5 Strategies to Promoting Inclusivity at Work
Diversity and inclusion are words we often hear today- so much so that the meaning could get lost or akin to mandatory training that shames people into appropriate behavior. But the most transformative diversity and inclusion activities are community driven that encourages participants to explore their own values in relation to the values of their communities while creating a foundation for understanding various cultural identities.
During a recent event on diversity, inclusion, and awareness we focused on 8 cultural identities: sexual orientation, nationality, gender, religion, familial status, generation, ability, and socioeconomic status. Many of which are protected classes under fair-housing and equal opportunity employment.
The beauty of diversity and inclusion happens when existing cultures 'dance' with different cultures- that's when organizations change and people stretch their understanding of others. When varying cultural perspectives thrive, we are able to view phenomenon more holistically and generate a multitude of approaches. A multitude of approaches- sounds a lot like innovation.
5 Strategies to Promoting Inclusivity
(1) Give people a voice and a choice- surprisingly this simple act goes a long way to creating a more inclusive environment. As adults, we all want to feel in control of our own lives and how we engage in activities.
(2) Have discussions around inclusion & ask how to engage specific groups- so much of diversity and inclusion is bringing the implicit to the forefront. Think through and question who is not being represented and how to engage them.
(3) Ask people questions- about their preferred pronouns to be inclusive of varying gender identities; if someone would like assistance for varying abilities. Asking is always preferred to guessing and it promotes voice / choice.
(4) Use inclusive vocabulary- and be mindful of exclusive language. This is not always easy since language is often an ingrained habit, but start small by using the royal 'we' and asking others their thoughts more often.
(5) Change your time and place- it's strange how a simple change in environment can lead to a change in perspective. It takes us out of our everyday and exposes us to things we may not have otherwise experienced. Changing the time and place of group activities gives others more flexibility to participate.