What is Inclusion in the Workplace and How to Implement it?

If you have recently found yourself asking ‘What is inclusion in the workplace?’ and are unsure how to implement it, this is a must-read article.  

A strong inclusion strategy can help your organisation attract top talent and drive innovative results. And this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to creating an inclusive environment.

You may have heard people talking about ‘diversity and inclusion in the workplace,’ which sounds great, but how can you apply practical strategies to your organisation to make sure you see long-lasting change? That is what we are about to dive into.  

But first …

What is inclusion in the workplace?  

The Diversity Council of Australia shares that “Inclusion (in the workplace) occurs when the dimensions of diversity of people (e.g., of different ages, cultural backgrounds, genders) feel valued and respected, have access to opportunities and resources and can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve their organisation.”

If everyone in the organisation is treated fairly, with respect, have the same opportunities to progress to leadership positions, and can all fairly contribute to the success of the company, then that could be seen as an inclusive workplace.  

Now, it is all well and good to understand what inclusion means, but if you do not know how to apply it to your workplace, then there is a disconnect. 

Creating a sense of belonging in the workplace is key when it comes to inclusion!

So, here are some suggestions on how you can practice inclusion in the workplace, based on experiments that our previous clients have seen success with! 

How can you implement inclusion in the workplace? 

What I have learnt during my many years within the D&I space is this: many leaders think they are an inclusive leader, when they are not. 

They believe that they are practising inclusive behaviour and because they have filled diversity quotas, they feel like their teams represent minority groups well. 

This just isn’t the case. 

When it comes to having a true understanding of what inclusion is, leaders need to remove the diversity component. 

We are all different because we all represent different groups. We are all unique. And we can all bring our own ideas to the table.  

When leaders remove the “diversity” component of D&I and focus on getting a deeper understanding of what is inclusion, then they move towards being naturally more inclusive! 

Three ways leaders can be more inclusive in the workplace

Idea 1: Include more people in your meetings 

Who could you invite to your meetings that usually get excluded?  

Consciously inviting, including, and encouraging fewer vocal people to provide input in meetings and gatherings, by creating space for them to speak up is a great way to be more inclusive in the workplace. It means you are building an inclusive workplace by embedding inclusion habits

Also, if you have junior people that do not usually ‘get a seat at the table’, start inviting them to the meetings so that they feel more included and can learn something new!  

It is a great way for everyone to progress and grow. You will also have more people to contribute their ideas and solutions to problems. 

Idea 2: Talk to people outside your department 

Intentionally interacting with people who are in a different department of the company or a different discipline within the project can be a great way to be more inclusive in the workplace.  

This can lead to meeting many new colleagues and gain insight into their perspectives while having them build connections with your own team. It can also lead to overall improved workplace wellbeing!

Idea 3: Introduce coaching programs to build inclusion habits 

Everyone knows that building habits cannot be done overnight. It takes persistence and action every single day. Coaching helps your employees to:  

  • Gain new perspectives  
  • Learn at a deeper/more specialised level 
  • Work towards a common goal  
  • Build better personal awareness 
  • Improve their skills  

And so much more!  

An inclusive leadership program that works 

Supporting leaders to understand what inclusion is and how it looks in the workplace is the backbone of our inclusive leadership program. It explicitly teaches the ’how to’ of inclusion

Inclusion Habits for Leaders Program will help your or your leaders to create diversity and inclusion advocates who know what to do. It will educate you on how to build a more inclusive and diverse workplace.  

Find out if your organisation qualifies for the program by completing our 3-min questionnaire.

Your answers help us to better understand your goals and to determine if our program is a good fit. 

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