The Auckland Chamber of Commerce has a library filled with hundreds of business resources and offers a complimentary business advisory service. One such resource offered (from the many many available) is about creating an inclusive organisation.
How to create an inclusive work environment
Creating an inclusive work environment is an effective way to make all employees feel comfortable and welcome within your workspace. Fostering this type of environment will likely enhance employee happiness and perhaps even productivity. Crafting an environment of this type, however, requires efforts toward helping workers overcome their fears of the unknown and even prejudices they may potentially be harbouring. To produce an environment in which workers of all backgrounds and experiences feel welcome, you must approach the task from various directions.
Step 1 – Address inclusion issues immediately
The enemy of inclusion is discrimination. If any instances of discrimination arise within your workplace, deal with them immediately, speaking to the employees who have engaged in discriminatory practices and making it clear that practices of that type aren’t allowed within your workplace. Also be clear that you disciplinary sanctions will take place if employees engage in discrimination. Follow through with this promise if necessary.
Step 2 – Allow for celebration of all cultural festivities
Offices typically only focus on mainstream cultural celebrations, such as Christmas. To transform your workspace into an inclusive one, celebrating cultural celebrations of all varieties is necessary. This requires being attentive to employees’ backgrounds and cultures.
Step 3 – Encourage all employees to strive for success
In an inclusive environment, workers of all backgrounds should have equal access to success. To ensure equal access, encourage all workers to strive for betterment and advancement within the workplace. Make this recommendation informally when giving verbal praise. For example, if a worker has just done a stellar job on a task, tell him, “Keep working like this and you’ll be a logical choice to receive a promotion.” More formally, ask employees to set improvement goals when they have their employee evaluation meetings. This shows them that their success is important to the company and, perhaps more importantly, that you believe in them.
Step 4 – Show employees that inclusion is a priority.
Show employees that inclusion is a priority. Make inclusion an emphasis within your workplace to keep the topic on the minds of your employees. Plan developmental activities that relate back to inclusion, such as bringing in speakers to speak on inclusion-related topics. By continually returning to this topic, you make it clear that inclusion isn’t just a passing fad but a continuous initiative.