You found our guide that includes inclusive workplaces examples and tips.
Inclusive workplaces are spaces that provide each team member with equal access to opportunities and professional resources regardless of race, age, physical abilities, or gender. Understanding this practice is essential because companies can create a respectful and safe workplace. Inclusion practices can also help companies to attract and retain top talent and inspire productivity.
This article covers:
- definition of inclusive workplaces
- examples of inclusive behaviors in the workplace
- strategies and tips for creating inclusive workplaces
- inclusion examples
Let’s get started!
Definition of inclusive workplaces
Inclusive workplaces are some of the most important elements that employers and managers can embrace. We can define an inclusive workplace as an environment that welcomes and includes all workers in the company regardless of any existing divisions. For instance, companies should provide equal opportunities to all stakeholders regardless of physical capabilities, socio-economic status, and sexual orientation. Companies should factor in other demographics, including cultural background, ethnicity, and age.
Inclusive company culture defines and separates itself from any unconscious bias toward team members. As a result, all workers should face no obstacles in contributing to an organization’s growth.
A diverse team is a great starting point for creating an inclusive workplace. However, there is a lot more that companies can undertake to address the issue of workplace inclusion, especially from the team leaders. This guide will provide examples of inclusive behaviors for all workers and review practical tips that entities can use to ensure workplace inclusion.
Examples of inclusive behaviors in the workplace
Inclusive behavior is the creation of a work atmosphere that accepts, respects, and values each team member’s unique traits. By creating an inclusive workplace, all team members can bring their authentic selves to work. As a result, workers will foster deeper connections and gain motivation to provide better business results. Companies can measure inclusion in the workplace through the level of connection, community, and belonging for all team members.
Here are examples of inclusive behaviors in the workplace
1. Respect and appreciate all team member’s backgrounds and cultural values
While appreciating different backgrounds may seem complicated, companies can embrace simple cultural acknowledgment practices. For instance, you could have a company-wide potluck. All team members will bring an extraordinary meal from their culture and explain the significance to all workers. Another excellent example of appreciating different cultures is recognizing important calendar days for each team member. If you have a large group, then you could opt for a simple email and teach the importance of global cultural celebrations among your workforce. You could also let workers take the day off to celebrate important cultural practices.
2. Organize team building activities
If you have a large workforce, then it might be difficult for your office to foster deeper connections outside work. Organizing regular team building activities is a clever way to ensure that workers get to interact and know each other better. You could also include short inclusion training sessions where workers learn the importance of acceptance and respect for other team members.
Check out this list of fun team building exercises.
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3. Prioritize the participation of all workers in company-wide celebrations
An inclusive workplace caters to the needs of all team members. For instance, if holding a company-wide barbeque session, then it would be wise to cater to your employees’ dietary restrictions. Similarly, be sure to hold celebrations in spaces that are accessible to all team members with disabilities.
Here is a list of team celebration ideas.
4. Foster a culture with authentic greetings
Encouraging all workers to start the day with a genuine smile and greeting is one of the simplest ways to inspire workplace inclusion. You could foster a culture of authentic greetings through simple acknowledgments like ‘hello’ or ‘good morning.’ Even a friendly, culturally appropriate signal in the hallways goes a long way in opening doors for further interactions. Authentic greetings will create a sense of recognition and help build rapport among team members.
5. Equal access to resources
Offering equal access to company resources is a fantastic example of inclusive behaviors in the workplace. For instance, do not limit access to senior management to some workers. Instead, ensure that all employees have equal support from team leaders and other company resources. Another example of offering equal access to resources is meeting the rights of disabled workers. For instance, companies should ensure that disabled members have convenient facilities.
6. Be open to different viewpoints from team members
A great example of creating an inclusive work environment is having an atmosphere where workers feel comfortable sharing their viewpoints. Companies can encourage workers to share their opinions by creating a safe space that allows employees to express their curiosities without judgment. Given company policies, you may not accommodate each worker’s viewpoints. However, giving a listening ear will inspire the need to create an inclusive workspace for all team members.
Check out this list of communication activities.
7. Have open and honest conversations about unconscious bias
Unconscious bias is the preference of a particular group of individuals based on subconscious awareness or past experiences. With unconscious bias being a major problem in the workplace, you could encourage conversations that demystify unpremeditated habits. You can also encourage workers to talk about experiences that may affect their viewpoints on life issues or hold regular unconscious bias training. Examples of unconscious biases include affinity, name, ageism, and authority bias.
