You may feel like your company offers an inclusive workplace where employees feel valued. But would your employees agree? Not necessarily.
According to a recent McKinsey & Company survey, around 55% of people say they’re included by their employer. On closer inspection, though, not all respondents feel they get equal opportunities and respect while on the job.
For instance, though 70% of senior executives would call their organization inclusive, only 44% of their counterparts in more junior roles agree.
In other words, you may have done well with your inclusivity measures so far. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make some tweaks. Consider implementing a few of the following strategies and measures. They’ll help you get closer to your inclusive workspace goals.
1. Put an end to disability exclusion.
Even if you think you’re following all hiring laws and expectations, you may be trodding the path of excluding job candidates who are disabled.
A BBC podcast covering this topic shows how easily corporations can fall into a habit of assuming that applicants with disabilities can’t possibly perform specific duties.
In the podcast, Caroline Casey talks of being denied positions because of her sight impairment. Casey used her experiences to found The Valuable 500, a global business collective made up of corporate members who pledged to support disability inclusion.
During the podcast, Hank Prybylski, Global Vice Chair of Transformation at EY, part of The Valuable 500, explains that his company’s commitment to eliminating disability exclusion makes perfect sense.
“It really goes back to our base,” says Prybylski. “One of our co-founders, Arthur Young himself…was deaf and had low vision. We have over 300,000 employees…we have to be a leader in this area if we’re going to continue to grow. This isn’t a ‘nice to have.’ It’s right for our people, it’s good for our business, and it’s even better for the communities we serve.”
2. Close those unacceptable gender pay gaps.
Despite a quarter-century of chipping away at the gender pay gap, The New York Times reporting shows how little it has changed.
So far, the needle has moved just eight cents for full-time workers. That means the gap has shrunk roughly one-third of a cent per year for nearly two generations.
Not only is this shocking, but it’s also inconceivable. Many organizations genuinely aren’t aware that they penalize their female workers, lending credence to allegations of a “motherhood penalty.”
To be sure, some sectors offer salaries that are relatively balanced between men and women. Housekeeping, for example, provides about the same wage whether an employee is a man or woman. However, the closer someone climbs to the C-suite, the wider the pay gulf becomes.
Though experts predict that this problem will correct itself within the next four decades, it shouldn’t take that long. If enough progressive companies like yours make changes, this issue could be put into the history books sooner rather than later.
3. Lift and celebrate all voices.
Is having a seat at the table enough to be included in the conversation? Not necessarily.
Being invited to key meetings is one thing. Being allowed to have a full voice and the listening ears of everyone is another.
Think about the way you treat the colleagues around you. For example, do you listen to everyone’s opinion in the same way? Or do you give more credence to some people’s thoughts than others?
You may even want to consider how much you allow certain employees to talk during regular get-togethers.
Suppose you’re not urging everyone to participate fully. In that case, you’ll never get the advantages of a truly diverse, inclusive team like a two-times higher likelihood that you’ll meet your ambitious profit goals.
4. Remove bias from recruiting processes.
Even if you think you’re not recruiting for job openings in a biased way, you might be. And AI software could harm rather than help.
Thomson Reuters research indicates that even the most streamlined, advanced technology can end up being biased against candidates representative of a specific group.
Consequently, if bias can appear in a tech tool, it can occur anywhere, including during your interviewing and selection processes.
Though it can be tough to identify and eliminate hiring bias, it’s necessary if you want an inclusive workplace.
You may even want to work with a consultant specializing in this subject area. There’s nothing wrong with getting help, after all.
Plus, you can streamline your recruitment workflows to ensure that you always pick an exceptional candidate based on objective reasons.
5. Take regular “pulse of inclusivity” surveys.
One of the simplest ways to gauge how inclusive your company is would be to ask your employees for feedback. This can be done by sending out surveys once or twice a year.
The information you collect, especially on topics like diversity and inclusion, can inform your upcoming strategies, such as training and development opportunities to bring to personnel. Just be careful when surveying so you avoid common mistakes.
An excellent example of a surveying misstep is accepting data but never providing feedback or making changes. No one appreciates being asked for an opinion, only to have the opinion seemingly dismissed.
Similarly, give workers enough time to finish their surveys. Don’t rush everyone to complete surveys within an ill-advised timeframe. You want the information you collect to be accurate and representative, not hurried and filled with holes.
6. Turn yourself into an inclusive leader.
It’s very hard to get your team excited about inclusivity if you don’t practice what you preach.
Read books on the topic, look for articles, and attend DE&I workshops at in-person and virtual conferences. The more you learn about inclusive best practices, the easier it will be for you to feel more comfortable becoming an inclusive leader.
Not sure if you’re making headway? You may feel like you’re wavering or missing the mark from time to time. Nobody’s perfect, though.
Your job is to be a role model for those around you. Over time, staff will notice and echo changes you have consciously built into your attitudes and behavior.
An inclusive workplace isn’t something that doesn’t just happen. Instead, inclusion is a never-ending journey that requires a commitment from the top down. So start today by cultivating the inclusive workplace you want, not the one you assume you have.
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