Research and studies indicate that members of the LGBTQ community, racial minorities, women, individuals who practice different religions, and those who have a disability still experience workplace discrimination.
- Encourage Everyone to Evaluate His or Her Own Biases
We all have biases, even if we aren’t aware of them. People tend to think they are fair in their interactions with others and that they don’t engage in discriminatory behavior. And truthfully, very few people purposefully engage in discriminatory behavior, which is why it’s important for individuals to think about and evaluate their own innate and subconscious biases.
Biases typically form involuntarily, as individuals tend to gravitate toward those individuals who are more like themselves as an innate—albeit archaic—biological survival mechanism. However, when individuals ask themselves aloud and deliberately question why they prefer to work with one person over another, or why they prefer to hire one person over another, they are consciously and purposefully evaluating their own biases. And this step is crucial to being more inclusive to different individuals with different backgrounds across the workplace.
- Don’t Try to Reduce Differences; Embrace Them and the Opportunities They Bring
Instead of trying to get everyone to act the same way, think the same way, and believe the same things, embrace individual differences and the unique perspectives that they bring to a team. A team whose members are diverse and unique will bring about better innovation and progress for an organization as a whole, as well as individual teams.
If everyone on a team or across an organization is identical or very similar, individuals will start to regurgitate the same ideas and the team will be much more inept at realizing global opportunities, both literally and figuratively. They will not be able to understand global operations, as well as more diverse teams, and may struggle with innovating new products and concepts and scaling their operations globally.
- Motivate Leaders to Set an Example
To truly inspire a more inclusive culture at your organization, realize that it starts with your leadership. Leaders should work to hire individuals with diverse backgrounds and expertise who have a lot to offer. And they should constantly and deliberately work to encourage their diverse teams to share the spotlight among themselves.
Additionally, if leaders show they have zero tolerance for discrimination and noninclusive behavior and actively work to be more inclusive of others’ ideas and perspectives as often as possible, most of the members on their teams will naturally follow their example.
- Seek Feedback and Input from Employees
One of the best ways to inspire a more inclusive company culture is to ask employees what they think and what their experiences within your organization are like. Ask them if they feel discriminated against, why they think they are being discriminated against, and how often to see how you can work to rectify instances of noninclusive behavior across your organization. By including them, you are ensuring they realize you’re actively working to include them while actually including them.
Follow the four tips above if you’re serious about inspiring a more inclusive company culture.