Here is a great guide to unconscious bias from Vanderbilt University.
8. Listen to all voices during meetings
If you want to promote inclusion at work, then encourage workers to speak up during meetings. However, to get all workers’ participation, you must listen to all voices. For instance, you could have a company culture where all team members participate in reviewing company policies. Allowing all workers to participate will give employers vital insights to improve workplace inclusion policies.
9. Provide safe work environments for all team members
Providing safe spaces is a perfect example of inclusive behaviors at work. These spaces will give the workers unsolicited opinions and judgment from other employees.
Examples of inclusive and safe work environments:
- Provide gender-neutral bathrooms
- Cater to worker’s religious needs by having prayer rooms
- Provide nursing rooms for new parents
- Provide handicapped-accessible bathrooms
Safe work environments will enhance employees’ confidence with their self-defined identities. These safe spaces will increase employee satisfaction and improve business results.
10. Celebrate your team’s diversity
Diversity workplace celebrations are fantastic ways companies can bring teams together and promote a culture of inclusion. Beyond celebrating workers’ birthdays, promotions, and workplace anniversaries, companies should celebrate cultural occasions.
Some holidays that will promote an inclusive workplace include:
- Pride Month
- Black History Month
- Indigenous Peoples Day
- National Disability Employment Awareness Month
- Women’s History Month
Celebrating workplace diversity allows employees to learn and appreciate other team members. These occasions also give a reason for team members to gather and bond as a group.
Tip: Do not only celebrate mainstream holidays. Rather, learn the traditions of each team player or ask for suggestions and celebrate collectively.
11. Fair and equitable pay structures
Regardless of your company’s inclusion policy, having a biased pay structure is a major demotivator for workers. A great step towards workplace inclusivity is creating and adhering to fair compensation programs. Be sure to take note of any pay gaps and work towards uncovering the root issues. You could also encourage workers to share concerns about unfair pay structures. You can also commit to posting compensation or, at the very least, posting starting pay ranges for roles. Fair wage structures will create strong camaraderie among workers.
12. Show support for all team members
Whether your employee achieves small or huge wins, rallying other workers to celebrate the team member is a clever way to foster inclusion in the workplace. You can also show support by encouraging your workforce to help an employee through difficult moments like losing a loved one. Be sure also to celebrate childbirth or marriages in creative ways. Creating a culture where workers support each other builds a more collaborative and positive work environment.
13. Encourage the use of inclusive language
Inclusive language involves recognizing that workers can use word choice to exclude or include other team members. Inclusive language is a brilliant way to unite teams and show respect and acceptance for all workers. However, you must recognize that using inclusive language may take time, commitment, and practice. Hence, we would encourage companies to start by taking small steps.
Here are some strategies that will encourage the use of inclusive language:
- Actively encourage your workforce to adopt inclusive names. For instance, workers could use the name ‘partner or spouse’ instead of ‘wife or husband’ or ‘people with disabilities’ instead of ‘disabled people.’
- Encourage your workers to put preferred pronouns in the email signatures to welcome non-binary and genderqueer workers.
- Given the uncertainty of employees’ preferences regarding inclusive language, encourage workers to take feedback from their peers.
- Teach workers how to react to the use of non-inclusive language. For instance, rather than snapping off or shaming another worker, an employee could try to understand why the other team member uses a specific term. Workers can then correct each other respectfully before reporting the use of non-inclusive language to the team leader.
Inclusive workplace language will help workers with a history of marginalization feel included.
Strategies and tips for creating inclusive workplaces
An inclusive workplace is a sure way to show respect for each employee and increase employee engagement. However, creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace culture requires efforts from all team members.
Here are key strategies and tips for creating inclusive workplaces.
1. Encourage good leadership
Creating an inclusive workplace requires the input of all stakeholders, starting with senior management. You can encourage company leaders to portray a good example in practicing and adhering to inclusive organizational values. In turn, junior workers will walk into the steps of the leaders and demonstrate inclusive behavior across the organization.
Read about examples of good leaders.
2. Encourage contributions from a diverse workforce
Hiring a diverse workforce is a significant step in fostering an inclusive workplace. However, companies must go further and ensure that the diverse group has a voice in essential company matters. For example, seeking out diverse opinions in your company will strengthen marginalized voices and foster inclusion. Also, ensure that team members treat all voices respectfully and are mindful of individuals dominating the space.
