The Meaning of Inclusivity
When we encounter and consult various companies and ask them about the meaning of inclusivity, we almost always get the same answer. "Inclusivity is about equality.", "Inclusivity is about fairness." or some other variant like that. In reality, inclusivity is complimenatary to equality. Let's show you!
Complimentary and Inseparable
Finding the right candidate to hire is a very difficult and intense task, but keeping them at your company can be even more intense. In this modern age of hybrid work, employees are no longer tied down to a single employer and switching jobs can be as simple as closing one laptop and opening another. While fairness and equality cover the hiring aspect, inclusivity is more about keeping the employees you have hired.
Inclusivity is making sure that your employees have a positive environment and culture to work in. It is about meeting the needs of your employees. By meeting the needs of your employees, they are encouraged and motivated to meet the needs of the company.
Facilitating the needs of your employees
Employee needs is a very broad term and can cover many topics. It is about providing accessible entrances to your office for people with wheelchairs. It is about providing a calm place for those with anxiety or migraines. It is about providing an open culture for those that want to talk about topics that are not related to their work.
As you can see, almost everything can be considered an employee need. This is why it is important to talk with your employees and ask what their needs are. Be observative and listen to what they have to say because you may just uncover a new need.
As you may have already noticed, inclusivity is far from a one and done topic. It is a constant iteration to improve the inclusivity and culture of your company. It requires energy and dedication, something you also expect from the employees you hire.
Inclusivity Inside Teams
When working with a team inside of a larger organisation, you may not have direct control over major themes like the design of your office. This does not mean that you can't facilitate inclusiveness inside of your team. It is your responsibility as a manager to have regular meetings with your team and ensure that you are aware of the needs your team has. Elevate the needs that you can't take care of yourself and be inclusive for the ones you can.
By doing so you will form tighter relationships with the members of your team. It will allow you to unlock the true power of your team.
It is not a simple task to evaluate the inclusivity inside your company. It requires trust in your employees since they are the only ones that can tell you their needs. This is why it is so important to have regular one-on-one meetings with your employees. They may have needs that they don't want the entire company to know. Ensure that you are open and listen to your employees, create a safe space and culture where anything can be said.
As important as those one-on-one meetings are, coming together with all your employees is equally important. Sit down together and brainstorm about ways to improve the inclusivity of the company. During one of those get-togethers, one person may throw "We need a pool table in the office" on the table, while another says "Or a ping-pong table!". If you already see a link between what these two fictional employees said, congratulations, you are already on your way to become a more inclusive leader! In this scenario it is clear that your office needs more spaces for your employees to relax and do something else than work. It is a constant evolution and requires your involvement as a great leader.
To give you a conclusive and well-rounded, finishing paragraph. Inclusivity is about making sure your employees' needs are met. It requires energy and dedication to unlock the true power of your team but is worth it in the long run. You will be able to form stronger connections with your team and ensure they are satisfied in their current positions. Inclusivity should be a top priority for any manager, leader or founder.
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