These days, business owners now recognize the importance of creating an inclusive workplace environment. If your efforts succeed, it will be easier for your organization to start with your diversity efforts. Business leaders say that creating an inclusive workplace helped them generate greater profitability than competitors and up to 30 percent revenue per employee.
Now more than ever, inclusion in the workplace has been a great attraction for the best talents too. Employees want to feel genuinely accepted and listened to in their work environment. They can feel a sense of belonging and promote higher employee engagement, which is necessary for improving the company’s retention, productivity, and success. Continue reading to find out how you can enable an inclusive workplace in your organization.
1. Prioritize accessibility
Not many companies want to hire people with disabilities or prioritize their workplace engagement. In the United States, the jobless rates of individuals with disabilities are considerably higher than those without disabilities. While this is a never-ending concern in many other countries, it doesn’t mean your organization can’t do something to change it. Besides offering them employment, your company also needs to take further actions to make the workplace more accessible.
Start by eliminating physical barriers. Entrances and doorways must be accessible to wheelchair users. The size of lobbies and offices should be big enough. There must be reserved parking spaces for employees or guests with disabilities.
Next, invest in assistive technology to make the work easier for employees with visual or hearing impairments. For example, you can invest in hard-of-hearing communication software so your employees can accommodate real-time and quick phone calls or speech to text messages. The best part is, most of these communication solutions for the hearing impaired are easy to install on PCs and can guarantee privacy and security. Other ways to nurture accessibility are through offering flexible hours and special equipment and being proactive about the needs of your employees.
2. Foster a Supportive Culture
Employees are more likely to stay in a company that genuinely values and appreciates them. They should feel free about showing their uniqueness and authentic self and that their opinions matter. A workplace that fails to create a sense of connectedness with its team can expect lower employee retention and productivity rates.
Your people should always feel welcomed regardless of their race, age, sexual orientation, cultural background, and physical conditions. Practicing basic courtesy or playing favorites will not help you foster an inclusive workplace. A supportive culture makes its people feel safe and actively promotes diverse viewpoints.
3. Rethink workplace policies
The next thing you must address is checking if you need to remove any of your current policies or if there’s a need to create new ones. These will include workforce policies for hiring new employees and managing team performance. If you’re looking to create a more inclusive work environment, ensure your recruitment policies support more diverse candidates.
Your company holiday calendar must also cover different holidays and cultures. Allow your people to get their holiday leaves when necessary. In expanding your company calendar, be sure that the holidays will be widely-accepted or at least aligned with your organization’s religious beliefs. Suppose you cannot include religion-based holidays on your calendar. In that case, you should at least boost your employees’ sense of belonging and recognition.
4. Form a Designated Committee
Depending on your overall goal, you can choose to create an inclusion council or a broader committee that also handles diversity and equity in your workplace. Having a dedicated team can make it easier for your organization to bring ethical and cultural changes. Other business owners form an inclusion and diversity committee to improve their overall bottom line.
In choosing the committee members, ensure to include as many opinions and viewpoints as possible. You’d also need to identify the committee’s areas of concern and goals using compiled data from your business. Finally, it’s important to regularly evaluate your committee’s performance and make necessary adjustments as you go.
Forming such a committee can be a powerful tool for catalyzing changes in the work environment, from the recruitment process to performance management. It’s also crucial that the workplace inclusion goals of your team align with the operations, strategies, and mission of your company as a whole.
Workplace inclusion can offer up many excellent opportunities for your organization, from employee engagement, higher retention rate, productivity levels, and more significant revenue. With the suggestions in this guide, your teams will know that you value authenticity and healthy workplace culture.