What you can do in January to make your business more inclusive

07 January 2019

What you can do in January to make your business more inclusive

 

The start of a new year is commonly regarded as a clean slate: resolutions are made, targets are set, and gym subscriptions are painfully underutilised. Depending on when their financial year begins, businesses are likely gearing up for either a final push in Q4 or kicking off a fresh start with lofty ambitions.

For leaders who recognise the benefits of a diverse workforce, building an inclusive culture should feature high on the list of priorities for 2019 – after all, diversity is no tick-box exercise. It takes time to influence behavioural change in the workplace, but there’s no time like the start of a new year to get the ball rolling.

If you are looking for a new year’s resolution for your business, consider the advantages of utilising January to make your business more inclusive:

 

Understand what you want to achieve

Inclusion doesn’t just happen automatically when an employer hires more diverse candidates: it’s something that should be promoted each and every day if you are to reap the many benefits from opening up to new ideas and cultures. Before you start launching initiatives, take a step back and determine exactly what it is you wish to achieve.

 

If you believe that your business could benefit from fresh perspectives and more diverse workforce, it may be time to reconsider everything from your management structure, all the way down to the language used in your job specifications. If your employer brand and talent attraction efforts are suffering due to a negative culture, inspiring behavioural change through workplace diversity training will make for a good starting place this January.

 

Take the lead

As with any initiative that you attempt to implement into a business, management must show leadership and embody the ethos the company is set to promote. If you are to successfully implement any inclusivity policies into your business, your leadership team must be fully onboard if the rest of your staff are to understand the expectations. Of course, there is no better way to show a real endorsement of inclusivity than diversifying your management team by hiring and promoting from all backgrounds.

 

Adapt the environment

Though great progress has been made at making workplaces in general a little less dull in recent times, there are still many stereotypically outdated offices. The testosterone fuelled boiler rooms of a successful sales department still typically struggle to attract and retain female salespeople, and the idiom of the software developers man cave still very much exist in 2019.

If inclusivity could be bought for the same price as 65” 4K television – Google, Facebook, and many other Silicon Valley giants would not have gone through such drastic measures to change their employer brand. Adapting your workplace environment must be done through all mediums: the office, the language, your online presence and the people you work with on a daily basis must reflect a modern and diverse brand to ensure a welcoming culture where all staff can thrive irrespective of their background.

 

Implement staff-wide diversity training

If you believe that outside assistance may be needed to successfully transform your workplace, you could consider hiring external HR support of hosting an inclusivity workshop. By hiring external help, you may highlight biases that may be going under the radar even to the management team. Unconscious biases are important to identify early as they may be responsible for injustices and malpractices that could be taking place in your workplace.