If you are a business owner, you have a huge part in developing the culture of your organization. The policies you put in place will determine whether or not yours is a culture of openness and inclusion. Studies have shown that accepting and inclusive workplaces lead to more productivity and heightened creativity. The benefits are seemingly endless, so we have rounded up 10 ways to help you create a culture of inclusion at your company.
A great first step to creating an inclusive culture is to educate yourself about different traditions, workplace practices, cultures, and world events. A great way to do this is to get to know your employees who have these different traditions and asking them to teach you about them. Having a mind that is open and eager to learn about these different perspectives will help you have the right type of attitude when establishing your company culture.
Create an environment where different cultures and values are encouraged
A great way to do this is to make a point of asking others for their input on decisions you make and the projects you work on and genuinely taking their feedback into account. If you encourage employees across departments to do this, you will find that your office is one full of open dialogue which will lend itself to diversity.
Make people feel like they belong
There is no one size fits all solution to make every employee feel like that have their own important place at the company, instead you will have to get to know each employee and their style to see how you can find ways to make them feel welcome and included.
Use empathetic leadership
In order to do this, reflect on a time when you may have felt shamed, left out, or when you felt like you just didn’t fit in. Use your perspectives from these experiences to shape your leadership style so you can identify the relationship between feeling excluded and making others feel excluded and then work from there to tackle this issue.
Do not rely on quotas
“Of course our workplace is diverse, we were careful to hire people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, and people of different genders and sexualities.” Unfortunately, hiring a diverse staff is not enough to create an inclusive workplace. You also need policies and procedures in place that makes employees feel comfortable expressing who they truly are.
Do not take a top down approach
Assuming that all you need to do is set a good example and that your customers will then follow is a common misstep. Instead, put programs and procedures into place and be clear about how employees can create an open environment. Don’t count on them to figure this out through observation.
One of the best ways to check in on the state of your company culture is to ask your employees for feedback. In order to get the truth, you will want to convey the message that you are truly open to hearing your employees thoughts, even if it comes with some difficult criticism. Another great technique is to create a system for collecting anonymous feedback so you can get unfiltered information.
Make a commitment
Knowing that it will not be a fast or easy process to make the culture at your company more inclusive is very important. You need to be willing to make a long-term commitment to this change in order to have a significant impact. Not everyone will buy in right away, some of the techniques you try will fail, and things might get uncomfortable, but don’t give up! This is a change that is well worth the effort!
Switch up your meetings
Changing who leads meetings and sets meeting agendas is a great way to reveal different perspectives and open up dialogues between team members. If one person is typically in charge of meetings it may take time and patience for employees to adapt to switching it up, but in the long-run it will be well worth it.
Change is uncomfortable and a lot of people don’t like it by natureGive yourself and your employees time to adapt to changes gradually, your culture will not change overnight. But know that in the long-run it will be well worth it as your employees become happier, more productive, and more creative which will allow you to increase staff retention.
We hope these tips help you to emphasize diversity and inclusion within your company culture creating a positive work environment for all! Have your own tips to encourage inclusion? Let us know on Twitter, @KuvioCreative.
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