Practical steps that managers can take to be more inclusive
Inclusion doesn’t just happen. In order to be more inclusive, managers need to start with intention and regular practice. People are naturally inclined to be drawn to people that are like themselves. In order to break the bias managers must constantly disrupt their natural approach. They need to develop an awareness of who is being represented, who are the high performers, who are the people who are getting hired and who is not.
The culture of your business is a key ingredient in its success. Culture is often described as “how we do things around here”. In order to be more inclusive, managers can move beyond hiring people who “fit” with the culture and instead think about how others “add” to the overall culture of the business.
To successfully add to the culture of their business, managers should be intentional and honest about the skillsets, backgrounds and perspectives that are missing from the business. Look to represent a broader spectrum of gender, race, educational background, or country of origin. When interviewing potential new joiners, try to seek out those candidates who add to the culture, rather than fit with what you already have.
Build on the existing foundations in your business and focus on developing more inclusive practices. Build trust among your people and encourage teamwork. If you trust your people, they will trust you back. Fostering trust in your business is going to make your employees feel safe and willing to contribute their thoughts, opinions, and suggestions. They will want to be included. Focus on including your team members more by involving them in decision making, creating sub-teams to work on projects and encouraging debate in order to come up with new ideas.
Inclusive managers empower their people. You hired your people because they are capable of fulfilling their responsibilities. Encourage them to go off and try new things, to test out new ideas and to come up with innovative suggestions. Empowered employees feel part of an organisation – they feel included. This will pay dividends in the long run as your people will reward you with loyalty, hard work and positive outcomes.