7 Effective Ways to Build an Inclusive Workplace

September 30, 2022

7 Effective Ways to Build an Inclusive Workplace 2560 1707 Shegerian Law

The workplace is a complex environment where people of different backgrounds gather to work and interact with one another. Because offices have high cultural diversity, inclusion should always be observed regardless of industry or working setup. 

The number of women and minorities in the workplace has steadily increased in the past few years. Recent reports even estimated that over 71.75 million women were employed in the United States last year. As offices become more occupied with individuals of varying ethnicities, religions, and genders, employers and managers must turn their companies into safe spaces.

There shouldn’t be any room for discrimination as people of different backgrounds gather in the office. The first step is to recognize the significance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace and then take steps to promote it.

Leads should look to build an inclusive work environment, not solely to avoid or prevent discrimination, but because it also brings other advantages.

The Benefits of an Inclusive Workplace

1. Improved employee retention

Employees are more inclined to feel appreciated and valued when your company embraces diversity and practices inclusivity. It predisposes them to stay, significantly reducing the rate of workforce turnover. It’s crucial to keep this low because replacing employees means you’ll have to spend time and resources on recruitment, onboarding, and training.

If your workers are constantly changing, there may be some disengagement in the office. Focusing on employee retention is a great way to avoid these financial cuts. It also prevents issues with customer service as long-term employees know how to work their way around things. Productivity can be preserved, as well.

2. Optimized productivity

An inclusive workplace will reduce your employees’ tendency to worry about not fitting in or being uneasy. It allows more room for them to be comfortable and even enjoy doing their tasks. Employees who feel a sense of belongingness in your company will be more motivated to work.

Likewise, it means that their output would be better because, besides improved performance, they would also feel that your company is worth giving their efforts to. The sense of appreciation helps drive them to give their best and continually develop their skills.

3. Added creativity and innovation

A diverse team exposes your company to different personalities, cultures, experiences, and backgrounds. It means they can bring their uniqueness to the table. You can expect extra creativity, novel ideas, problem-solving skills, and more. Ensure you have an open floor discussion when brainstorming to take advantage of this edge.

A study from the Harvard Business Review showed that the more diverse a company is, the more innovative they become. When you group distinct individuals, you can get greater and better ideas that can radically boost your company’s services and increase business and profit.

4. Boosted customer relations

Establishing rapport and forming genuine connections are important when interacting with your customers. A team of people from varying backgrounds can help your company relate and communicate more effectively with clients from different communities. It’ll enhance customer satisfaction and pull up sales in the long run.

Diversity can also attract international customers. When your consumers see that you employ people of different backgrounds, they’re more prone to engage with your company.

For example, a clothing brand that shows models of different races would entice more prospects than a brand that caters to only endorsers of a single ethnicity.

Similarly, if you have customers from a specific area, having employees who can speak their local language can be a great advantage. It adds points to customer relations. 

5. Strengthened solidarity

Trust is an important element in the workplace. It allows everyone to feel they have a safe space to express themselves. It’s not just about colleagues turning into friends; trust also includes being comfortable enough to share ideas with the company.

Diversity, as mentioned above, offers a wide range of innovations. Those thoughts and ideas can only be useful to your company and employees if shared.

Inclusivity breeds engagement and connection, so establishing these is crucial. Employees also interact and commit more to their responsibilities, the company, and each other. It strengthens the team even more.

How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

1. Educate your staff through cultural workshops and talks

The lack of education and personal biases are some of the common reasons why people experience discrimination. Training your employees about diversity, inclusivity, and their importance in the workplace is crucial. Seminars that tackle sensitive topics are also helpful in teaching active listening and choosing the appropriate language to use.

Discussing mental health, stereotypes, gender identity, ethnicity, religion, and other sensitive matters are also effective in widening your employees’ perspectives and knowledge. It’ll pave the way to set aside preconceptions and prevent prejudice.

2. Provide the necessary, safe spaces

There are several ways you can incorporate safe spaces in the office. Having unisex bathrooms is one of the approaches to embracing individuals who are transgender and gender nonconforming. Organizing team lunches and get-togethers are also effective strategies for your employees to know each other and build support groups within the organization.

For those working remotely, you can hold virtual events and observe religious practices, among other things, to help employees feel that the workplace is a safe environment. The idea is that your staff should be able to have a healthy exchange of conversations about their cultures, traditions, and more.

3. Grant your employees the opportunity to provide feedback

You shouldn’t limit feedback to performance reviews and customers’ comments. An inclusive workplace involves your employees having the chance to share their thoughts. It allows your company to improve areas of weakness and boost its strengths. You can initiate feedback through surveys, company-wide meetings, and other open-ended discussions.

4. Celebrate diversity

When your company has done cultural workshops and gotten to know each other better, you can take inclusivity to a higher level. Celebrating each other’s differences is a great way to connect and bond as a team. One simple way to practice this is by creating a shared calendar that recognizes various holidays such as Chinese New Year, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving.

As managers or leads, sending simple greetings to acknowledge an employee’s tradition greatly shows respect and support for their customs. You can even set up a face-to-face or virtual gathering to celebrate those occasions.

5. Practice TLC (transparency, leading by example, and connecting)

You are your staff’s role model. One of the things you can do as a team lead is to be transparent, honest, and genuine in front of your employees. For instance, you can share your struggles in your career or in general and how you overcame them. It can start as a way for you and the workforce to share stories openly.

Remember that it’s crucial to be cautious when talking to individuals who belong to specific groups, such as the LGBTQ community. You should avoid using gendered terms and labels, asking questions that may be insensitive, and whatever else that may be offensive. It helps to have cultural seminars in your workplace to broaden your knowledge about these matters.

6. Make inclusivity part of your recruitment process

From the recruitment process itself, you can start practicing inclusivity. To have an inclusive work environment, your company would need to hire people from different backgrounds. Your human resource or HR department can broaden the scope of job advertisements or be specific with demographics. It can target certain groups, allowing you to get them on board.

If you already have a diverse team and would like to grow more, you can encourage your employees to promote your company’s job openings and refer their peers.

7. Penalize discrimination in all forms

It would be best if you informed employees of existing anti-discrimination policies and the consequences of violating them. Communicate with your team that they could approach HR or assigned personnel if they fall victim to racial slurs or bullying. In graver cases, inform them that they can ask for intervention from legal professionals.

Embracing Diversity through Inclusivity

The workplace is becoming more diverse than ever, and it’s important to celebrate and embrace those differences. Striving to build an environment that’s equal and welcoming to everyone can be challenging, but doing so will be worth every effort.

Making diversity a priority will give your employees a more enjoyable and comfortable space. At the same time, your company will reap better performances, innovation, and quality output and services for your customers.

In the event of an issue, you can acquire a workplace discrimination lawyer who’ll enable you to manage your situation carefully. Consult with a professional from Shegerian & Associates to learn more!

Skip to content