Diversity and inclusion have become topical issues in the workplace. From the boardroom to the staff behind the bar, fostering an inclusive space for staff is not only an ethical responsibility but a value that is rooted in our organisation’s mission. It makes a world of difference to staff morale and productivity when we work in an environment where all voices are respected, valued and heard.
But what does inclusivity really mean?
It’s not just about assembling a diverse workforce – it goes beyond country of origin, numbers, and quotas. Inclusivity is about cultivating an environment that genuinely embraces people and the differences that make them unique. It means being recognized for your skills, talents, and ideas, not in comparison to some stereotype or preconceived ideal. It means providing equal access to opportunities, mentorship, and leadership roles and not feeling marginalised or overlooked because of gender or race. It’s about being given a seat at the table and having your opinion genuinely considered in the decision-making process.
Inclusivity requires actively dismantling systemic barriers that hinder staff members from accessing opportunities and creating spaces where individuals can bring their whole selves to work without fear of judgement or exclusion.
An inclusive workspace recognizes that diversity breeds innovation and creativity. When people from different backgrounds and perspectives collaborate, ideas flourish and solutions are more varied. People bring a wide range of experience, insight and expertise to the workplace and they need to be encouraged to share.
What can we do to make our workplace inclusive?
Creating an inclusive work environment is not an HR activity, it takes both the leadership and the entire staff.
As a leader, you can prioritise inclusivity as a core value – embracing difference, challenging biases, and cultivating a work culture that values the voice of every member of the team. In a team with quiet and loud personalities, a good leader will ensure that both are embraced and valued equally, without showing favour to one or trying to change the other.
On an individual basis, you have an important role in actively educating yourself on different cultures, perspectives, and experiences. By challenging our own biases and engaging in open and respectful dialogue, we contribute to building a workplace where diversity is celebrated, and ideas are met with empathy and understanding. Language for example is a powerful tool to break down walls.
Being inclusive in the workplace is not a luxury; it is a necessity. We all need to play our part in creating and fostering a work environment and culture where unique experiences and contributions are valued and celebrated.
Reading is one way of learning and unlearning:
Have you also read our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion policy?