3. Set up clear inclusion policy and guidelines
If you want your workforce to take inclusion seriously, then you need to set up clear policies and guidelines regarding the topic. You could write out the procedures in clear language and distribute them to all workers. Adding these policies and guidelines to your company’s core values is a great way to ensure the success of inclusion strategies. Be sure to set clear goals for all workers and encourage participant feedback.
4. Nurture an empathetic workplace culture
Empathy, the ability to understand other workers’ emotions and feelings, is an integral part of an inclusive workforce. By nurturing workplace empathy, all team members will feel that their emotions matter, even in instances where other workers may not fully understand each other’s differences. For example, you could start by encouraging senior leaders to have an open mindset that makes them more approachable. Another idea is fostering a work environment where all team members share feelings and mistakes and show how they overcome daily work and life obstacles.
Here are ways to show empathy at work.
5. Provide inclusion training for your workforce
Unconscious bias is one of the major causes of avoidable strife in the workplace. As a company, you could invest in company-wide inclusion training sessions. Inclusion training will help team members see how their biases can impact other workers. Managers will also be more conscious about putting aside their preferences and interests and focus on fairness to all workers. While these training sessions may be an added cost, your company will benefit from the increased employee engagement.
6. Regular research to understand your team’s needs
Inclusion in the workplace can be a difficult topic for some workers. As such, companies can easily understand the needs of the team members through research. To encourage every team member’s participation, you could opt for anonymous surveys.
Here are some concerns that companies can get vital insights through research:
- Mental health awareness
- Company leadership and development
- Accommodations for disability
- Access to equal professional development opportunities
The data garnered can be pivotal in ensuring that the company’s and employee’s issues align and prevent peer-to-peer strife. Also, be open to critical feedback and take the responses as a learning guide.
Here is a list of employee engagement survey questions.
7. Invest in employee resource groups
Employee resource groups are worker-led and voluntary groups that champion an inclusive and diverse workplace. Investing in your workers is one of the best strategies to promote an inclusive workplace. Employee resource groups will promote team members’ efforts in fighting for workers’ rights in the executive offices. If you have employee resource groups in your company, then you could strengthen the team’s efforts through diversity mentorship programs. These mentorship opportunities will ensure that each diverse worker has a mentor to support their growth at work.
Check out this guide to employee resource groups.
8. Provide diverse experience opportunities for workers
Allowing workers to have diverse experiences is a great way to teach employees the importance of workplace inclusion. For instance, if your company has different locations, then you could encourage workers to visit other office sites. The team will experience different work cultures and even new languages. Interaction with diverse and new team members will encourage workers to actively partake in inclusion activities at work. Another way workers can get a first-hand diversity experience is by assigning employees mentors from other communities. Direct interaction through mentorship will show workers the importance of looking at others beyond their differences.
9. Introduce workers to inclusion policies during onboarding
The earlier you introduce your team to your company’s inclusion policies, the easier it will be for individuals to adopt the practices. You could start by ensuring that every new hire knows that your organization is a safe space for all employees regardless of differences. Updating new workers on the current inclusion policies will prevent peer-to-peer friction. The new employees will also know what measures to take if faced with discriminatory incidences. The last step that companies can take when introducing new workers is to take surveys on how to improve inclusion policies. New workers could offer vital insights to enhance a positive work culture for all employees.
Discover more onboarding tips.
10. Implement inclusion standards
One of the most critical tips when fostering an inclusive workplace is the consistent implementation and review of inclusion standards. You could start by educating your senior leaders about the importance of inclusion in the workplace. Then, take in suggestions from other stakeholders, including junior employees, ways to implement inclusion standards in the company. Implementing your team’s recommendations under company policy will encourage employee engagement in the company. Workers will also understand their role in championing a better workplace.
As workspaces embrace diversity, companies must look into ways to enhance inclusion in the entity. Companies could start by actively championing inclusion in the workplace to meet the demands of an increasingly diverse workforce. Also, all team members must show a shift in mindsets and behaviors. We would encourage entities to get workers who exhibit traits such as cultural intelligence, commitment, curiosity, and courage. Inclusive behaviors in the workplace are strategies that entities can use to maximize every worker’s potential and maintain a happy workforce.