Even as more companies begin to focus on diversity and inclusion, progress has been incredibly slow going. Many demographics are substantially underrepresented in a variety of fields. Additionally, a significant number of minorities continue to experience bullying and harassment on a regular basis, while others simply don’t feel comfortable in their workplaces.
Often, company leaders strive to find solutions to these issues, trying to remedy the situation as quickly as possible. However, this approach may actually be what’s holding you back when it comes to inclusion, as focusing on providing solutions can actually be a mistake.
The Harm of Management’s Focus on Providing Solutions
When a problem needs solving, managers often spring into action. They try to find a path that can deliver the desired result, aiming to move quickly to handle the existing issue. Usually, when it comes to diversity, policies are created or adjusted in response to problems like bullying and harassment.
While setting rules and guidelines can be a necessity, it might not speak to the core of the issue. Management’s tendency to focus on solutions means they could be missing a critical piece of the inclusion puzzle; they might not actually be listening to what their staff needs and how they perceive their situation.
Additionally, merely creating new policies doesn’t always alter behavior. Instead, management needs to focus on more than finding a potential solution; they need to be willing to take action, too.
How to Make Your Workplace More Inclusive
Before management tries to find a solution to a problem of inclusivity, they first need to genuinely listen to their staff. Ask questions and let your employees respond, including through anonymous surveys, if necessary. Let them present how they perceive the current situation and discuss how they feel when they are at work. Allow them to identify sources of discomfort and explain how they are affected by them.
As you gather responses, look for patterns. Are multiple employees expressing the same sentiment? Is there a specific issue presented over and over?
Then, determine if the issue is policy-based, cultural, or something else before you try to craft a course of action. Often, cultural norms are the biggest factor when it comes to a lack of inclusivity, and some words on paper aren’t going to change that automatically.
When this occurs, management needs to be prepared to take action. For example, they may need to interject if an employee says or does something inappropriate, guide workers who exhibit poor behavior on how to improve, and use anti-discrimination and anti-bullying policies as a basis for corrective action.
By taking the proper steps, you can begin to reshape your culture into one that supports inclusivity, ensuring everyone can work together comfortably and productively.
If you are interested in learning more about creating a more inclusive workplace, the professionals at The Advance Group can help. Contact us to speak with one of our knowledgeable team members today and see how our expertise can make achieving your diversity goals easier than ever before.