Diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords – they have a real impact on business growth. Studies have repeatedly shown that organizations that prioritize inclusivity see higher revenue growth, greater innovation, and improved employee retention.
So, how can you make sure you’re creating an inclusive environment within your team or organization?
Here are 5 steps to create a culture of inclusivity within your team:
1) Build a diverse team
This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that diversity isn’t just about race and gender. It’s about incorporating people from a variety of backgrounds who will have diverse thoughts, ideas, habits, and perspectives to share.
Having a team of individuals who all think alike is a great way to kill innovation and hinder your business growth. So it’s important to prioritize diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices. But it doesn’t just stop there – make sure you get to know your team members and how they work best.
Use tools like StrengthsFinder, DISC Assessment, and the Enneagram to better understand how your team members operate, so you can create a culture that is inclusive of these different learning and working styles.
2) Encourage participation
As humans, we tend to lean on others who share perspectives or thought processes similar to our own. However, this prevents us from hearing diverse perspectives and new ideas that foster innovative solutions.
Having a diverse team isn’t very beneficial if your team members don’t speak up and share their perspectives. During meetings, be sure to tap each person and ask for their thoughts and ideas. When staffing projects, think about who could provide a unique perspective and ask if they’d be interested in joining the group.
3) Be accessible
As a leader, it’s important that you make yourself accessible to your team members. It can be intimidating when someone is an “only” on a team to speak up and share their thoughts.
Having an open door policy and making yourself accessible (and approachable) to your team members is a great way to foster inclusivity. It sends the message that it’s safe for them to be their full selves, knowing they will be accepted on the team.
4) Be curious
As leaders, there’s a perception that we’re “supposed” to know it all, and that admitting we don’t know it all is a sign of weakness. This could not be further from the truth.
If you act like you know everything, people won’t feel like you’re open to hearing their ideas. Maintaining a posture of curiosity creates an opportunity for your team members to share more openly about themselves, their ideas, their concerns, etc.
5) Create a psychologically safe environment
A psychologically safe environment says “It is safe to take risks here. It is safe to bring your full self to work. It is safe to ask questions and push back.”
You say this with norms, social cues, and even written policies that you continually reinforce. When your team members feel safe to show up as their full selves and share their thoughts, you have achieved psychological safety.
For tips on how to create a psychologically safe environment, check out our recent blog post here.
Remember, there’s no point in building a diverse team if your team members don’t feel comfortable to share their diverse perspectives. Hopefully this blog post has given you some guidance on how to create a more inclusive environment for your team.
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