Making your workplace more inclusive benefits everyone. While the idea of inclusivity seems like a no brainer, coming up with tangible improvements and changes can be a challenge. The Kiln team got together to share our tips for creating an inclusive workplace environment and positive company culture.
At its best, an inclusive workplace is one where all employees and team members feel welcomed, valued, and heard. Inclusivity relies on a shared understanding amongst coworkers that every individual’s experiences are unique and accepted. An inclusive workplace fosters camaraderie, a sense of belonging, and greater authenticity among employees.
What are the benefits of having an inclusive workplace?
An inclusive workplace has measurable effects on employees’ mental health, physical wellness, productivity, and satisfaction, as well as employee retention. When individuals feel that their work is valued and personally meaningful, they feel strongly about contributing to the company’s overall success. In addition to reporting higher levels of well-being, employees are more likely to recommend their company as a great place to work and stay at their job up to 3x longer.
How to create and encourage an inclusive workplace:
If achieving a sense of belonging at your company is your goal, you’ll have to focus on diversity and inclusion first. While your company’s executives are best positioned to create policy changes with regards to hiring, recruitment, and the employee-pipeline, not all changes can be top-down. Diversity is not a metric, and too often, it is treated like one. Top-down efforts will increase compliance, but you’ll also need the support and commitment of your team.
Encourage everyone on your team to have a voice of their own. As a leader, your efforts to genuinely listen to new ideas, opinions, and feedback will be noticed. Take a few minutes to think back to your last few team meetings. Who was invited? Who spoke, and how often? Did you create conditions for meaningful participation from each team member?
Schedule seminars and training sessions for your team. Having professional opinions and dedicated time to discussing inclusivity in your workplace demonstrates a fundamental commitment to improvement. Carving out formal time to establish best practices is key.
Treat workplace inclusivity as a persistent, ongoing effort that is complementary to training sessions. Behavioral change takes time, so your team may benefit from tracking micro-behaviors. Create a list of daily, measurable practices that your team can incorporate. These could include listening instead of speaking up, avoiding assumptions, challenging assumptions, or speaking from personal experience instead of generalizing. Make sure you reframe “inclusivity” as a list of things TO-DO instead of a list of things NOT-TO-DO.
Strive to understand and meet each person’s access needs. An access need is defined as something a person needs to communicate, participate, or learn to their fullest potential. In the new era of hybrid work, access needs may include flexible scheduling, strong internet connectivity, and child care availability. In the workplace, access needs might include gender neutral restrooms, parenting spaces, and accessible seating. Have regular access check-ins with your employees.
At Kiln, we’re committed to celebrating the unique identities, backgrounds, personalities, and needs of our members. When it comes to fostering company culture, meeting access needs, and scheduling training sessions for your company, the Kiln team has your back. Consider utilizing Kiln amenities and flex-office communities to create an inclusive workplace for your company. Book a tour today!