Irrelevant to the size or scale of a business, every employee should feel included no matter their gender, race, identity or culture. By allowing individuals to be who they are and know that they are comfortable, will help breed a supportive and collaborative culture.We recently spoke to a software engineer, and proud trans woman, Ruth, who shared her experience of transitioning during her career:
“I was very concerned about the impact that transitioning might have on my career – whereas, in fact, the converse was true – I found it made me far happier in work and a better team player.”
“So, at Click Travel, for example, we put a lot of focus on respect, psychological safety and mental health – as well as having a no-blame culture – and it’s certainly a place where being different just isn’t an issue – everyone is accepted for who they are.”
So, what can individuals and employers do to create an inclusive workplace?
Learn, and actively stay educated
A great start is by being educated and continuously building on your knowledge, especially those working in a higher position. Having the ability to educate but also support employees is a great asset. It should never be a one time lesson. Regular upkeep of employee training on diversity will have a positive impact on the workplace, as the greater the number of people aware, the greater the chance of keeping team culture boosted.
Understand differences - and be flexible
Creating a healthy work-life balance is vital. When recruiting new employees, take into consideration that not everyone celebrates the same holidays. Providing the flexibility to have time off when required, for different cultural celebrations, will make employees feel valued. Another factor to adopt is to pay employees based on skills, regardless of gender, sexual orientation or race.
Recognise and celebrate differences
Encourage employees to share who they truly are. In the workplace celebrate significant days, whether that’s Black History Month, Pride or Eid for example. Perhaps host weekly or monthly lunch gatherings and allow employees to share more about their backgrounds. Respect your employees for who they are, and in turn, they will respect you and the business.
Put diversity and inclusion at the heart of what you do
Make your diversity and inclusion policies known from the very outset of an employee’s journey. Promote them on social media, on the company’s website and even in the interviewing processes. Recent adaptations also include identifying employees through their pronouns, to keep identity crisis to an absolute minimum. No one needs to be ‘labelled’ but showing that you understand how a person identifies will ultimately make them feel more comfortable.
Listen to your employees, and adapt
Is the layout and surroundings of the workplace appropriate? Do you fully support your employees and their needs? Make it an essential task to make your team members feel heard and understood. Be open and willing to new ideas. Celebrate and value everyone as an individual, as well as a team. If you feel like you could improve your diversity and inclusion strategies, act now. With 61% of employees believing that inclusion is beneficial and essential, it’s time as an employer to prove that you fully support this. There are a plethora of smaller quick wins, and more long-term steps each employer can take to ensure they’re treating their employees how they want to be treated. The first step is always to ask, ask for feedback and adapt from there.