Building an Inclusive Workplace

By Cleo Quiblat

What is an inclusive workplace? According to Siyana Sokolova, Program Manager of Mitt Liv AB (svb), “An inclusive workplace is that working environment that values the individual and group differences within its work force. It enables a company to embrace the diversity of backgrounds and perspectives of the employees, which in turn increases their talent, innovation, creativity and contributions.”

In an article entitled How to Create an Inclusive Workplace in 5 Simple Steps by Tyrone Holmes, Ed.D, CPT, Professional Speaker and Speech Coach Building Powerful CONNECTIONS® in Diverse Organizations, he enumerated the following:

1. Create opportunities for culturally different individuals to interact with each other on a continuous basis.

This can be achieved by facilitating cross-cultural interaction such as team building activities and group projects, and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to interact with each other on a regular basis.

2. Help employees develop the skills they need to effectively communicate, resolve conflict and solve problems in culturally diverse environments.

Employees should be assisted in learning competencies in communicating across cultural differences, resolving diversity-based conflict, providing coaching and mentoring for a diverse range of employees, and contributing to the creation of culturally inclusive environments. Such learning programs should be continuous, where employees will have the chance to apply new learnings that would have a positive impact on the performance of both the individual and the organization. Creating these learning opportunities would show management’s commitment in developing an inclusive workplace.

3. Develop, implement and enforce anti-harassment and discrimination policies.

Once policies on anti-harassment and discrimination have been developed, these should be implemented through training programs across all levels in the organization, citing specific steps to mitigate problematic behavior to include skills-based training for managers and supervisors, in order to effectively challenge inappropriate comments and actions. Employees should also be guided on what they should do in cases where they feel offended or become victims of harassment or discrimination. It is also necessary to create a specific process in handling such cases.

4. Actively work to recruit a high quality, culturally diverse workforce.

Many organizations benefit through improved performance and being able to serve a diverse customer base by recruiting high quality and culturally diverse candidates.

5. Ensure that organizational policies and practices support a diverse workforce.

Organizations should create policies and practices that reward those who have effectively managed diversity. Holidays and celebrations of various cultural groups should also be recognized through visual displays and practices.

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