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inclusive workplace

5 Tips for Fostering Inclusivity on Your Team

Creating an inclusive environment is something that all leaders need to consider while establishing workplace culture. But what exactly is inclusivity? It can mean different things to different people, but in all reality, inclusivity is when people with different backgrounds and identities are welcomed into a group setting (such as an organization, team, or even a meeting). All individuals are valuable members of the group. Upholding inclusivity also means these individuals feel like they belong, are trusted, and are depended on to contribute to the group.

But what are the benefits of creating an inclusive group? Well, a work environment that promotes inclusivity will have increased team morale, overall happiness of employees will improve, and ideas and collaboration is shared throughout your teams. These benefits of inclusivity all lead to increased innovation and productivity.

According to Gallup, there are three fundamental requirements for inclusivity. First and foremost is mutual respect — this improves engagement and empowers individuals to share their thoughts and fears. Secondly, leaders must keenly welcome the individuality of each individual and the value that their unique viewpoint offers. The third prerequisite is trust and vulnerability. Leaders must consistently personify these qualities. Leaders must be comfortable with organizing open discussions about inclusivity or any other topic your employees may want to discuss.

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How to Create an Inclusive Team

Are you ready to have a more inclusive organization? The heart of creating an inclusive work environment is recognizing that everyone is human and acknowledging that our perspectives can greatly differ. Below you’ll find some tips on how to foster inclusivity and establish an environment where your employees feel welcome and valued.

  1. Create a transparent and honest culture. We all know that having difficult conversations, especially in the workplace, can be tough on everyone involved. We also know that for situations to improve, they need to happen. Focus on building an organization-wide culture where feedback is welcomed and valued. This will in turn create an open line of communication between you and your employees. Incorporate feedback into your regular conversations and meetings and be sure to schedule regular, virtual, or in-person 1:1 meetings with individuals. The more regular the conversations, the more open and comfortable the team members will feel.
  2. Be an ally. Whether you’re viewed as someone in a leadership position, or an individual on a team, always be an ally for your fellow employees. You can accomplish this by taking a step back to listen to your team members, continually advocating for underrepresented individuals, and inviting them to share their opinions while encouraging them to take on new roles or opportunities.
  3. Acknowledge and understand unconscious bias. Unconscious bias is often identified as any discrimination or beliefs that are made for or against an individual or group. Even the most subtle bias can lead to an exclusive environment. Leaders need to ensure that each individual team member has necessary and easy access to training, personal development, professional networking, and other resources.
  4. Develop a remote and hybrid work policy. Whether your company has always been a remote office, or if you just started because of the pandemic, a remote and hybrid work policy will help to explain the guidelines in order to work and operate efficiently. By creating this policy and communicating your expectations from the start, employees will be more empowered to work be remote or hybrid and see the benefits for themselves.
  5. Create agendas for meetings and trainings. When scheduling meetings and trainings, ensure that your teams are on the same page by offering agendas for events ahead of time. This in turn also makes it easier for employees who are more introverted or reserved to come well-prepared and have a higher likelihood to contribute to the conversations happening.

In an inclusive work environment, individuals are empowered and comfortable contributing their ideas and feedback, which leads to an increase in a happier and more productive organization. In our current business ecosystem, where the only constant is change, encompassing a culture of inclusivity is essential for all businesses to grow and flourish. Teams and individuals need to learn the art of inclusive collaboration, because without this skill (and it is a skill that can be learned) true teamwork across an organization is difficult, if not impossible.

Foster an Inclusive Work Environment

Although some may argue that work is work, and individuals should leave anything personal outside of the workplace, that is completely understandable if you want to promote old ways of thinking and blind obedience, especially in a remote or hybrid working environment. If you want to foster an environment bursting with innovation, creativity, and effective teamwork, you’ll need inclusivity. Skills may land someone the job, but it’s inclusion that inspires employees to stick around. Inclusivity means that you don’t have to conform to be welcomed or effective at your job. Remember, high-performing teams don’t just happen overnight. Successful teams need keen recruitment, staffing, and training strategies – all of which should focus on creating an inclusive work environment.

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