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Best Practices for Creating Inclusion in the Workplace

As diversity and inclusion expert Vernā Myers once explained, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” And like every good host, your organization should ensure everyone makes it out onto the floor. But how? Creating an inclusive culture and, by extension, inclusion in the workplace is a conscious effort requiring specific actions and initiatives. Here are some best practices for building an inclusive workplace through hiring, employee experience, and management.

Hiring for inclusion in the workplace

  • Rely on data, not instinct or fit. Unconscious bias often leads us to make hiring decisions based on whether someone looks or sounds like us. One way to remove this risk and build an inclusive workplace is to delegate some of the decision-making to an objective tool – an algorithm.
  • Prioritize specific skills or personality traits needed for a role, rather than a laundry list of general qualities. Start by identifying the attributes that lead to high performance and then screen for them in your interviews. To truly objectively identify these qualities and screen for them, try an Artificial Intelligence HR tool.
  • Introduce more collaboration into the recruitment and onboarding process to build diversity and foster inclusion. Asynchronous interviews allow multiple hiring managers and human resources professionals to review and discuss candidate performance. This then leads to more nuanced and holistic assessments. Plus, structured interviews like these put all candidates on a level playing field.

Creating an inclusive employee experience

  • Be fair and transparent around promotions and compensation to ensure you offer everyone the same chance to succeed and employees clearly understand what’s necessary to grow in your organization. Sharing your promotion and compensation criteria also gives employees the opportunity to weigh in on ways to improve existing policies or create new ones to increase equity.
  • Focus on continuing education and listening. Organizations with inclusive cultures strive for constant evolution based on employee feedback. This means making an inclusive culture a core characteristic of your organization. An inclusive workplace is a noun, not a verb – something you are, not just something you do once a year.
  • Create a workplace where employees feel comfortable presenting their authentic selves and are valued for their unique perspectives. Organize regular educational and outreach initiatives on topics ranging from unconscious bias to intercultural communication. This will create opportunities for teams to ask questions and learn new strategies and tools for inclusion.
  • Go beyond affinity programs to connect your rising stars with senior managers who are able to elevate high performers and increase their visibility. For those who feel marginalized or have received powerful social messages devaluing their voices, having an influential advocate leading the charge has a measurable effect on both employee satisfaction and actual career growth.

Managing inclusion in the workplace

  • Make sure your management team understands why you believe in diversity, are committed to creating an inclusive culture, and that they communicate this to their teams. Managers who perceive diversity and inclusion efforts as a chore or a charity will have difficulty fostering the open, collaborative environment necessary to create an inclusive workplace.
  • Emphasize creativity and innovation. One study found that 46 percent of Black female professionals feel their ideas and talents go unrecognized. When managers focus on achieving success ‘their’ way, they’re less likely to appreciate creative problem-solving or alternative solutions.
  • Develop accountability systems for managers based on objective metrics. Consider connecting this with compensation, either in the form of rewards for targets exceeded or reductions for targets not met. TimeWarner tied management bonuses to pre-set diversity targets, for example.

Organizations committed to building an inclusive workplace understand that hiring and promoting diverse candidates is just one component of creating a truly inclusive culture that values all employees and their contributions.

Beyond diversity, an inclusive workplace focuses on fostering open and honest communication led by management and transparency. Formal mentorship programs keep your top talent engaged long after recruitment. Then, technology helps you level the playing field by weeding out unconscious bias and focusing attention on skills and talents required for success.

Find out how Cangrade’s AI can remove bias from your hiring process and improve diversity. Start here.