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Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

Call for immediate help from one of our team 01622 47 41 49

General Business
Managing People
Employment & HR

How can HR drive meaningful inclusion all year round?

Primed Team
4 June 2024 3 minutes

In this blog, we explore workplace inclusion beyond diversity and equality. It's about accommodating individual working styles and ensuring everyone feels valued.

Workplace inclusion. What exactly does this mean? Often the first thing that springs to mind revolves around diversity and equality. But it is much more in depth as subcategories develop under these initial headings. With growing awareness around subjects like mental health, neurodiversity and gender it is critical to remember that ‘inclusion’ can simply just be about catering for individual working styles or ensuring everyone feels like one of the gang.

It is crucial for organisations to understand the distinction between inclusion and diversity, as these terms are often used interchangeably and incorrectly. Workable offers a clear insight defining each –

  • Diversity describes the variation in personal, physical, and social characteristics, such as gender, ethnicity, age, and education
  • Inclusion highlights procedures used to integrate the whole workforce, allowing mutually beneficial existence of differences. The aim of an inclusion strategy is to help everyone to feel accepted, at ease and safe to share thought and opinion judgement free.

The Equality Act of 2010 names nine characteristics that it offers protection to:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation

While the act covers many areas, it is important to develop awareness of other factors that may indirectly fall into these categories.

The CIPD highlights additional considerations:

  • Caring responsibilities: Could a colleague benefit from a flexible schedule to accommodate out-of-work care commitments?
  • Cultural practices: Be mindful of gestures or phrases that may have different meanings in various cultural contexts.
  • Invisible disabilities: Is there an unseen condition affecting a colleague’s performance?
  • Mental health: The ‘lazy’ person who is often the butt of jokes may be struggling with internal issues that limit their performance.
  • Neurodiversity: Some behaviours may not make sense to you, but it’s important to allow expression and difference without judgement.
  • Political opinions: Everyone has their own views. By listening and discussing differences respectfully, we can encourage healthy conversations.
  • Paternity: The role of fathers is evolving beyond traditional norms.
  • Socio-economic circumstances: Avoid making assumptions about a person’s situation.

Awareness of these factors is crucial as a starting point for promoting inclusion within organisations.

Here, we’ll explore several strategies for creating a workplace that advocates for everyone:

Allowing employees to voice ideas or feedback will help them feel listened to and valued. Remember that some people find voicing their thoughts difficult and will shy away if confronted directly Why not try anonymous surveys to allow an open and honest channel for feedback?

It is vital to offer workplace adjustments to employees. Employees with disabilities encounter distinct challenges in the workplace, but it is entirely possible to offer them appropriate adjustments to support their needs.

Consistent training and regular audits of inclusion policies are essential for fuelling a balanced and open environment. Implementing effective training programs can reinforce these principles. Equally important are robust and reliable policies on bullying and harassment to maintain a respectful workplace.

Many organisations prioritise hiring candidates who fit their existing culture, but this can limit diversity. Hiring for culture can bring fresh perspectives. Candidates from diverse backgrounds offer unique insights, especially in areas like marketing, and can help tap into new markets.

Ultimately, an inclusive workplace ensures that all employees have equal opportunities and the ability to advance, just like their peers.

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