Is your workplace actually inclusive? Here are 5 ways to take action

Is your workplace actually inclusive? Here are 5 ways to take action

Creating an inclusive workplace is essential for helping everyone feel valued and part of a team.

Leading a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) campaign requires less extensiveness than you might think.

Sometimes, it’s the small, daily actions that truly transform your work environment, and there are several impactful ways to make a difference.

1. Use inclusive language and communication practices

Using inclusive language is a must for making everyone feel welcomed and respected.

This considers the words and phrases you choose to use in the workplace. You can avoid assumptions and stereotypes by being conscious about how you say things in the office. For example, instead of using gender-specific terms like “he” or “she” when addressing a mixed group, opt for gender-neutral terms like “they” or “everyone”.

Additionally, being mindful of cultural sensitivities, holidays and encouraging everyone to share their preferred pronouns are steps toward inclusivity. These practices inform employees that their identities and experiences are appreciated and acknowledged.

2. Hire an inclusion specialist

Bringing in an inclusion specialist can greatly uplift your workplace’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity.

Here’s an example: Intuitive, a technology leader in minimally invasive care and robotic-assisted surgery, made a game-changing decision by hiring inclusion and diversity specialist Katie Juran to spearhead its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Her approach led it to partner with a renowned organisation that promotes diversity and inclusion in the business world. This strategic partnership involved participating in the Disability Equality Index, which evaluated the company’s practices, policies and overall employee experience.

The results were nothing short of impressive. The company was celebrated as a top workplace for disability inclusion, with a high score of 90 out of 100 for succeeding in areas like ensuring accessibility and implementing fair employment practices.

Bringing in outside help can bring a different perspective and make a transformative impact on creating a more inclusive workplace.

3. Establish a culture of openness and psychological safety

The average employee spends one-third of their lifetime at work. At some point in their career, they may experience the inability to express their true thoughts or share ideas due to fear of judgement or reprisal for speaking up.

Company leaders seeking to establish inclusivity can prevent these situations by creating a space where everyone feels safe to share their ideas and concerns. A key aspect of this duty is starting with yourself — be vulnerable, share your experiences and encourage others to do the same.

Active listening also shows genuine interest and empathy toward what others are expressing. Regularly remind your team that all perspectives are valuable and mistakes are part of learning and growth.

Setting these standards creates an atmosphere where creativity and innovation can flourish and everyone feels empowered to put their best foot forward.

4. Lead by example

Take charge by lighting the way for inclusivity in every corner of your workplace.

You can easily achieve this by making it a habit to celebrate the diverse voices around you, showing that everyone matters. This could be through team meetings where you make space for quieter voices so everyone feels invited to the table.

Setting an example involves crafting an environment where respect, empathy and understanding are the norms. As a woman who leads with these values, you can inspire others to weave inclusivity into your workplace culture and establish those expectations.

5. Empower and support Employee Resource Groups

Another way to make employees feel valued and accepted in the workplace is through employee resource groups (ERGs). ERGs empower employees and nurture their growth.

Strong Tower Consulting, a US management consulting firm, followed this approach and has been recognised by the Best Companies Group in 2024.

The organisation’s workforce comprises more than 75 per cent women, and it focused on uplifting its female workers by establishing programs like the Women’s Leadership and Development Group and the Returning Caregivers Program. These initiatives offer mentorship to support women where they can excel professionally and keep moving forward in their careers.

ERGs provide a platform for underrepresented groups to voice their concerns and share experiences. Start investing in them by offering organised events and professional development. Integrating these initiatives into your company’s culture enriches your workplace with diverse perspectives and better solutions.

Build a workplace culture people look forward to celebrating

Inclusivity is one of the key drivers that enriches your place of business and your team members’ lives. Start building it today by being the example of kindness and respect you wish to see around you.

Don’t wait for tomorrow to make your workplace a welcoming space for diversity. After all, every step toward inclusivity is a leap toward opening your team to its full potential.

Mia Barnes - Writer - She Defined

Mia Barnes

This article was written by Mia Barnes.

Mia is a freelance writer and researcher who specialises in women’s health and lifestyle. Mia is also the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine.

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