Proven management practices for an inclusive workplace
Inclusion. The word has such a special resonance. Most of us feel instantly sure of its meaning. However, inclusion is an expansive, multi-faceted concept. It's commonly defined as "the practice or policy of providing equal access to opportunities and resources for people who might otherwise be excluded or marginalised."
Despite the innate sense of understanding what inclusion means and the relatively simple definition provided by dictionaries, there is no quick fix or one policy that creates a truly inclusive workplace. Creating an environment in which employees feel free to express themselves and able to form meaningful relationships requires the implementation of multiple carefully considered systems that collectively minimise bias.
However, all inclusive workplaces have one thing in common - management dedicated to upholding organisational systems and policies, true leaders who treat employees impartially and are not afraid to defend and support their team members. Below we will explore a few proven management practices and corresponding organisational policies that create the most inclusive workplaces.
Individual safeguards and reporting systems
A cornerstone of a truly inclusive workplace is effective protective mechanisms. These are policies that prohibit or deter biased, disrespectful and inappropriate behaviour. A critical component of the success of such policies is providing a safe and discreet system for employees to report incidents of unacceptable behaviour.
Interpersonal relationships, self-expression and identity
Breaking down traditional barriers and creating opportunities for employees to connect and develop meaningful personal relationships with colleagues, regardless of organisational seniority, is vital to an atmosphere of equality. Self-expression walks hand in hand with this organisational practice. Employees must feel they are able to express themselves in meaningful ways and a safe space should be created for this, one free of fear and the anxiety of being discriminated against.
Equal access to resources and merit-based advancement
All employees should enjoy equal access to the opportunities and resources they need to be successful. Despite actively encouraging personal relationships in the workplace, personnel decisions should be made on the grounds of merit and merit alone.
Team-building exercises and work-life balance
Inclusive workplaces are shaped by management. Leaders set the example and act as role models for organisational values. Displaying compassion and support for the personal lives of employees is essential to fostering an atmosphere of inclusion and equality. Along with demonstrating respect for the demands of employees' personal lives, team-building exercises should be utilised to cultivate trust and collaboration among teams and to strengthen bonds and create a collective identity.
Unbiased hiring and inclusive leadership training
As experts in the field of human resources, we at Birn+Partners have developed well-defined processes that minimise bias in talent acquisition. We also specialise in leadership training that equips management with the decision-making skills to shape workplace perceptions and create a consistent sense of inclusion.