An inclusive workplace is a huge challenge in our global economy. Companies still struggle with having a diverse and respectful workforce, but the effort involved is well worth it. Inclusivity doesn’t only increase employee engagement – it also helps the bottom line. So how do you know if your organization is lacking in the inclusivity department? Here are 5 signs:
1. Most of your executives look alike.
The makeup of your organization’s top leadership sets the tone. If you look around and all you see are white males, you may have an inclusivity problem in your workplace. That doesn’t mean you have to get rid of anyone, but be mindful of the opportunities you’re giving to everyone. If you want to create a culture of inclusivity you have to start at the top.
2. You notice inappropriate jokes.
While it’s great for employees to feel comfortable joking with one another, inappropriate jokes can be a sign that your workplace isn’t inclusive. If any particular group is being targeted by a joke, even if it isn’t directed at a specific employee, there’s a problem that needs to be addressed. Ultimately, employees should feel comfortable at work, but if their religion, ethnicity, or sexuality is being mocked openly, they will never feel a sense of belonging.
3. You don’t have a safe space for employees to address concerns.
If employees don’t have the ability to anonymously voice their concerns regarding inclusivity, discrimination, or even bullying, issues can slip through the cracks and remain unaddressed. Organizations need a way for people to voice their concerns without fear of retribution. Even if you have a very small organization, there needs to be a safe space for your employees outside of their immediate supervisors.
4. You don’t use inclusive language.
Like it or not, things are rapidly changing in our culture and it is important to keep up. That means changing the language of your organization to be more inclusive, which can mean saying “parents” instead of “moms and dads” or offering “holiday leave” instead of “Christmas vacation.” It’s also important to consider the different languages your employees speak. If you have a workforce that predominantly speaks a second language, consider adding that language to your organization’s signage or messaging.
5. You don’t offer flexible hours or paid leave.
While it isn’t possible to offer flexible hours for every position, the option is important to many employees. This can apply to employees with children, disabilities, or chronic illnesses who require more flexibility. Flexible hours and paid leave are important benefits for an inclusive workplace, so if your organization doesn’t offer either, you might want to make some adjustments.
If you notice any of these signs in your organization, it’s time to implement a formal inclusion policy if you don’t already have one. And, of course, the first step is to address any red flags you’ve seen recently with your workers. An inclusive workplace is good for business and your employees will appreciate all your efforts toward improving it.