What does it really mean to have an inclusive workplace? Although diversity plays a large role in creating an inclusive workplace, inclusion is the key. When a company practices inclusion, they create a culture where employees feel involved, respected, and appreciated.
A Remote, Inclusive Team
Inclusion matters now more than ever in this ever-changing remote world. Inclusion also looks different today as compared to before many companies made the switch to working remotely.
McKinsey research found that 39% of survey respondents turned down or decided not to pursue a job because of a perceived lack of inclusion at an organization. This is a staggering number as the war for talent increases. In order for organizations to continue to succeed in a virtual world, they must pay attention to how they can improve inclusivity in their workforce.
So how can you build an inclusive workforce in a remote environment?
9 Things to Consider When Building an Inclusive Team in a Remote World:
As Business News Daily says, “Diversity and inclusion training has the potential to positively address biases and prejudice within organizations.”
Be proactive with your organization’s education and start at the leadership level. Education should occur all year long and not just at orientation.
If you’re struggling to create a useful program to build your team’s diversity and inclusion education, check out these 8 best diversity training programs of 2020.
Consider using a predictive assessment to evaluate biases before hiring leaders and employees.
According to The Kaleidoscope Group, “[A Diversity and Inclusion] Assessment is a critical step to long-term success, as it provides a data-driven understanding of your current state around diversity and inclusion to guide strategic decisions around resourcing and action planning.”
- Value Different Perspectives
Allow for open discussion without judgement on zoom or conference calls. Remember, countless studies show that diverse teams who value different perspectives regularly outperform teams without diversity.
For example, Medium writes that one study showed “diverse teams outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time when it came to making business decisions.”
When you value different perspectives, you are improving your team’s diversity to increase performance.
- Team Connection
Make time for the team to interact and connect on non-work topics. Try an online game or coffee chat.
Building and maintaining connections is hard enough, and in a remote world, that struggle is even more difficult. Cultivate your environment to encourage connection and inclusivity will follow.
An organization without communication, especially on vital topics that bring companies together, will fall. Communicating with your team about your goals and plans for inclusion is vital.
Think about what Diversity Best Practices states in their book, Diversity Primer:
“Communications is one of the most critical steps in developing, implementing, and managing an effective diversity and inclusion strategy … If managers and supervisors who are charged with everyday implementation and execution of D&I efforts do not understand what is expected of them, they can disengage. If employees do not know what the long-term objectives are, they too can easily get frustrated and feel that D&I is not a priority.”
- Check-in With Your Team
Ask about challenges or distractions your team is facing. Remember to show empathy and compassion for each individual—2020 was a difficult year for everyone.
- Safe Space
Allow employees to voice their concerns in a safe, confidential space. One study found that unhappy workers were 10% less productive. Further, unhappy employees cost American businesses over $300 billion each year.
With all that 2020 brought to the world, offering your employees a safe space will be pivotal in ensuring their comfort and ease.
Not sure how to make this happen? Look at the Forbes article: 15 Ways Your Organization Can Create A Safe Space In A Divisive World
- Support & Celebration
Encourage your team to support one another on their goals and celebrate successes. This not only builds employee morale but also provides opportunities for individuals to feel connected and recognized.
Remember what Malcolm Forbes said: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”
Dedication, hard work, and success deserve to be recognized and celebrated.
- Create a Council
Realize that the best outcomes result from multiple individuals working together toward a common goal. Consider creating a council that is primarily in charge of ensuring inclusivity within your organization.
Diversity and Inclusion councils help with all of the following, and sometimes much more:
- creating strategic accountability for results
- providing governance and oversight on diversity efforts
- promoting company-wide communication on progress
- Successfully integrating the diversity and inclusion programs with the company’s mission, operations, strategies, and business objectives
If your organization has been slow to launch a DE&I initiative, this SHRM DE&I Checklist is a great place to start.
A Worldwide Future
Technology now allows organizations from across the entire globe to connect, and this is providing countless opportunities for individuals to expand their worldviews and cultural understandings.
Now more than ever before is time to pay attention to how your organization practices inclusivity. A remote world provides unique challenges, especially when it comes to building connections; however, these challenges can be the events that propel your organization into greater success.