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  • Writer's pictureAnushruti

Do not direct, Just show the mirror! – Ways of promoting 'Inclusivity' at the workplace

Today all companies talk about the necessity of diversity. But the thought of trying and opening to something new brings in fears around performance of an already high-performing company. And for those who have managed to overcome this fear at the entry stage and enjoy a diverse group of employees at workplace, are struggling with ‘Inclusivity’ of this diverse group.

The term ‘diversity’ refers to range of human beings with unique characteristics like work life experience, cultural and religious inclination, national origin and more. And ‘inclusivity’ is the act of creating fairness in the ecosystem so that this diverse mix of people can work well together.

Inclusivity is a subject that cannot be taught. Too many initiative in the workplace only overwhelm the employees, losing the sight of why they are being done. The key to promoting ‘Inclusivity’ is encouraging self-awareness amongst the employees and not actually telling them what to do.

Are managers still inclined to promote their ‘mini-me’ versions? Are recruiters still likely to go for the ‘default’ choice of profiles who have done well before? Are women still hesitant in availing menstrual leaves in fear of being observed as less committed to work?

It is time to ’walk the talk’ instead of just ‘talking the talk’.

  • Make the recruitment processes fair by eliminating ‘just-like-me’ bias and ‘pitchfork effect’. Fairness can be promoted in the recruitment processes through blind screening, structured interviews, equal pay policy and a diverse panel.

  • One of the reasons why single type-dominated corporate culture struggles with diversity and inclusion issues is because human beings tend to imitate what the seniors are doing. This can actually work even to our advantage if the ‘herding’ is used positively by the executive team promoting their personal stories on how they have supported and actioned on inclusion.

  • ‘Show the mirror’, on a regular basis by highlighting the metrics to the department leads about the representations of different groups in different teams, promotion rates at each level etc. This will help in realization of the unconscious bias that may have crept in.

  • ‘Feedback loops’ work wonders in making people realize the impact of their actions. Promote regular anonymous feedback to peer and seniors to help them understand what could have gone wrong intentionally or unintentionally.

  • Talk about your D&I initiatives and how proud you are about them during monthly meetings, and recruitment processes. This serves as a reinforcement tool to the minds of those who need to act in the same manner and fosters a sense of safety in minds of those who were looking for it to be able to work in the environment to the best of their abilities.

  • Go one step ahead! It would be thoughtful to ensure that all your company gears and goodies are available with options for all genders and suited for people with all abilities, rather than the monotonous one-size-fits-all.

On a daily basis try to create a belonging moment for all your colleagues. Only when we are able to create an environment that welcomes diversity, will it be one where all kinds of people can thrive and succeed.

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