Now more than ever, employees are looking for workplaces that make them feel accepted, welcome, and safe. Diversity and inclusion are important values many businesses are getting more serious about, and employees are specifically trying to work at the businesses putting these values at the forefront. Creating an inclusive work environment doesn’t happen overnight. Rather, it is something you must be intentional and actionable about. When it feels like the work is done, there’s always more to be doing. If an inclusive workplace culture is your goal, keep reading to gain insight on how to make it a reality. Looking into online therapy services might be beneficial if you aren't experiencing inclusion in the workplace.
Inclusivity can be thought of as a way of life, a mindset, and a process. Inclusivity, therefore, is about leveling the playing field for everyone and ensuring all people feel valued.
Inclusion is important because it creates a sense of belonging and fuels acceptance. Humans are unique individuals. We all have different needs, interests, personalities, and identities. While everyone should ideally be accepted exactly as they are, this isn’t always the case. People can be put at a disadvantage because of their differences. When people are scared of differences, whether they be racial, ethnic, socioeconomic, or otherwise, they might exclude others from that place of fear. Inclusion, on the other hand, allows tolerance to grow so that people can be accepting of each other despite how different they might be from one another. When people are included, they are empowered to be themselves, which benefits everyone.
Each and every day, there are an endless number of opportunities to include or exclude someone. Creating a society that is more diverse and accepting often begins in the home and then stretches out from there. However, inclusion applies in the workplace, at school, in public, and anywhere else you can think of. Of course, inclusivity will look different in each of these settings, but the core values will remain the same.
Most people want to show up to work and feel comfortable enough to be themselves. Although a workplace can choose to strip people of their individuality sometimes (such as by requiring a uniform or natural hair colors), in general, there are still plenty of ways to show employees that they are accepted as they are. The characteristics of a diverse and inclusive workplace will vary, meaning there is a lot of freedom when deciding what your workplace will look and feel like. Some common characteristics of an inclusive workplace can include:
There are many more examples of inclusion in the workplace but looking for these can be a great place to start. Belonging to an inclusive workplace can make you feel like you’re on top of the world. It is something every employer should strive to have, as well as each employee. Building a diverse and inclusive work environment does take time, effort, and learning, but it’s always worth the positive outcomes you’re sure to see.
Having an inclusive workplace is important, but it’s not something that everyone gets the chance to experience. Many people are employed in non-inclusive workplaces but don’t realize it. They might just recognize that something is off or not how it should be. How can you tell which category your workplace falls into? You can look for non-inclusive workplace practices. Examples of exclusion in the workplace could include:
If you think that you’re a part of a non-inclusive workplace, you may feel disheartened. However, before you try to move to a new job, it could be helpful to voice your concerns to your employer and see how they respond. Sometimes employers aren’t aware of the culture they’ve created or have never been challenged before. Those that genuinely care for their employees will take these concerns to heart and try to make the environment more inclusive for everyone.
Non-inclusive workplaces can have negative physical and mental health effects, not to mention the cost to the employer. Below are some examples of these effects:
Some non-inclusive workplaces can be hard to spot until you take a closer look. The surest way to know that an employer values inclusion is to look at their values and mission statement and the people they employ. If there isn’t anything about diversity or inclusion, or all their employees seem all too similar to one another, it may be a sign of a non-inclusive workplace. Luckily, you have the opportunity to search for an employer that appreciates diversity and seeks to make everyone feel included.
Many employers are already committed to creating a workplace that is accepting of all types of people, while others are still in the process.
Many different disparities have existed in the mental health care system for decades. They are the result of factors like poverty, genetics, poor legislation, environmental conditions, poor quality of care, societal stigmas, and more. For example, those belonging to minority groups are less likely to reach out for help. In certain racial and ethnic groups, there is a bigger stigma surrounding mental health, which makes many people shy away from trying to get support. When they do finally look for someone to talk to, they often don’t receive quality care. Providers may downplay their concerns or not take them seriously. Often, minorities have mental health disorders that go undiagnosed and untreated.
There is also a lack of representation in the mental health care field, meaning it’s much harder for minorities to find a mental health professional they can connect with and confide in. Around 86% of psychologists are white, 5% are Asian, and 4% are Black, which doesn’t match the racial makeup of the country.
Further, socioeconomic factors make it harder for certain groups to receive care at all. Treatment can be expensive, and not everyone can afford even the most affordable options. When free resources do exist, they may exist in a limited quantity or they may not be enough for the individual’s needs.
Employers can help turn things around by ensuring that their workplace promotes acceptance, inclusion, and belonging. Not only will these steps improve the mental health of employees, but they will make the organization more productive and profitable as well. When inclusion is prioritized, everyone benefits from it.
Inclusivity goes beyond actions; it also extends to the words you choose to use. Believe it or not, how you speak to yourself and others matters. Language is a very powerful tool that can be used for harm or for good. Failure to use inclusive language can cause someone to feel rejected or excluded, even if that wasn’t the intention. However, being sensitive to the language you use can promote inclusion, respect, acceptance, and belonging. These are things to strive for. Below is a quick guide to using inclusive language at the workplace and in your everyday life:
The most important thing to remember when it comes to inclusive language is to make sure your intentions are good. You should also recognize that even the most well-intentioned people can cause harm unknowingly. Know that no one is perfect, and you probably won’t use inclusive language correctly all of the time. When you make a mistake or someone voices that they felt excluded by something you said, apologize and take it as a learning lesson. Be sure to forgive yourself, too. With time, using language that empowers everyone should become easier and easier.
