Inclusivity in the Workplace

February 7, 2019

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Photo from APTN | Spirit of Winnipeg finalist for the Workplace and Wellness category
An inclusive workplace means that all individuals in an organization are valued. Inclusive workplaces make diverse employees feel valued, welcome and included in the organization instead of excluded.

“It is everyone’s duty to promote an inclusive workplace culture,” says Lisa Dabrowski, Executive Director for Reaching E-Quality Employment Services. “Inclusive means that everybody enjoys the same opportunities to participate in all aspects of life.”

Organizations should strive to create a workplace where everyone has equal access to opportunities, and where information is equally accessible to all employees.

Here are some tips for inclusivity in the workplace:

Look at your team’s gender diversity 
Is it equal? Who is in the managerial positions? And, are both genders getting paid equally and fairly based on the amount they contribute? Incorporating a more gender diverse team can improve cooperation and collaboration between co-workers and reduces the perception of discrimination and inequality.

Do not gender stereotype roles
When gender stereotypes get attached to a job, it biases the authority that people attribute to the person who happens to work in that position. For example, if you work in an office, and are assigning an administerial task such as photocopying, realize that all genders are equally capable of completing the task.

Use inclusive language
Be mindful of the language you use, make sure it’s as inclusive as possible. For example, using the familiar greeting “hey guys” to address a team excludes women, and using the common phrase “hi girls” to address a team of women, diminishes their knowledge. Although these phrases are commonly used and are typically light-hearted in nature, they’re often misconstrued.

Invest in employee growth training
Training programs focused on employee growth can help underrepresented groups move up in your organization. Giving your employees a sense of empowerment will help them feel included, improve employee culture and increase productivity.

Accommodate people with disabilities
Be open to working with employees to create and implement an accommodation plan and revisit that plan to ensure that it is useful. Working together with the employee to implement the plan is the key to the plan’s success. It’s essential, however, that you respect your employees and their legal rights to privacy and inclusion by having a workplace policy that promotes open conversation and disclosure of disabilities.