Why Every Business Leader Should Care About Building a More Inclusive Work Environment

An organization that commits to building more inclusive work environment is doing their part in building a more just and equitable society.

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    Diversity and inclusion are much more than just buzzwords. In today’s highly globalized world, learning how to create an inclusive work environment is critical.

    It’s not enough to just focus on hiring diverse employees. There must also be a push from leaders at the top to create an inclusive workplace culture.

    An inclusive workplace is where everyone feels welcomed, respected, and valued—regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or cultural background.

    Building an inclusive work environment is not only a moral imperative—but it also serves as a strategic business advantage.

    Inclusive work environments foster a culture of mutual respect, understanding, and collaboration. Not only that, but it also encourages increased productivity, creativity, and innovation.

    Benefits of Building an Inclusive Work Environment

    Building an inclusive environment comes with many benefits for employees and an organization. Some include:

    Improved employee engagement and productivity

    When employees feel included and valued, they’re more likely to take personal ownership of their work. This motivates individuals to stay more engaged, and bring their best selves to work.

    Statistics show companies with high employee engagement are 21% more profitable, and 17% more profitable than companies with disengaged employees.

    An organization that betters the employee experience is also bolstering employee engagement. Prioritizing inclusivity has the potential to not only improve how employees feel—but also increases company profitability and competitiveness.

    Why Every Business Leader Should Care About Building a More Inclusive Work Environment

    Enhanced innovation and creativity

    An inclusive work environment encourages attracting and retaining a diverse pool of talent. When employees are from different walks of life, diversity of thought is naturally encouraged. Inclusive environments are where innovative ideas are born.

    When leaders learn how to create an inclusive environment, they’re opening up a world of new and fresh ideas. This also promotes better decision-making and problem-solving in the workplace as different types of viewpoints are considered.

    Increased employee retention and attraction

    It only makes sense that if employees feel included and valued, they are a lot less likely to leave a company. Surveys show that employees who feel engaged with a company’s purpose are 87% less likely to leave their jobs.

    An inclusive workplace culture encourages employee satisfaction, and increased employee satisfaction means less turnover. Not only that, if an organization builds a reputable culture—they’re a lot more likely to attract new and skilled talent.

    Role of Business Leaders in Creating a Culture of Inclusion and Diversity

    Business leaders play a key role in fostering diversity and inclusivity in an organization. They set the tone, create policies, and make sure they’re building an environment that values diversity and inclusion.

    Learning how to create an inclusive work environment should be at the top of their priority list. Here are some ways business leaders can get started creating a culture of inclusion and diversity:

    Create a strategic plan for diversity and inclusion

    Building a diversity and inclusion plan helps set specific goals for an organization. This gives a company specific measures to measure progress by. Strategic plans also help highlight where an organization can improve on their journey to an inclusive workplace.

    Model and encourage inclusive language and behavior

    The attitude and behaviors of leaders trickles down to the rest of the organization. It’s a leader’s job to lead by example. In all manners of communication, it’s essential for leaders to model and encourage inclusive behavior and language. This makes it clear that this kind of behavior is part of company culture and is expected of everyone in the organization.

    Leaders also have the power to support employee resource groups and diversity initiatives. When employees know leaders are participating in these groups, they may be more encouraged to take an active role.

    Provide diversity and inclusion training

    Leading and educating employees on how to create an inclusive environment is critical. It is a leader’s responsibility to provide employees with ample opportunities to learn how to build an inclusive environment.

    Hold leaders accountable

    As mentioned before, the attitude of leadership trickles down to an entire organization. It’s crucial that leaders are held accountable for creating an inclusive culture. Leaders must be regularly evaluated on their progress towards diversity and inclusion goals, and steps should be taken to address any shortcomings.

    Practical Tips and Strategies for Overcoming Challenges

    To overcome the challenges and obstacles in building an inclusive work environment, business leaders can implement several practical tips and strategies.

    Build a business case for diversity and inclusion

    This can help gain buy-in from employees and demonstrate the benefits of creating an inclusive work environment. Connecting business goals with diversity and inclusion can also help secure resources needed to achieve diversity and inclusivity goals.

    Foster open and honest communication

    Don’t underestimate the power of creating a safe space for employees to share their perspective and experiences. Creating this space helps break down unconscious biases and stereotypes.

    Engage and involve employees at all levels

    When all employees are involved in initiatives, it creates a sense of personal ownership and belonging. The more engaged employees are across levels, the more likely an inclusive culture will spread across an organization.

    Measure and track progress

    Holding the organization accountable goes hand in hand with measuring progress. Measuring and tracking progress towards inclusivity goals provides many insights. It can help organizations assess the effectiveness of diversity and inclusion efforts. It also helps identify areas for improvement.

    Continuously evaluate and improve diversity and inclusion

    The world is rapidly changing and becoming more interconnected. Knowing this, it’s only natural that diversity and inclusion principles will evolve over time. Organizations must commit to continually evolving and improving their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to create an inclusive work environment will always come with many benefits. An organization that commits to diversity and inclusion is doing their part in building a more just and equitable society. A commitment to making everyone feel seen, heard, and valued is building a brighter future.

    At Velosio, our team of experts are helping organizations learn how to create an inclusive work environment. If you’re ready to enhance collaboration and improve your company culture, our experts are here to help you.

     


    Liz Corey

    Chief People Officer

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