Creating an Inclusive Culture at Work

Creating an inclusive culture at work might seem challenging at times, especially if you have recently gone through a restructure, merger or another period of transition. Workplace inclusivity has many benefits, not just for employees’ wellbeing, but for your business too.

An inclusive organisational culture tends to have an engaged workforce, leading to greater productivity and performance levels. So how can you build inclusivity into your workplace?

Listen to employees

Are you listening closely to your employees? You can sometimes learn more from small conversational exchanges, than more formal feedback. Whether it’s through one-to-ones or team meetings, carefully consider employee comments. Listening is an underrated skill, which is why active listening courses are gaining popularity.

Active listening is when you listen attentively to someone speaking. Not only do you need to understand what they are saying, but you also need to be able to respond, reflect and retain what’s being said. When done correctly, active listening keeps both the speaker and the listener engaged in the conversation.

Hold effective meetings when creating an inclusive culture at work

We’ve all been in meetings which are ineffective. An ‘effective’ meeting is planned in advance, so you have all the right tech and resources to hand. Distribute meeting materials in advance, giving participants enough time to review. If you’re holding a long meeting, plan in enough comfort breaks and think about your meeting timings.

Consider the meeting participants’ needs, for example, employees for whom English is a second language. Do they need additional support materials? If you have introverted team members, how can you make sure they have a chance to put their views across? How can you prevent extroverted employees from dominating the meeting?

Share company goals, mission and vision

When creating an inclusive culture at work, don’t forget the obvious, sharing important goals and objectives with your employees. When people understand what they are working towards, and the purpose behind their daily tasks, they’ll feel more motivated to perform their duties.

If you have a vision and mission for the company, make sure this is on your website and in your employee handbooks. Share this information with your workforce regularly and proactively, especially when there are changes happening within the company.

A vision, mission and business goals act as a good reminder to everyone that they are all working towards common objectives. Involve your employees in discussions relating to improvements that can help them to achieve your goals. When employees feel involved in the company’s mission, this will lead to greater inclusivity across your business.

Managers communication style

Whether it’s on a one-to-one basis or a departmental floor talk, managers and team leaders should check their communication style. A common behaviour known as “mansplaining”, when men explain concepts that women already understand, can cause irritation. Annoyed employees are unlikely to engage with the plans or objectives you are trying to convey.

So, if you want to create a more inclusive workplace culture, you need to create buy-in using a suitable communication style. Think about the words you use and your body language. Encourage discussion and open dialogue; for more contentious subject matters, you could invite anonymous feedback via an online forum. Build relationships with your employees.

Recognise employee challenges

For greater inclusivity in the workplace, start by recognising unconscious biases and the typical challenges facing your employees’ gender, ethnicity, disability, religion, and so on. When employees feel they are seen and their issues are being heard, they feel more valued. And when employees feel valued, this will help to create a more inclusive workplace.

Some larger organisations encourage colleague inclusion networks. These networks represent employees on different matters, such as racial inclusion, disability, religion and belies, as well as LGBTQ communities. They can also be used to provide development opportunities to underrepresented communities in your business.

Recognising and rewarding your employees for their individual efforts is key for increasing engagement. Engaged employees help to create a more motivated workforce too. For further guidance on how to increase employee engagement, read our previous blog Engaging Your Employees After Covid-19.

Do you want a more inclusive workplace?

Whether you need regular or ad hoc HR advice, retained support or consultancy for support with larger or more complex matters, we can help. As your dedicated HR partner, Jude Read-HR can also update your HR policies and procedures and employee documents.

If you would like HR advice on how you can create a more inclusive culture in your workplace, please get in touch. We’ll be happy to discuss some practical solutions.

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