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4 Examples of Inclusion in the Workplace

Inclusion in the workplace is an essential goal for companies seeking to create a positive work environment and promote employee engagement and innovation. Inclusive practices can take many forms, and companies that prioritize inclusion often see benefits such as increased diversity, better retention rates, and more creative problem-solving. In this article, we'll explore some examples of workplace-inclusive practices and highlight real-world business outcomes.

What is Workplace Inclusion?

Workplace inclusion is creating a work environment where all employees feel valued and supported, regardless of their background or identity. Inclusive workplaces are those where diversity is celebrated, and where employees feel comfortable being their authentic selves. Inclusive workplaces are also those where employees are given equal opportunities for growth and advancement.

Benefits of Inclusion

Inclusive workplaces have been shown to have a positive impact on employee engagement and retention, as well as on the overall performance of the organization. When employees feel included and valued, they are more likely to be productive, creative, and committed to their work. Inclusive workplaces also tend to have more diverse perspectives and ideas, which can lead to better problem-solving and decision-making.

Examples of Inclusive Practices

There are many different ways that companies can practice inclusion in the workplace. Some examples include:

Employee Resource Groups

These are groups of employees who share a common identity or interest, and who come together to support each other and advocate for their needs within the organization. Examples of employee resource groups include groups for women, LGBTQ employees, and employees with disabilities.

Mentoring Programs 

These programs pair employees with more experienced colleagues who can offer guidance and support as they navigate their careers. Mentoring programs can help employees feel supported and valued, and can also help them develop new skills and perspectives.

Diverse Hiring

Hiring practices that prioritize diversity and inclusion can help ensure that all employees feel welcome and valued from the moment they join the organization. This can include practices such as blind resume screening, diversity recruiting events, and diversity and inclusion training for hiring managers.

Flexible Work Arrangements 

Flexible work arrangements such as remote work and flexible hours can help employees balance their work and personal lives, and can also help create a more inclusive workplace culture.

The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety

Many companies have successfully implemented inclusive practices in their workplaces. Creating inclusive environments is a team-specific challenge, as teams have specific microcultures that affect their ability to interact as their authentic selves. Dr. Timothy R. Clark’s framework, The 4 Stages of Psychological Safety, highlights that inclusion is the foundation of any psychologically safe workplace. Once team members feel valued and accepted as themselves, they’re more likely to give discretionary effort, try new things, innovate, and grow with their organization. Here are four ways you can foster a culture of inclusion and psychological safety on your teams:

Be diverse in your interactions.

It’s easy to become habitual in your daily interactions with your team. Who do you interact with infrequently? Take a step outside of your department and meet someone new. Not only will that increase team interaction, but you might find a thing or two to implement within your own department. 

Reduce social status barriers.

Be conscious of differences in social status or hierarchy that exist in any organization. What’s currently preventing your team from interacting meaningfully with their superiors or with other departments? Take steps to reduce those barriers through humility and genuine interest in others.

Give people space to talk.

Don't immediately respond with your own story or perspective. Keep your colleagues talking and encourage them to share more. The more validation they feel when sharing something personal, the more likely they will be to engage again in the future. This can create a more meaningful relationship for both of you.

Take someone up on an invitation.

If you get an invite to connect with your team outside of work, accept! You don't have to accept every invitation, but saying no every time can result in the invitations drying up. Invitations require some risk on the part of the person inviting. Saying yes and thanking the person for the invitation can help strengthen your relationship.

Overcoming Challenges

While creating an inclusive workplace is a worthy goal, it can also be challenging. One common obstacle is unconscious bias, which can lead to hiring and promotion decisions that are not truly inclusive. To overcome this challenge, companies can provide training and education on diversity and inclusion, and can also implement blind resume screening and other hiring practices that help reduce bias.

Another challenge is creating a culture of inclusion in the workplace. This can be difficult if negative team dynamics or a lack of leadership support are present. To address this, companies can prioritize communication and feedback, encourage active listening, and promote an open and inclusive culture from the top down.

In conclusion, creating an inclusive workplace is an important goal for companies seeking to promote employee engagement and innovation and create psychological safety on their teams. By implementing inclusive practices such as employee resource groups, mentoring programs, diverse hiring, and flexible work arrangements, companies can create a positive work environment where all employees feel valued and supported.

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