By: Lisa Cox, Media Diversity Officer
What exactly are employers striving to achieve when they set out creating an inclusive workplace? The level of inclusion that has been achieved can be measured with accuracy by evaluating the presence of four fundamentals, each fundamental represents a level of inclusion that has been achieved. The irony of these fundamentals is that they should be present in every workplace, regardless of the business’s diversity and inclusion goals. These fundamentals are every worker’s basic human rights.
- Fairness and respect
Fairness and respect is something extraordinary for many people, people with disabilities, for one, don’t automatically gain fair opportunities and respect wherever they go. The first step to introducing inclusion into the workplace is to aim to achieve nondiscrimination and basic courtesy. Employees need to feel the freedom to participate without fear that favouritism might impact how they are perceived. It requires the managing tiers of the business to become aware of their personal biases and ensure that they’re not unconsciously driven by their biases to make decisions that limit opportunities for certain employees.
- Value and belonging
In order to inclusion to exist, the team’s individual members have to believe that who they really are is seen, valued, and appreciated. Each person needs to feel that what they bring to the table is unique and important while still feeling able to identify as part of the group as a whole. EMployers can instil this sense of security by recognising and acknowledging the work that each employee does. This requires employers to connect with employees and keep track of their projects and their endeavours within the company. It also means finding new ways to challenge various talents of the employees and keep motivation high.
- Safety and openness
The third level of inclusion will see a degree of safety and openness existing in the workplace, between employees and management. While total transparency is different from openness, employees that feel safe and connected with their managers can offer insight into what structures are working and what structures can be improved. A two-way conversation ensures that everyone feels supported in the way that matters, which in turn, brings out the best in the team members, optimising productivity and ensuring that everyone, even people with disabilities, thrive. Achieving this will spill into the wider world too, as employees talk about their workplace with positivity and joy, encouraging good perceptions of the business in general.
- Confident and inspired
According to Deloitte, “at its highest point, inclusion is expressed as feeling confident and inspired.” This means employees, even employees with disabilities who might be more insecure about their positions, should feel supported enough to speak up, participate, and be seen and heard without fear. This means there should be no risk of retaliation, humiliation, or undue criticism. A business has achieved inclusion when all of their employees feel empowered to grow and do their best work because it brings them joy.