What is one thing your company is doing to become more inclusive?
To help small business owners create more inclusive spaces, we asked CEOs and business leaders this question for their best strategies. From offering flexible schedules to forming resource groups, there are several ways to help make your company more inclusive for years to come.
Here are 11 ways companies are becoming more inclusive:
- Review Diversity Practices
- Broadcast Inclusion Policies
- Evaluate Unconscious Drivers
- Seek a Support Group
- Embrace All Kinds
- Offer Flexible Schedules
- Form Resource Groups
- Foster a Diverse Workplace
- Engage Your Remote Team
- Create a Reporting Process
- Volunteer for the Day
Review Diversity Practices
We are examining our current make-up to ensure diversity. We are starting with our board of directors and recruiting with diversity in mind. While we are a small team of 13, we strive to be inclusive in our recruitment efforts when a position becomes available. Lastly, our employee manual includes values such as non-discrimination and equal opportunity.
Michael Martin, Tempe Tourism
Broadcast Inclusion Policies
It starts at the hiring process. Every employee that is interviewed is made aware of our non-discrimination policy with regards to both our staff and our customers. Absolutely no discrimination will be tolerated. Our business has worked for years to build our place in the community and everyone that works there knows their values must fit with our company culture of inclusion.
Scott Koehler, Fast Signs
Evaluate Unconscious Drivers
The most impactful thing we are doing right now to increase inclusion is utilizing concepts of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) to break down unconscious barriers. For example, we are using EQ to root out ways that white supremacist values are dictating our business decisions. We found that we were unconsciously being driven by values that uphold white supremacy. Working from a place of urgency caused us to sacrifice potential allies and prevented inclusion of thoughts and opinions from more varied perspectives. We used an article from Tema Okun called "White Supremacy Culture" to help guide that work.
Elena Joy Thurston, Pride and Joy Foundation
Seek a Support Group
Many companies have supported the creation of support groups for diverse communities within their organizations. To have a more inclusive environment means to embrace variety, different stories, and perspectives that exist, and to provide assistance to those who need it most. Within our own communities, we’ve worked to emphasize shared and varied experiences by trying to open up conversations, specifically around adoption.
A good way to continue those conversations and inclusivity is through a support group. In those groups, you'd be able to hear stories and possibly even get advice from those who understand what you're going through. They can also help you along through your career. Start by looking into your community for groups for your needs. Whether you choose an in-person or online support group, make sure that you find a space that you feel comfortable, welcome, and heard. You want your voice lifted up, not drowned out.
Kenna Hamm, Texas Adoption Center
Embrace All Kinds
One of our company's core values is "You are Unique.” This carries many meanings for us, but one of the most important being the dedication to gender equality, equal pay, and diverse hiring. We know that diversity, inclusion, and opportunity are key to retaining talent, driving growth, and building a great company. While there are more ways we can grow and continue to improve, we have a great foundation in place.
Jenn Christie, Markitors
Offer Flexible Schedules
Having customers worldwide requires diversity in our team. So, we embrace a flexible schedule. Offering flexible hours opens our talent field to include students who want to work while pursuing their education goals, parents who want a better work-life balance, and the more senior workforce who aren't ready to retire. The range of availability of our employees enables us to be there for our customers when they need us. And the diversity of the team allows for more empathy and creates a better customer service experience.
Shahzil Amin, WellBefore
Form Resource Groups
Help your company be more inclusive by creating resource groups. This is a way to check your teams’ needs with groups that focus on topics that will benefit your team. To create these groups, use an anonymous questionnaire. This will allow you to create the groups on the topics that will bring the most benefit to your employees.
Tri Nguyen, Network Capital
Foster a Diverse Workplace
I believe a diverse workforce gives your business priceless versatility. As unique as a company might be, it is fairly obvious when there is a rigid set of backgrounds. Working with people from different walks of life and varying perspectives helps to produce the most innovative products or services and allows you to grow a more diverse set of customers. We currently have a team that consists of talent from different countries and different educational and personal backgrounds, which helps foster an inclusive environment and a unique approach to our business that helps us stand out from the competition.
Nik Sharma, Sharma Brands
Engage Your Remote Team
An inclusive workplace is also about keeping everyone engaged, regardless of their physical location. At LiveCareer, we want to think about all of our employees and adjust our benefits according to their needs. That’s why we always try to consider what our staff might need depending on their circumstances. For example, when we offer in-office lunch on Friday for our office employees, we also want our remote employees to feel included. In such cases, we schedule a Zoom call for our remote staff and give them a specific budget for ordering their meals. Such an approach positively impacts our staff’s engagement, productivity, and general job satisfaction.
Dorota Lysienia, LiveCareer
Create a Reporting Process
Building an inclusive workplace is the ultimate goal our company has been striving for. To improve inclusion, our company has set up the People & Culture Department to ensure the company’s policies reach out to every single person. Although our company values our differences and tries to provide us with an equal environment where we feel like our home, there could still be some stereotypes and discrimination among employees. This impedes our efforts towards an inclusive company. Therefore we have this platform where we can report any sign of disrespectful manners, inequality, racism, or discrimination. Based on the severity of the reported issues, leaders will consider appropriate actions to address. Personally, I see it as a very practical step because when we are heard, and our problems are solved, we will feel more welcomed and respected at work.
Jill Sandy, Constant Delights
Volunteer for the Day
Inclusion only works if everyone is included. The trouble with most corporate initiatives is that by shining the spotlight on one cause or group, they inadvertently leave others in the dark. So instead of robotically promoting a day or month with a self-serving logo change or generically written broadcast email, we started a Giving-in-Action Day which allows each employee 1 paid day per year to spend volunteering in the cause that touched their lives. This allows everyone to have a voice and make a difference. It also widens the pool of beneficiaries which includes everything from healthcare to children's issues.
Tim Toterhi, Plotline Leadership