By Lyndsey Hall
Most business owners and managers are well aware of the value of having a diverse workforce. Different views, different experiences and different ways of thinking among team members can help businesses to come up with new and innovative ideas. However, having a diverse team of people working in your business doesn’t work very well if the firm doesn’t have an inclusive culture. To make the most of your team you need to welcome them to the team and encourage them to get involved.
Put simply, diversity is the mix of people in your business. Inclusion is how you leverage and utilise that mix of people. An inclusive business gives everyone the opportunity to contribute.
Inclusivity is for everyone.
While managers and business leaders have ultimate responsibility for setting the firm’s culture, employees can do their part in making it a more inclusive environment. For example, your team members could make an effort to interact with other employees outside of their own team. This could help them to gain new insights from other parts of the business and encourages them to become interconnectors between different teams / departments.
Mix up your monthly meetings.
Another good way to encourage inclusion is to involve other people in your meetings – you could invite a guest from a different department to join your monthly team meetings. They could contribute their views and this would also give them the opportunity to get to know your team. To change things up even more, you could rotate the person who leads the meeting each month. This means that at least one different person is speaking at each meeting.
Leave preconceptions at the door.
The most inclusive businesses leave their assumptions at the door. It is easy to make assumptions about other colleagues. Making a conscious effort to leave your biases at the door will encourage others to do the same.
Trust and accountability are key.
Inclusive businesses are about empowering others. Encourage your team members and colleagues to grow by letting them solve problems, come up with new ideas and develop new skills. Encourage them to be accountable. This shows your colleagues that you have confidence in them and in their ability to perform their job well.