Diversity is not performative. In its true sense, it implies that companies are willing to incorporate changes into their cultures that would ensure that employees from different backgrounds, ethnicities, abilities, and ages are hired. Yet, only diversity is not enough; each employee should feel included in the company culture as well. Here are 6 steps you can take to build a respectful culture.
Education is Key to Change
Through training programs and team-building exercises, it is possible to remove the unconscious biases that employees harbor. Instilling new perspectives and bridging gaps is fundamental to making all employees feel welcomed in the company. Middle managers are the ones who have to initiate programs and mitigate workplace relations. While HR can ensure that all employees are engaged in unlearning biases and C-suite can show their support, employees from marginalized communities must lead such initiatives. It is their voice that matters the most.
A Space that is Supportive and Safe
For too long now, workplaces have avoided difficult conversations and questions, for the fear of creating divides. Rather, these unacknowledged topics are what creates friction in the first place. It is high time now to ask the hard questions, provide genuine feedback, and create constructive discussions around uncomfortable topics. Allyship is imperative for constructing a positive workplace. No one should feel afraid to voice their concerns and opinion, lest they face retaliation. Employers must show support to all the employees and ensure that the workplace remains a safe environment for every employee.
Collective Accountability is Necessary
Every company culture has a set of rules that regulate behavior and ensure smooth sailing in the day-to-day functioning of the company. Anyone found violating these set principles should face the consequences, regardless of the rank or title they hold within the company. Ignoring any violations is a sure way to let toxicity fester in your company culture. The role of the leadership and management, in ensuring that the culture is healthy, and violators are held accountable, is extremely central, since employees look up to them. Accountability for lack of diversity and inclusion should be an open conversation.
Revamping Application and Selection Procedures
HR technologists have maintained that unconscious biases during selection can lead to historically underrepresented groups being neglected. To overcome this fault, companies should look into revamping their application and selection process and understand where the obstacles present themselves. Both parts of the equation feel that transparency is important when it comes to the selection process. Our studies have found that a whopping 62% of workers would not associate with a workplace if they feel that diversity and inclusivity are not practiced. Moreover, many employees are now pushing their employers to take a stand on prevailing social issues.
Employee Differences Should be Celebrated
Companies should constantly review, reassess, and rethink the company culture, to make sure that it aligns with the values and vision they espouse. Allowing employees to be their authentic selves in the workplace, in a manner that is positive and not harming anyone, has a positive impact on the company culture. Small gestures, like allowing them to decorate their desk, allows their personalities to shine through. This also helps to connect the clients with the customers, as they can relate to them and be comfortable.
Be Honest About the Good and the Bad
The opacity of internal affairs has often left employees in the dark regarding the company's inner dynamics. Employees do not feel valued since they are not in the loop regarding the decision-making process. By including the employees in such a decision, there has been a visible impact on productivity, morale, and sense of belongingness. Employees can also help to discover weaknesses that might have been overlooked. Brainstorming with employees can also ensure that unique solutions are sourced for shortcomings and faults. These are a few factors that leaders should keep in mind.
The Bottom Line
Diversity and inclusion are difficult topics, and a blanket approach can only end in disastrous results. Companies and HR should focus on their culture to define behaviors that are acceptable and then stick to those guidelines strictly. A workplace that is truly diverse and inclusive will attract and retain the best talent.<< back to Blog