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How can you encourage an inclusive work environment?

Advice | Attitude | Bullying | Recruitment

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Inclusivity in the workplace is an ideal most astute businesses strive for. Making employees feel comfortable and valued can improve the quality of their work, creating better results for your company.

Although it can be challenging to ensure your work environment is an inclusive one, the benefits are undeniable. The question is really what you can do to boost this value within your organisation.

Promoting accepting attitudes

In order to promote a more accepting culture within your company, you will need to ensure all employees are being heard. Your business should make a point of actively seeking out perspectives from diverse groups of workers. Giving your workforce a forum to discuss issues that matter to them should make them feel both valued and that their opinions can influence the organisation.

According to the Hult International Business School, “creating a workplace where different perspectives are valued and embraced can go a long way to foster productive business relationships”.

It can often fall to leadership to encourage workers who may not have shared their perspectives about work to speak up. And, as Fast Company suggests, this “can be as simple as saying, ‘I’d like to know Latoya’s thoughts since she dealt with that issue in her last job.’"

The act of seeking out employees’ opinions will boost communication and work to create a more inclusive environment. This will then help your company retain - and then likely attract - diverse talent, giving you an advantage in an increasingly global business world.

Eliminate any bullying

Bullying is a major problem in British workplaces. A recent survey by Printerland found that 75 percent of UK workers “have witnessed workplace bullying, including threatening behaviour, or interference, such as work sabotage”. The survey also found that two-thirds of those polled said they had taken part in some form of bullying at work.

The survey found that despite the levels of bullying found in British workplaces, just “one in five office workers has the courage to tell their manager”. When they did share their experiences, only half of these meetings resulted in an improved atmosphere. It is, therefore, perhaps understandable that many managers are unaware of problems with bullying, making it vital that your firm’s senior leadership steps in to take control of the issue.

Reacting quickly to any complaints of bullying will help send the message throughout the company that this behaviour will not be tolerated. When it negatively affects the productivity of the affected worker, it has a knock-on effect on the overall productivity of a department and, therefore, company.

Making your firm’s leadership team aware of the effect of bullying on the company’s bottom line can encourage them to take it more seriously and take extra measures to ensure their respective departments are free of bullying.

Make the right hires

If your organisation prizes inclusivity and diversity among its workforce, hiring people who share that vision is important to further your strategy.

Businesses should prioritise values when it comes to recruitment. Being open about the company’s values will help candidates establish if theirs are in alignment. This helps them work out if they really want to be a part of your organisation and can help you save time in evaluating someone who would not fit in any way.

Rather than asking applicants about values, however, behaviour-based questions can give hiring managers an insight into how an interviewee handled a situation relevant to the issue of inclusivity.

These kinds of questions can provide an interviewer with more data to make an evaluation on, giving them more chance of bringing people on board who will fit into the company culture.


Posted by Jon Aspinell on 8th November 2017

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