Everyone wants to feel valued at work, which is why your commitment to create an inclusive workplace is so important. Developing a work culture that prioritises respect and celebrates diversity is key to any successful organisation. Creating an inclusive workplace comes in many forms. Find out how your workplace can benefit from a diverse culture.
What is an inclusive workplace?
The definition of an inclusive workplace can vary from person to person.
At its core, a workplace which is inclusive means;
- Every team member feels like they can be themselves without fear of judgement or criticism
- Team members have equal access to career progression and professional development opportunities
- Employees feel as if they can share their opinions and ideas
- All team members have mutual respect, no matter their position in the company
- Differences are celebrated, not shunned
- Team members and managers exercise flexibility towards each other, especially regarding work or leave arrangements
What is inclusive workplace best practice?
Creating an inclusive workplace requires a conscious effort, and it falls on an individual business to decide what will work best for them.
Consider all forms of diversity
This includes age, background, skillset, gender etc.
Create a strong sense of belonging
An inclusive workplace means everyone feels comfortable at work. Build rapport by getting to know each other, having regular social events, celebrating everyone’s wins and encouraging open communication.
Be an empathetic leader
Managers and leaders in the company should exercise empathy and flexibility in their decisions. There is no one size fits all policy and each issue, should be treated on an individual basis, considering the best interests of the employee and the company.
Quotas can be harmful, not helpful
Creating an inclusive workplace isn’t about quotas, it’s about celebrating the individual and what value they can bring to the company. Take the view that true workplace diversity occurs when we no longer look at each other’s differences, but at similarities instead.
The hiring process should be as free from unconscious bias as possible. Remove names, genders, ages, and photos from resumes, or conduct initial phone conversations rather than face to face interviews. Outsourcing your recruitment can also avoid bias.
The many benefits of diversity
The benefits of a diverse workplace are endless. Some of the best things about inclusive workplace culture are:
- Team members have the opportunity to learn from each other
- Employees bring different experiences, interests and views which can help others to look at issues from a different perspective
- Overall company culture and employee morale are higher, meaning that job retention increases and the company’s reputation is improved. This will attract high-quality job candidates and reduce the costs of re-hiring.
Tips for conflict management and resolution
As in all workplaces, it’s inevitable that some conflict may occur – no matter how positive the culture is. It’s important that issues are dealt with professionally.
Nip it in the bud
At the first sign of a potential issue, speak to the employees involved and hear their concerns. Prevention is always better, and often, issues can be fixed before they begin.
If the issue has gotten out of hand, a neutral third party can step in to mediate and help those involved come to a mutually beneficial agreement
Communication is key
Ensure that all members feel like their opinions are heard and any complaints raised are taken seriously. Encourage team members to communicate openly, to prevent potential conflict in the first place.
If employees repeatedly cause conflict, their manager can remind them that both personal and professional conflict is best kept to a minimum to sustain a healthy work culture.
Educate and inform
If similar issues keep arising, Human Resources can deliver a workshop detailing the need for mutual respect and professionalism in the workplace and help employees to cope better with differences. A Diploma in Leadership & Management (BSB51918) will give you the skills to spot conflict before it occurs, as well as help diffuse it positively.
Creating diversity is a valuable way to create an inclusive workplace. A Diploma of Leadership & Management (BSB51918) or a Diploma of Business (BSB50215) is a perfect way to delve deeper into the benefits of workplace diversity and will equip you with the skills to excel in any organisation.