The Importance of Inclusivity In Business
Creating diversity in the workplace is extremely important in this day and age. There are many companies that have failed at doing this, and those companies have experienced the consequences. Companies like Uber have seen firsthand the toll it takes on a company when diversity is not a priority.
Luckily, there are plenty of companies that have done a great job of harboring diversity through the inclusion of employees. Companies like Lyft and Netflix have used their peers’ downfalls to their benefit by creating a culture of diversity and publishing diversity reports to prove their successes.
There are many ways that you can make your company culture more diverse and inclusive. Luckily, many of these tips and tricks are extremely easy and relatively painless. The important factor is that you allow this type of inclusivity to trickle from the top down. Be the change you want to see in your company with some of the suggestions below!
1. Create Team Building Opportunities
Whenever employees hear the term “team building” they often groan. Who wants to be put in a forced and awkward situation with their coworkers? Yet team building doesn’t necessarily need to be feared. These types of activities may seem painful and awkward at first, but employees often find that they’re tons of fun by the end of the activity. Team building activities can help employees work together to find solutions to problems they wouldn’t normally find. This type of activity can also help employees discover each other’s strengths in a group setting.
2. Open Up Your Office
Many corporations have started opting for “open concept” offices. They’ve been removing doors from offices and tearing down cubicles to keep employees “focused.” Yet you don’t need to banish all cubicles from the room to create an inclusive atmosphere. You simply need to create more open spaces that encourage conversation. The more comfortable your employees feel, the more productive and happy they are.
Create play and relaxation areas by placing bean bags, recliners and couches in the breakroom. Encourage work time play by adding a foosball or ping pong table to the office. The more opportunities your employees have for chit chat during work, the more they'll bond and work as a team.
3. Incorporate Playtime into Work Time
Try to get employees thinking about new solutions to challenges by encouraging them to play games and complete puzzles together. Quick office games such as wooden puzzles can force your employees to start thinking in creative ways that they normally wouldn’t think of. Such strategy games to play in the office can knock your employees out of their routine and funk. Just make sure that they play them with people they wouldn’t normally socialize with. Watching their teammates create solutions to problems will give your employees a new sense of appreciation for each other.
4. Switch Up Cubicles
Again, you don’t need to banish cubicles from the office (nor should you). You just need to discourage cliques and groups from forming. Employees tend to gravitate and chat with those in their immediate areas. Switching up the cubicle layout can encourage employees to form friendships and relationships with others in the office. The change of scenery can also stimulate creativity and encourage productivity. You should still encourage employees to work together in the groups they love; however, keep trying to push them out of their comfort zones.
5. Encourage Socialization
Many employers make the mistake of discouraging socialization. They are under the assumption that too much socialization leads to a lack of productivity. Yet the opposite is actually true. Socialization can result in the exchange of ideas and thoughts. It can encourage people who would not normally talk to each other to get brainstorming.
6. Employ Myers Briggs Solutions
Just because someone conducts themselves differently than others, doesn’t mean that person doesn’t add value to a group. Many people are under the assumption that someone is a bad leader if he or she is soft-spoken or doesn’t speak much. Yet nothing could be further from the truth. Myers Briggs is a great way to celebrate people for who they are. It’s a personality test that highlights each person’s strengths. It also shows that weaknesses don’t make people weak.
Instead of trying to make yourself perfect, accept your employees for who they are.
Get your employees to think of each other outside the box. Try to get them to think about each other’s supposed “weaknesses” as strengths to encourage them to better appreciate each other.
7. Try Empathy Training
Your employees will appreciate their peers more if they can empathize with them. Empathy training can help employees understand someone else’s point of view.
Start by asking each employee to tell a story of something that happened that day. Then ask them to explain how it felt. Ask the employee’s partner to take detailed notes. Then, have the partner retell the story as if it happened to him or her. This type of activity can force people to understand each other simply by saying the words another person has used to describe a feeling.
When it comes to inclusion, the main idea is to try to keep everyone as involved in your company culture as possible. The more involvement you see, the more likely that others are being included!
About the Author: Riya is an inspired writer writing in several areas of expertise. With spending her years working marketing communication, Riya is delighted to work with aspiring small business owners. Connect with Riya on Twitter, @sanderriya.