What can we do to help create and facilitate everyday inclusion and belonging?

As part of our series of ongoing webinars with Inclusive Employers, our team recently took part in a training session on the topic of Everyday Inclusion.

During this session, we were encouraged to think about and discuss types of inclusive and non-inclusive behaviour in the working environment. As well as how inclusive language is vitally important and can have such a powerful impact.

According to the recent 2020 diversity wins report from McKinsey & Company, even highly diverse companies need to take a bolder approach towards inclusion as employees note the disconnect between what their company says, and their personal experience of inclusion on the ground.

“The logic behind prioritizing inclusion alongside diversity is coming more clearly into focus—but the full dynamics of the different aspects of inclusion, and their relative importance, are not yet fully understood.

There is evidence that inclusion is closely linked to employee engagement, itself in turn a critical component of employee retention, productivity and financial performance.

For example, research has shown that business units that score in the top quartile of their organization in employee engagement have nearly double the odds of success.”

Of course, there is responsibility at the leadership and management level when it comes to effectively creating and sustaining an inclusive culture, especially as it is such a vitally important part of the working experience. However, it is key that everyone in an organisation is aware of the important part they also play in fostering inclusion in their work groups.

Colleagues that understand the importance of embracing and building on the unique perspectives and experiences of everyone in a team will help to foster a supportive and inclusive environment.

So, what does inclusive behaviour vs non-inclusive behaviour look like and how can everyone on a team proactively support inclusion and belonging at work?

What Does Inclusive Behaviour Look Like?

There are many small ways that we can all help to create an inclusive working environment. Our behaviour, the language we use, our commitment to understanding difference and our support for others being some of the most important things to consider.

Here are some other important things that each member of an organisation can commit to:

  • Welcome ideas that are different from your own and embrace the creativity and innovation that this brings.

  • Support your fellow teammates.

  • Improve your own cultural awareness. Take time to learn and develop understanding of people from different backgrounds. Useful Read:

    Why is cultural intelligence so important right now?

  • Treat people how they wish to be treated, not how you wish to be treated.

  • Engage with your organisation’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

  • Commit to continuous learning and improvement, be willing to accept feedback. There is always more that we can all learn, it is an ongoing journey not a final destination.

What Are Some Examples Of Non-Inclusive Behaviour?

Certain words and language, humour and gestures are all examples of non-inclusive behaviour that can affect a working environment. Consider, how inclusive are you really?

We may all at times contribute to these behaviours, so it is good to look at these dynamics and work to stop them from negatively impacting the workplace. Examples of this can include:

  • Blaming Others: Sometimes we may blame others for problems in the workplace instead of considering our own communication styles and checking our own behaviour.

  • Micromanaging: A damaging habit that erodes trust in a working relationship. Instead cultivate an environment for honest dialogue, trust people to manage their own workload to meet deadlines, set realistic goals and allow time for honest feedback.

  • Making Assumptions: Check the facts before you assume you know why something is or isn’t happening effectively in the workplace. Don’t accuse or immediately assume bad intent. Relate, ask thoughtful questions, and provide relevant, useful examples to help increase understanding and come to solutions.

  • Banter, Unfiltered Comments and Jokes: Business in the Community UK recently conducted a survey of British workers to better understand the impact of non-inclusive behaviours at work. They found that 25% of employees had experienced comments and jokes in the work setting that they felt were demeaning, degrading, insulting or rude. Joking and informal conversations with colleagues can play an important part in the workplace, and when positive, can be supportive and build relationships. It’s important though, to be mindful of these types of conversations and work to keep them inclusive, understand each other and not to cross line.

“45% of employees had experienced unwanted behaviours from colleagues within the last three years. Increasing to 66% for females under the age of 35.”-BITC.org.uk survey in partnership with Deloitte

Looking at these examples of non-inclusive behaviour leads into the conversation on the importance of inclusive language.

“Non-inclusive language is any words, phrases or terminology used that insults or excludes a person or group of persons. It can sometimes be used in times of emotive tension. It can sometimes be used through lack of education, awareness, or understanding of the possible offence it can cause.”-Steven Taylor, Everyday Inclusion Webinar

How can we be mindful of inclusive language, what does this include?

  • Considering and being respectful of terminology.

  • Being open and honest when you get it wrong.

  • Asking when you don’t know.

  • Thinking about the possible impact before you speak.

(Points above are taken from the webinar)

“It can seem overwhelming to be mindful of all the possible linguistic pitfalls you may encounter. So my first recommendation is to accept that you are human, just like the rest of us.

Be open to listening to others and learning from their perspective. If you make a mistake then take the time to understand what it was and learn from it.

With time, it will become easier and you too will be able to help others broaden their linguistic perspectives and sensitivities.”- Idealist.org, A Guide to Inclusive Language in the Workplace

We are all human and we do all make mistakes. Inclusion is an ongoing learning process. Be brave, listen and be willing to learn. We can all take steps to continue to improve the culture and sense of inclusion within the spaces, both in person and online, that we work.

At DMCG Global we are dedicated to encouraging a supportive and inclusive culture. Learn more about our commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion here.