In a rare case of a win-win situation in 2020, building a more positive workplace culture also happens to the best way to increase productivity across the breadth of your employee base, so this article is more focused on the inclusive part. Building an inclusive culture at your workplace does take a lot of focus and effort to do correctly, but it truly is worth it in the long run, when your company starts to see the savings on employee retention, and the productivity of a work base driven by more than making their employers some money.
In a nutshell, employees who feel respected and included perform better, and in a world shifting to more remote work, the talent pool for your company can truly be limitless if you cultivate a company culture that accepts and empowers everyone, regardless of global locale, race, gender, sexuality, or anything else other that isn’t work ethic, experience, and performance.
Here are three steps to help your company improve its inclusiveness, and in turn, its bottom line.
Educate the Brass
Major changes rarely get made without input and approval from managers and C-suite executives, so informing those people within your company that an inclusion initiative is not only morally sound, but also a good move for the business side of things is the first step you need to take to really get the proverbial ball rolling.
Strength in numbers always gets the attention of the higher ups, and creating a brainstorming team who shares your level of interest in the importance of inclusive workplace cultures can help you get noticed a little faster, and is also great for idea generation. Sending out a mass email about something like an “inclusion council meeting,” or something similar, will certainly never be met with negativity, and there is a good chance you’ll have some colleagues interested in forming a proposal to share with management regarding your aspirations for a more inclusive culture.
There is a chance that your interest in a more inclusive workplace culture stems from a lack of diversity in your workplace. If that is the case, your ladder might be a little more difficult to climb, but even in the eye of the almighty dollar, it’s a conversation your bosses need to listen to. Obviously, they should also listen with a moral ear, but as previously mentioned, the win-win nature of an inclusive workplace gives you a few angles to convince a more “stubborn” management team to incorporate initiatives related to inclusion.
Bring it Front and Center
The best way to spread cultural awareness is by sharing and celebrating those cultures. Encouraging your coworkers to educate the rest of the staff about their customs and cultures will open many blind eyes who often are affected by implicit biases that make them just think that everyone was raised like they were. Adult versions of show and tell can involve music, a company lunch from an employee’s culture, dress days, and many other things that help educate on your staff’s coworkers, ultimately being an interactive way to increase inclusive mindsets.
Even though the political divisiveness in the United States and its news sources often makes us feel like someone who doesn’t agree with us is supposed to be an enemy, the truth is that most people don’t realize when they are being insensitive to cultural inclusion. There are very polite ways to bring up an issue that you feel may be non-inclusive for yourself or a colleague. Speaking up on that colleague’s behalf is, in and of itself, an expression related to improving inclusion and will not only help the mission directly, but will also make everyone realize you care about what you are preaching, and that makes others care more as well.