Updated: Jul 7
Diversity has been a huge topic in small organizations. With the change in social climate, companies must adjust organizational culture to include employees from different backgrounds. While the push for diversity in the workplace has been well received, the topic leads to inclusion in the workplace.
Inclusion is defined as the action or state of being included within a group or structure. The key to inclusion is making sure every member of your team feels that they are respected and valued.
Although embracing diversity has become commonplace in the workplace, small organizations are struggling with inclusion and employee retention. Here are our recommended 6 Ways to Create An Inclusive Workplace Culture:
1. Begin with leadership.
Any significant change in the workplace should be spearheaded by leadership. When promoting a change in the workplace that supports both inclusivity and diversity begins with the executive team. Plan a meeting with your executive team to set the standards and expectations for the culture change. Communicate and involve management and executives in upcoming D&I initiatives, resources, and goals.
2. Analyze and rework recruitment strategies.
Make sure that the recruitment strategy includes a plan to hire as well as support a diverse team. If your current strategy does not include an inclusion plan, you should revisit it now! Make sure your employment efforts speak to all people and not a small segment of society. Inclusion should be integrated into your efforts, especially when the goal is to cultivate a new culture where team members feel supported, valued, and included; thereby, making them want to stay.
3. Create a comfortable environment for employees.
Employees deserve a safe space to feel both welcome and heard. Outdated employee handbooks can lead to discomfort at work. Reviewing traditional dress code policies, maybe relaxing or removing gender-specific requirements, can provide a sense of inclusion to your employees. Let your team know that they are accepted as they are.
Creating a sense of comfort and belonging can also help retain employees.
4. Create connections with employees.
Genuine connections are rare without making an effort to connect. Engaging with your team can be one of the best ways to build relationships in the workplace. Workplace relationships can lead to better results for both your organization and clients. It can even improve employee retention. Being more open at work can encourage the same from your team.
A simple change like using the term “partner” when referring to significant others can encourage LGBTQ+ employees to feel more open about sharing their personal lives and feel included in non-work discussions. Allow everyone to be themselves in the conversation.
5. Provide ways to give feedback.
Feedback from your employees is pivotal in this time of change. Find different ways to receive feedback. Many times when offering feedback, employees want to feel a level of comfort with management. It can be difficult for employees to share their honest opinions of the management directly with management.
TIP: Anonymous comment boxes or employee surveys are a great way to receive unfiltered feedback. It is important to know how we can grow as business owners. Also, having an outside HR partner to serve as a safe space for employees to speak with is a great investment to make on behalf of your team.
6. Celebrating company diversity!
A diverse team is always something amazing to celebrate. Take the time to celebrate your team's differences. For example, Juneteenth is now a national holiday celebration. While there has been controversy on who should celebrate Juneteenth, hosting company celebrations can educate all employees and make all feel included in the festivities. Celebrate the holiday together with themed games, educational programs/events, or simple welcoming holiday decor.
Celebrating diversity is more than just celebrating your employees’ different nationalities and races. Be proud of your employees’ identities. Encourage your team to integrate themselves into the company image.
Why is inclusion important?
Inclusivity and diversity are essential bottom lines for modern company cultures. An inclusive workplace can improve your organization by increasing employee engagement, productivity, and innovation within their roles. In today’s time, it is not enough to only hire people of all races, genders, and sexual orientations. The goal is to create a culture that makes all employees feel a sense of belonging within your organization.
Cultivating an inclusive culture can be taxing. But it doesn’t have to be. HR TailorMade can help your small organization shift the culture by updating your Employee Handbook and policies so both you and your team feel supported. Check out our list of services now.