Inclusivity and diversity are
cornerstones for creating a safe and
supportive working environment.
Inclusivity and diversity are issues that have been brought to the fore by social movements such as #MeToo and #BLM – era-defining, cataclysmic events which have undeniably shaped our collective identity. It is no longer enough to talk about inclusivity and diversity in the workplace. Your brand must live it, inside and out.
To nurture inclusivity and diversity in the workplace means to sustain an environment that fosters fairness and equality for all. This is regardless of age, gender, sexuality, education, social or ethnic background. It means to value each individual and respect one another, regardless of role or seniority.
Like never before, inclusivity and diversity policies are being put under the microscope. Brands are being surveyed and publically reprimanded for their shortcomings. Toxic workplaces – the result of poorly managed company cultures – are brandished for the world to see.
True leadership, the kind that instils feelings of respect and equity are needed with great urgency. For many leaders, it is a daunting concept. And, it is important to note that large-scale change cannot be made overnight.
A crucial starting block for all key decision-makers is to step back and review your company culture. Be aware of the red flags to watch out for. Understand the effects of toxic work cultures, and actively work towards positive change.
When it comes to avoiding toxicity in the workplace and nurturing an inclusive and diverse environment, there are a few key takeaways to consider.
Embrace diversity: Diverse teams make strong teams. It is not enough to hire underrepresented groups for the sake of hitting diversity targets. The importance is that once hired, all team members should be nurtured so they are respectfully retained as part of your workforce.
Mix it up: As a leader, actively work to mix your teams up. Don’t let cliques form. Ensure everyone has equal opportunities to get involved. As much as linear hierarchy may be in place, the workplace should aim to be an open playing field.
Everyone’s voice should be heard: If you are hiring people on the pretence that they are the best person for their job, they should be respected regardless of their seniority.
Invest in your people: One aspect of embracing diversity is celebrating people as individuals. Take time to get to know your team, where they’re from, their passions and preferences.
Lead with communication: Toxicity often spawns from deep-rooted communication problems that are left unaddressed over time. As a leader, it is your job to ensure that internal communication is inclusive and fair to all.
Red flags to watch out for
When your company culture is lacking inclusivity or diversity, there are usually a few telltale signs that leaders should watch out for. A high turnover of staff is a clear warning sign. For whatever reason, employees are not satisfied with their job and/or working environment.
Reputation is another key indicator of how your business operates. Unlike visual identity or messaging, this is something you cannot control. It is built over time, shaped by those who have interacted closely with your business. If your brand has a reputation for being discriminative and lacking in inclusivity, it probably is.
Effects of toxic work culture
The effects of toxic work culture are limitless. The impacts of a negative and non-inclusive working environment can influence an employee’s self-esteem, overall job satisfaction, happiness, and productivity. More serious consequences of toxic work culture, such as poor mental health, are also possible.
Employees who feel marginalised, unfairly treated or disrespected are more likely to keep one foot out the door. If the cycle remains unbroken, the long-term result is a company culture with little consideration for employee wellbeing and inclusivity, high turnover and a poor reputation. None of the aforementioned are drivers for creative or commercial success.
It is important, as a leader, to look at what systems can be put in place to rectify and nurture a safer and more diverse workplace. If your business is struggling to maintain a positive and inclusive company culture or would like to discuss ways to elevate your working environment, contact us today at firstname.lastname@example.org.