we focus on personality traits rather than necessary skills. Examples of this can include gender-coded language in job descriptions that exclude female candidates. When we use male-centric, gender-coded words such as driven, confident, competitive, or aggressive, this indicates that the job ad is looking for male candidates. This dings your applicant pool as a result.
Educate Top Management Positions
Inclusive education must start at the top because upper management is who will conduct future inclusivity education activities and learning opportunities. By training upper management, you can create a foundation of inclusivity for the rest of the company to build upon. When your C-suit prioritizes inclusivity, the rest of the company will as well. Only providing diversity training for entry-level employees means you end up preaching to the choir, doing a disservice to the rest of the company.
Implement Inclusive Recruitment Tactics
Actively pursuing a diverse workforce should be your number one priority. You can start by advertising your openings in different ways, such as posting on social media, connecting with universities, and using a multitude of online job boards. Writing inclusive job descriptions will also help you widen your net so you don’t accidentally exclude certain groups of people. Once you build a diverse talent pool, you can start to rely more on referrals. In addition, your hiring team should also be diverse; this way, you get a multitude of backgrounds and perspectives behind who you’re hiring.
Create Opportunities for Dialogue
The easiest way to create a more inclusive work environment is to give your employees a safe space to speak their concerns and address issues. Discrimination can seriously impact the workplace, and if employees don’t feel like they can reach out to management when incidents occur, you’re bound to lose employees. This means employers must educate employees on what their rights are and how to reach out to HR. Employees should be able to anonymously report these incidents of discrimination or harassment if they so choose.
However, reaching out shouldn’t be a one-way street. HR should prioritize creating opportunities for dialogue, whether it be through group meetings, one-on-one meetings, or anonymous surveys. This helps employees feel heard and creates a culture in which everyone’s opinion is respected, valued, and equally important.