The rise in awareness for both diversity and inclusivity are accelerating. Policies have been revised, re-written and disseminated across organisations on a global scale, more so, since the Black Lives Matter movement and other significant events.
As business leaders, it’s our responsibility to ensure our employees are safe, respected and receive fair treatment no matter what.
So, what do employees want from their employers?
It comes down to TRUST. Without trust, policy and procedure is simply lip-service: entirely insignificant and meaningless. Trust is a complex emotion and one that cannot easily be measured or fixed once broken. Therefore, businesses must think carefully about the type of workplace culture they want their employees to experience.
It’s a very uncertain time now with the pandemic, a recession and Brexit and people are looking for a sense of belonging and safety.
The workplace is a crucial part of an individual’s sense of place. We spend most of our day at work, whether that’s remotely or in the workplace. Our employees are looking to their bosses for reassurance and guidance.
Creating a culture which embraces everyone, no matter who they are or the life choices they make should be high on your agenda.
Let’s begin with a couple of definitions:
Diversity refers to the traits and characteristics that make each of us unique, of a different kind, form, character etc.
Inclusivity refers to the fact or policy of not excluding members or participants on the grounds of gender, race, class, sexuality, disability, etc.
Leading by Example.
The prevention and protection against workplace discrimination are a legal requirement for all businesses. Yet it is still commonplace in the form of subtle innuendos and misunderstandings despite the best efforts of everyone in the organisation.
Writing new policies and procedures may be a tick box exercise towards compliance for some organisations. However, leaders that recognise the value in doing it with purpose, integrity and meaning understand that it can help them to create a robust and high performing workforce.
You can begin developing a culture of trust by evaluating the following areas:
- Recruitment and onboarding processes
- Writing transparent and fair workplace policies
- Developing clear channels of communication
- Gain buy-in from all employees, suppliers and customers.
- Embrace change and difference, who knows where it may lead?
Creating a workplace environment and culture, which embraces behaviours and social norms will help to make people feel welcome and accepted. Yet, the underlying feelings amongst your employees are much more profound.
Engaging with your staff, involving them in the process and really taking the time to understand the issues and obstacles involved, will enable you to create real and lasting change. The advantages are numerous.
Benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce.
Creating awareness is the key to developing trust and buy-in. You can start to generate greater understanding and learn more about a positive workforce culture when you understand the benefits in more depth.
Primary benefits include:
- Increased productivity
- Higher levels of performance
- Boost in morale and motivation
- Your brand reputation will increase
- Hiring is improved as you’re an attractive prospect for top talent
- Increased creativity and opportunities for workers
- Reduced employee turnover.
The reality is that the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages and while managing compliance can also help your business to gain a competitive edge.
Paving the Way.
Companies that take the lead on issues like diversity and inclusivity pave the way for others to follow. Their initiative creates a culture within that encourages not only feeling of self-worth and belonging but increased productivity, performance and innovation.
If you’d like to learn more about evaluating your company culture and re-writing policy and procedures to create a welcoming and fairer workplace, contact us for a chat.
Call us directly on 01279 874676.