Organisational cultures are a vital aspect within any company and defining how the company and its people operate and interact with each other to achieve their goals is part of that culture. However, creating an inclusive culture is not easy to prioritise with the demands of the business pulling in other directions. But fit in it must, particularly as employees are becoming ever more aware of the importance of inclusivity and what an organisation should commit to do to become an equal, diverse and inclusive employer.
The start point for most organisations is reviewing and where needed, amending its values and beliefs which should be at the core of any inclusive employer – don’t forget, done well, they can unite a company. When trying to establish a culture, these values and beliefs should be kept at the forefront. They should be true and defined as a collective by the entire organisation, not just a senior leadership team developed initiative.
That said, leadership plays an important role and becoming an inclusive leader is key to the success of embedding values and beliefs. If senior leaders do not champion what the company believes in, this can create misunderstanding and frustration.
So, how can organisations build inclusive workplaces? Its important not to focus solely on diversity – you have to try to capture everyone which often means ensuring that your inclusivity strategy does just that, includes! Inclusion is what’s needed to give diversity real impact, and drive towards a world of work where all employees are empowered to thrive.
Whilst diversity and inclusion often go hand in hand, inclusion is fundamentally about individual experience and allowing everyone at work to contribute and feel a part of an organisation – how do you ensure the new parent who can’t make it to social events like they used to be able to do feels included and involved.
Many believe that the key to inclusivity is adopting an inclusive communication strategy that is respectful, accurate, accessible and relevant to all. It should be person centred and use simple language that is free from stereotypes and biases. Adopting this approach can often increase engagement, solidify the workplace culture and improve wellbeing across business units. It also promotes a feeling of being valued, makes people feel like they belong, promotes respectful relationships, avoids false assumptions and enables everyone to understand and be understood.
Being a culturally inclusive communicator also means being flexible, seeing how others are responding, and making adjustments where necessary. Remember, the goal is to create a space where everyone feels they belong and are acknowledged for what they do.
If you’re looking at ways to become a more inclusive employer, speak with one of Futureproof Training’s Learning & Development Managers about the types of initiatives that have been useful recently.
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