It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differencesAudre Lorde
Are you a business owner or team leader that wants to ensure your work environment is diverse and inclusive? Welcome, you’re in the right place!
We know the importance of diversity & inclusion, but if you’re part of a majority group it can be difficult to completely empathize with minority team members. How can you relate to their experiences if you’ve never had to undergo them?
Being diverse and inclusive goes beyond hiring team members of different ethnicities, ages, sexual orientations, and genders. You also have to make sure that these team members feel heard and accepted.
To do that, you need to step outside of your comfort zone and forget what you know about conventional workplace practices.
You might not be able to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but you certainly can open your mind and listen fiercely.
Create diversity & inclusion foundations with these 4 tips
Diversity is the spice of life.
Studies continue to show that diverse teams bring higher performance and profit levels for companies. They also create an increased sense of belonging, higher levels of trust, enhanced employee engagement, and more access to top talent.
But just having a diverse team isn’t enough. Great leaders need to ensure that every team member also feels safe and included, so they can feel confident in contributing their new ideas.
Use these tips to ensure that your team is both diverse and inclusive.
Be open to discussing sensitive issues, no matter how challenging they may be
Diversity brings a lot of fresh ideas and perspectives which are beneficial to companies, but you may also need to smooth over cultural or generational differences that may cause sensitivities. Be open-minded, respectful, and clear away any previous biases you may have when listening to different viewpoints and resolving conflicts.
Encourage different viewpoints
Employees will feel valued and respected when they are encouraged to share their opinions and ideas. You can even encourage healthy, respectful debates – sharing conflicting views will ultimately lead to growth. All feedback should be kind and constructive.
Put business aside
Get to know each other as individuals – and expose yourself to new cultures – by creating time to share non-work related stories and traditions. We often make time for western celebrations in the workplace, while neglecting festivities from other cultures. Encourage all of your employees to share their traditions, pop culture news, and holidays with the team so that they feel included and respected.
Instill common goals
Differences should be heard and respected, but ensure your team are all clear on a common goal and their individual purposes. Get to know each member of your team so that you can leverage their unique skills and strengths. Remember to regularly review processes and decisions for fairness and consistency.
Diversity and inclusion is about identifying the strengths of individual team members so that you can create a safe, positive, and productive work environment. Diversity gives everyone a seat at the table, but inclusion gives them a voice.