What is inclusion in the workplace? Let’s open up with that question. Many people think it has a shared meaning with diversity, but that is far from the truth. Although used in tandem with diversity, inclusion is a concept of its own.
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.” With this definition, inclusion is less about race and more about understanding and respect.
As a business owner or future business owner, making sure voices and opinions are heard and carefully considered is vital. It helps you create an inclusive work environment where everyone feels respected.
Q: How can I begin to measure how much inclusion is already in my workplace?
A: Talk to your employees. Gather feedback from all of the people who work for you and see what they like, what they feel cheated from, how they relate with the company’s choices over the years, etc. This step is important. You can’t have inclusion without having the opinions of all employees. Once everyone’s opinion is gathered, it is easier to find out how to implement the right change.
Q: How can I make people feel safe enough to voice their opinions of lack of inclusivity?
A: Create a work environment where your employees feel cared about. For example, have you ever considered having a specific place for mothers to breastfeed or feed their kids? Another option is to create some Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). These groups help employees talk to each other, find common ground and talk about common interests. LGBTQ+ groups, groups for new parents, groups for women in sales, groups for certain religions, etc. While making sure these groups don’t feel exclusive, if enough of them are created the joy and safeness that trickles out of them will soon help form an even strong brand identity from within.
Diversity vs. Inclusion
At the beginning we mentioned diversity. Although it is not similar to inclusion it does complement it well. Let’s define diversity. According to Merriam-Webster, diversity is the presence of differences within a given setting. In the workplace that can mean differences in race, ethnicity, gender, etc.
Coming together and celebrating employee differences is also one of the most important ways to show employees that you respect their backgrounds and traditions. It also encourages them to share those in the workplace. Here at SA Collective, we have a diverse staff. However, it took some serious planning to make sure we incorporated inclusivity well. Our patience resulted in employee engagement, a sense of belonging, and a strong team. If you’re out of ideas or are not too sure what to start with, get in touch with us today, and we can help you grow your business internally