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8 Ways to Create an Inclusive Workplace

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Promoting an inclusive workplace has become a top priority for companies around the world. Companies that seek candidates from all walks of life must ensure that these talents feel welcomed, accepted and, most importantly, valued in their company culture.

We've seen DEI initiatives become increasingly important to many of our customers. Below are ways your company can cultivate more inclusive workplace practices for your employees.

Form a DEI council

One of the easiest - yet most effective - ways for companies to incorporate inclusive values into their daily operations is to form a diversity, equity and inclusion committee. By gathering DEI advocates from different departments within your company, you can ensure that multiple voices from diverse backgrounds are represented when formulating an appropriate DEI strategy. As a rule of thumb, do not select team members to participate in the committee, but instead allow employees to volunteer to participate in the DEI committee. A well-designed council includes people from different backgrounds, cultures and ethnic groups who come together to share ideas and understand the value of diversity.

Survey your employees

In addition to forming a DEI committee, companies should also seek input and feedback from their employees. Pulse surveys can be used to collect important information about what employees think they should do to implement diversity strategies more effectively. Whether your employees are providing ideas for actions or events that can be implemented or pointing out approaches that aren't working well, this information can be instrumental in helping you achieve greater success with your inclusive workplace practices.

Celebrate holidays from different cultures

It is no longer appropriate to celebrate only Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. In addition to public holidays, your company should also recognize celebrations from other cultures. Remember to note important holidays or festivals such as Hannukah (Jewish), Diwali (Hindu), Bodhi Day (Buddhist), Kwanzaa (African), Ramadan (Muslim) and Chinese New Year. By recognizing these holy days or times of worship, you will help minority employees feel more like valued members of your "family."

Create a mentor system

Do you want to foster a stronger sense of community among your employees? Connect your employees with people who look and act like them. By intentionally setting up a mentoring system for your employees, you can help new employees acclimate to their new work environment and fit into their new culture. A mentor who supports and guides a new employee can mean the difference between an employee leaving your company after a few months or staying with the company long-term.

Set up an anonymous tip line or email account

Some employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions in a public forum, while others would probably prefer to share their ideas anonymously. Instead of pressuring these employees to express their opinions in a meeting or in front of an audience, consider establishing other, nameless ways to collect feedback. Setting up a tip line or email account is a more convenient way to get insightful insights from your employees.

Spend time in your community

Companies in the United States have found success with volunteer time off (VTO) policies. Similar to personal time off (PTO), employees can get paid to support projects and initiatives in the community they are involved with. You can even set up volunteer days where your company supports a specific charity or nonprofit. The more time you spend in your community, the more you can learn about the cultures around you. Plus, this is a valuable team-building exercise that can strengthen your team's cohesion and bring you closer together.

Include leaders and influencers

The success of inclusive workplace practices relies heavily on leadership involvement and support. Without the buy-in of managers and executives within your company, the plan has far less chance of success. However, when influencers at the executive level support and promote a diversity program, it is more likely to resonate with the rest of the company. Make sure your company clearly communicates the value of DEI initiatives to senior leadership to increase the overall effectiveness of the plan.

Get input from DEI pessimists

As you implement a formalized DEI strategy within your organization, there will undoubtedly be naysayers who are skeptical of these efforts. Instead of despising or overlooking these employees, be open to hearing their opinions. By getting a sense of their concerns, you can more effectively inform your organization from top to bottom, remove potential roadblocks, and increase the overall success of your DEI programs. The more compelling statistics and reliable reports you can provide to support the importance and benefits of diversity in the workplace, the greater the chances that your various initiatives will receive full support.

Embracing diversity and inclusion is crucial for fostering a positive work environment. IceHrm's tools can support your DEI initiatives and promote a culture of belonging.

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