Even in today’s socially distant world, a company or organization’s culture becomes crucial to the everyday life and grind of employees and even management. It is what constitutes the ambiance and type of environment every team member will operate and thrive in.
If anyone wants their organization to flourish, nurturing a wholesome and positive company culture is key. Making sure everyone is included or is playing a key role in the company is something that you will want to look into. Nothing boosts employee morale better than a general sense of community.
What does being an ‘inclusive’ company entail?
Inclusive company culture means that there are active efforts to foster a sense of community for all, regardless of position or status within the company. It differs from diversity since you can have a team of people with different backgrounds, but it does not automatically imply that these people share a sense of belongingness.
This shared sense of belongingness, community, or collective will have a significant impact on company productivity and performance. A study conducted by Harvard Business Review even found that teams that adopt a more inclusive style of work are able to solve problems faster.
Now that we know what it means to be a company with an inclusive culture and even its benefits, let’s dive into a couple of ways through which you can start doing it for your company or team.
4 ways you can foster a more inclusive company culture
1. Prioritize education for the purpose of unlearning deep-seated prejudices
Without education, people who come from different cultures will definitely bring along with them unconscious biases they did not know were biased in the first place. Examples of these prejudices are racism, regionalism, ageism, gender bias, among others.
The unlearning of these deep-seated prejudices does not end at merely hiring team members belonging to diverse demographics as representation; education becomes a critical aspect of this step.
2. Open up spaces for employees’ free expression and encourage free expression
It will be very difficult to know what aspects of the organization to improve or focus on if the insights are lacking. There is no better way to investigate the company’s positive and negative aspects than asking team members themselves what they think.
It is essential to make available all possible channels of communication and coordination within your organization. Creating an inclusive company culture means that listening and understanding varied perspectives at all levels becomes a key part of management.
Here are a couple of questions you can start within your investigation:
- What are things our company can improve on when it comes to taking care of its employees as we work towards our company goals?
- What are the things we should mitigate or avoid doing?
- How happy are you with your overall experience here in the company?
3. Welcome individual differences and encourage constructive criticism among employees
Next to creating a safe space for employees to voice out their opinions and express themselves, it is important to encourage them to share their lives, backgrounds, quirks, and all in the workplace. It is important to recognize these differences and establish that no antagonism must take place, but criticism of differences or clashes must be resolved through constructive and well-meaning criticism.
Some companies have explored creating a specific space for this purpose, for employees to share more about the things that matter to them personally. This will give other employees insight into each other’s lives, make them more understanding about where others are coming from when clashes occur, and thereby foster a more compassionate environment.
4. Plan activities and events particular to fostering inclusivity
A growing team means that there are more and more faces to familiarize with and get to know. It’s important to make sure the company concentrates on employee retention and is able to calibrate its base and level each other off.
This can take a lot of different forms, such as recognizing and accommodating teammates’ traditions or dietary restrictions or considerations. It becomes important to plan company functions in accordance with concrete concerns and considerations of its employees.