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    Ideas for Creating an Inclusive Work Environment & Culture


    “When we listen and celebrate what is both common and different, we become wiser, more inclusive, and better as an organization.” Pat Wadors

    A vital component of a successful company in 2022 is creating an organizational culture that fosters inclusivity. Employees who feel they can be themselves and that their contributions are valued are more likely to be productive, committed and engaged. Creating an inclusive workplace takes effort, but it’s worth it! Here are five ideas for getting started:

      1. Promote Open Communication
      2. Create a Transparent Business Environment
      3. Encourage Workplace Autonomy
      4. Promote Diversity and Community
      5. Recognize the Employee Contributions

    The Inclusive Workplace

    The concept of workplace inclusiveness is not new or complicate; it is based on the idea that if people feel welcome, supported, valued and treated with respect, they will experience contentment and satisfaction in their role within the organization. Moreover, inclusiveness promotes trust, transparency, accountability and acts as an antidote to toxicity.  

    In an inclusive company culture, employees feel as though they are an essential part of the organization and that their opinions, ideas, and other contributions are valued.

    Inclusiveness means employees have the necessary support and resources available to develop their abilities and advance their careers.

    Inclusive culture also includes the removal of communication, physical, and social barriers that hinder personal development and job performance.

    What are the Benefits of an Inclusive Workplace?

    Inclusive organizational cultures foster a sense of community for employees, engender commitment, and encourage positive attitudes and behaviors among employees.

    • An international study conducted by McKinsey& Company found that companies with the most culturally diverse executive-level management are 43% more likely to experience higher profits.
    • 70% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an essential factor when considering employment. (Glassdoor, 2021)

    In short, inclusive workplaces are more likely to attract and retain diverse workforce, providing it with natural competitive advantages.

    Promote Open Communication

    Open communication is when employees feel free to express ideas, opinions, and offer feedback as a matter of organizational culture.

    In organizations that achieve open communication, there are no hidden agendas or misrepresentations of information.

    Examples of open communication channels in the workplace include:

    • Hold regular individual and staff meetings
    • Conduct annual employee reviews
    • Conduct anonymous Surveys
    • Host Social Events

    Businesses can implement open communication by encouraging employees to speak freely regarding their thoughts without fear of reprisal.

    Create a Transparent Business Environment

    “A lack of transparency results in distrust and a deep sense of insecurity.”- Dalai Lama

    A transparent workplace welcomes two-way communication between employees and management. Managers in this environment accept and provide constructive feedback regarding business operations, goals, policies, and procedures.

    The success of businesses depends significantly on establishing trust among managers, employees, customers, and other stakeholders. Establishing trust is critical as it relates to employer-employee relationships and business-stakeholder relationships.

    People want to know they are being treated fairly, honestly, and respectfully in all of their dealings. The result of transparent policies, procedures, and actions are trust-based reputation which is critical to creating a stable and loyal workforce.

    Encourage Workplace Autonomy

    Research has found that employee autonomy enhances job satisfaction, motivation, creativity, and well-being. And workplace autonomy facilitates employee decision-making over the planning and executing of regular work duties. 

    Practices that help support workplace autonomy:

      1. Adapt a coaching style of supervision
      2. Work with employees to set goals
      3. Promote employee recognition and responsibility
      4. Provide the resources necessary to succeed
      5. Design onboarding and training policies that promote autonomy.

    This approach is based on the idea that decentralized decision-make breeds innovation and creative problem-solving. Moreover, it ensures employees feel engaged and fulfilled by their work in a way that aligns the employee’s goals with the organizational interests.

    Promote Diversity & Community 

    “According to Deloitte, diversity of thought produces creativity, enhancing innovation by 20%.”

    Diversity in the workplace means accepting and including employees from different backgrounds, ages, and ethnicities, as well as gender balance.

    A diverse workplace is an essential asset since it acknowledges the individual strengths of each employee and the potential they bring.

    Ideas to promote workplace diversity:

      1. Promote Policies and Procedures that support workplace Diversity
      2. Educate Managers on the value of workplace diversity
      3. Communicate to employees in a way that promotes acceptance
      4. Provide opportunities for employee engagement
      5. Create career development programs
      6. Work with HR managers to implement diverse recruitment strategies

    Recognize the Employee Contributions

     “Recognition is not a scarce resource. You can’t use it up or run out of it.” Susan M. Heathfield

    Employee recognition in the workplace is where management acknowledges the effort and achievements of employees.

    For example, recognition and rewards are presented to employees for high performance, years of commitment, or going above and beyond the call of duty.

    Appropriate and timely recognition for excellent work is a characteristic of an inclusive environment.

    Examples of employee recognition and rewards:

    • Verbal recognition
    • Celebrate employee anniversaries
    • Remembering employee birthdays
    • Holding company parties
    • Performance-based bonuses
    • Non-performance based recognition
    • Employee discounts
    • Seasonal gifts, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Halloween, Easter, etc.

    Ensuring employees’ contributions are recognized is critical to an inclusive culture. Recognition fosters a sense that the company values each member and demonstrates that they are a key part of the organization’s success.

    For businesses to thrive in the current economy and compete with top talent, it is essential to create an inclusive workplace. Also, inclusive culture means having a workforce that feels supported and can develop their abilities without barriers.

    An inclusive workplace allows employees to feel comfortable bringing their whole selves to work, fostering creativity and innovation.

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