Is Your Workplace Inclusive? Steps To Creating An Inclusive Workplace
When we speak about inclusivity in the workplace many people will automatically think of wheelchair accessible bathrooms, ramps, and other physical building modifications. But workplace inclusivity is about so much more than that.
It’s about making sure your workforce is made up of a dynamic and varied group of people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and of course abilities. And it’s also about ensuring that everyone is your workplace is welcoming and accommodating to those with special or different needs.
In fact workplaces that prioritise inclusivity tend to have higher staff retention rate, more engaged employees, and are more likely to recruit top talent.
So how do businesses and HR departments start the process to ensuring their workplace champions inclusivity? Here are 5 easy ways you can make your workplace inclusive for everyone.
Form an inclusion council
An inclusion council is a fantastic way to initiate changes and processes that will make your workplace more inclusive. Ideally it should be made up of a team member from every department so that all staff are represented. It should also have the power to make decisions and implement changes within the workplace.
Listen to Employees
There’s no better way to understand what changes need to be made in your workplace than by opening up the conversation with your staff. Not only will they know first hand the challenges they themselves or their colleagues are facing, but they may also be able to provide some great solutions. Remember that not all disabilities are visible and many people are living with conditions that can affect their day-to-day activities such arthritis, diabetes and asthma. Think about having a suggestion box where staff can anonymously drop feedback or suggestions for the inclusion council.
Start at the hiring process
One of the easiest ways you can make your workplace more inclusive is by making it one of your company’s core values that starts right at the beginning during the recruitment process. HR team members should be trained to ensure that the application and interview process is inclusive, accessible and open for people of all abilities. It’s also a great idea to engage with a recruitment agency that specialises in helping people living with disabilities find employment – you could even help change someone’s life!
Engage with community groups
If your business is truly passionate about making your workplace inclusive they should think about engaging with like minded community groups. From selecting a not-for-profit disability service as your charity partner, to engaging with the recruitment agency to offer work experience for those studying, or even taking your team out for the day to volunteer with a community group; there are so many ways you can encourage your staff to champion the inclusivity message.
Provide disability inclusion education and training
Part of making your workplace fully inclusive is ensuring that your wider team are welcoming and accommodating to those with special needs or requirements. And while you can encourage this through engaging with community groups, it’s also a great idea to implement special inclusion education and training. By offering internal training that address perceptions — and, often, misperceptions — about individuals with disabilities you’ll better equip your team with the tools to make your workplace more inclusive. You can even start by holding simple engaging training activities like learning the basics of sign language.