Are you wondering how to be more inclusive at work? Supporting people of all classes, genders, races, backgrounds, and identities is a possibility. It takes education, learning, and patience, but is certainly achievable. Here are some examples of inclusive practices in the workplace that you may consider implementing:
Inclusion at work is just as important as everywhere else. It should be something to strive for no matter where you are or who you’re with. The more people feel included and accepted, the better world we can create.
Whether you’re at work or home, learning healthy ways to cope with life’s challenges is important. If you can’t see a therapist or don’t feel it’s the right time to see one, there are plenty of things you can do yourself to help. Below are some different techniques you can try to regulate your emotions and reduce stress.
Whether you’re experiencing an unwelcoming work atmosphere or are dealing with personal problems, practicing self-care is never a bad idea. Everyone needs something different to move past the obstacles standing in their way. Find what works best for you, and keep utilizing those methods until you’re ready for something new.
Creating an inclusive workplace takes time, effort, and consistency. If you’re new to the process, you may consider talking to someone about it. At BetterHelp, an online therapy medium, you’ll be matched with a mental health professional who is trained in the areas you’re needing support in. Whether you’re navigating your workplace or home life, a BetterHelp therapist can offer you the extra help you’ve been needing. You will need a Wi-Fi connection, some type of device, and a comfortable, private place to meet with your therapist. Once you’re ready to begin the process of receiving care with BetterHelp, be sure to reach out to get started.
Commonly Asked Questions About This Topic
What are characteristics of an inclusive workplace?
There are many things that can contribute to an inclusive culture at work. It’s important that companies make employees feel comfortable, no matter the situation. This is not only good for employee well-being, it is also good for business, increasing employee engagement and fostering more effective talent management.
An inclusive culture at work typically starts with leadership. Hiring business leaders with diverse backgrounds and points of view can help promote diversity throughout the rest of the organization. Many companies are also creating roles and programs
that are devoted to fostering inclusivity and diversity. Chief diversity officer is a role that is becoming more and more popular in the C-suite as a way of creating greater diversity.
Another great way for companies to promote diversity and inclusion is through affinity groups. Affinity groups, also called employee resources groups, are organizations within an organization that are composed of like-minded people. These groups can help companies address concerns that are related to diversity, create a collaborative environment for like-minded employees, and lead to more visibility for employees who may otherwise be underrepresented. These groups can help raise awareness for issues that affect certain groups of people in an organization, thus creating a more inclusive culture.
What is inclusive workplace culture?
An inclusive culture in the workplace means that a company makes efforts to create an environment in which people of all backgrounds are represented and given the tools to succeed. This can mean hiring diverse candidates—ensuring women, people from BIPOC communities, and other minorities are well represented in an organization—and retaining diverse leaders who can foster open conversations and a collaborative environment. Every employee should feel as though they have a voice in a company, and an inclusive culture helps make that more realistic.
Why is an inclusive workplace important?
An inclusive workplace can help employees feel more comfortable as they do their job. When employees from an underrepresented community feel represented in an organization, trust is built. This type of inclusive culture can increase employee engagement. This, in turn, helps the company explore different avenues when it comes to conducting business.
Also, inclusivity is good for business overall. Companies with an inclusive culture have been shown to have higher cash flow and promote more effective leaders. When you promote inclusivity by hiring workers from different backgrounds, you often end up with a more diverse set of skills and experiences overall. Diverse talent can lead to better business outcomes and happier employees.
What is an example of inclusiveness in the workplace?
There are many ways that a company can be inclusive. One big way is by listening to employees and making sure they feel seen and heard, particularly employees who may be from an underrepresented community. Another example of inclusivity is putting a focus on the mental and physical well-being of all of the workers in a company. (To explore the subject of mental well-being and related topics, check out these articles.) Of course, when a company has employees from a range of backgrounds, and with an array of skills, this points to inclusivity as well.
How do you create an inclusive work environment?
One of the first things a company can do to promote inclusivity is to start at the top. This means not only teaching a company’s leaders how to be inclusive but also ensuring its leadership itself is diverse. For a long time, straight white men have dominated the C-suites of companies. Ensuring that there is more diversity among leadership positions has many benefits. For example, studies have shown that companies that have a larger-than-average percentage of leaders who are women are more profitable, provide higher quality products and services, and make more progress when it comes to social responsibility.
Another important way of helping to create an inclusive workplace is by making sure employees feel heard. If employees are not provided with a forum to discuss their concerns or voice their opinions, it can lead to a loss of trust and a lack of employee engagement. When employees feel comfortable opening up and bringing their whole selves to work, they can focus on problem solving and contributing in a sustainable way.
Companies can also explore ways to improve employees’ physical and mental well-being. Making employee health a priority has proven benefits for workers and the company and is yet another way to promote workplace inclusivity.
It’s also important that you pay attention to the language you use as a business. This means that everything from internal company communications to meetings to content marketing campaigns are inclusive and representative of all of your employees.