A diverse workplace is a healthy workplace. It is everyone’s responsibility — and to everyone’s benefit — to help develop a workplace that is welcoming and inclusive. Here are ways everyone can help move your company forward.
Understand conscious inclusion
“Conscious inclusion” is thinking and acting with the conscious intent of practising inclusion, so that all persons feel invited in. It is a workplace where people with different backgrounds feel seen, heard and valued. While leaders are responsible for implementing ways to support inclusive leadership, everyone in the organisation can educate themselves with the principles, discussions and benefits of conscious inclusion.
In a survey done by ManpowerGroup that explored gender, generational and geographical differences in attitudes towards women in leadership, it was found that one of the practical steps to encourage diversity was to promote a culture of conscious inclusion. The report covers how generic programmes don’t improve behaviours but may breed complacency. As such, companies need to go beyond programmes and change the culture. That accountability sits with leadership, but other roles can come in to help to facilitate, support and train employees towards that change. While leaders are responsible for implementing ways to support inclusive leadership, everyone in the organisation can educate themselves with the principles, discussions and benefits of conscious inclusion.
Be a coach and a mentor
One way of supporting others is to provide coaching and mentoring. As you’re making your way up the corporate ladder, remember to look around to see who else you can assist. Take steps to reach out to colleagues from diverse backgrounds and educate others on what it means to be inclusive.
It is important to identify which topics require mentoring support and which require coaching. Mentors typically have specific expertise in the area in which the mentee requires support. If you have an area where you can help others, you can help the organisation thrive and become more inclusive.
Listen and learn from your mistakes
You may have made mistakes along the way and been called out for showing an act of exclusion towards a colleague. It’s important that you respond to it with compassion, concern and humility. Make the other person feel heard, apologise for your actions and don’t make things about you.
Plan for the future
Over time, all organisations will become more diverse. By 2050, diversity will be the norm. Talent — in all its diversity — is the most potent competitive differentiator. If you want your organisation to be competitive 20 years from now, start thinking today about how you can contribute to its inclusive culture through mentorship programmes, hiring beyond traditional talent pools and widening your network. If you are thinking about how you can contribute to an inclusive workplace, you have already taken an important first step. From there, start taking action and working with others to make the goal a reality. When an organisation is able to innovate with a diversity of perspectives, everyone wins.
This article is contributed by Manpower Singapore.