Diversity is a blessing because we differ from each other in so many interesting ways. This wide spectrum makes inclusivity an inherently multi-dimensional exercise. Besides readily apparent physical and cultural differences, factors like personal disposition and family obligations can contribute to a sense of alienation in employees.
Here are three simple inclusion considerations that managers often fail to make:
- Scheduling – A lengthy meeting may mean a later dinner for you but for others, it could involve babysitting fees or a kid waiting alone at school for the ride home. If you cannot avoid the timing, at least inform everyone well in advance.
- Location – Whether you have participants travelling from across the state or across the campus, a new location can be difficult to navigate. Ensure that everyone has ample time and accurate directions.
- Personality – Actively ask for contributions from less extroverted staff. Don’t put anyone on the spot, though – inform them in advance that you may/will be asking them to speak.
Inclusivity is more than giving everyone a chair and voice at the table. It is achieved when each person feels a sense of belonging. The most genuine way to do this is by soliciting their opinion and acknowledging its value.
- Hear vs. listen – Give your full attention to the person speaking and guide all participants to do the same. Put your electronic devices away and look at the speaker.
- Amplify – Many good ideas suffer from poor delivery. Look out for voices that consistently get drowned out or cut off and give them an equal opportunity to convey the value of their message.
- Sequence – If one group, department, remote office or section is routinely the last to speak (“Because that’s how it’s always been done!”), they consistently have to contend with a weary audience. Rotate to even the playing field.
- Time delay in virtual conferences – The awkwardness of local and remote participants speaking over each other because of a time delay discourages participation. Acknowledge the issue and make allowances. Follow up with the IT team to minimize or eliminate the problem.
What’s in it for Me?
Inclusive teams and inclusive workspaces are harmonious hubs of creativity and innovation. They foster camaraderie between employees and a sense of loyalty to the organization. Your pursuit of inclusion in all its forms shows your employees, colleagues, and managers that you are invested in meaningful change where everybody wins.
Contact DeSantis Trusted Advisors today if you have any questions about creating a sustainable plan to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.