Making the workplace more inclusive is a major HR priority. 80% of professionals want to work for an inclusive company. Yet up to 46% say they’ve experienced discrimination in their career.

Does your company want to increase inclusivity and diversity, but you’re not sure where to start? If the answer's yes, WhosOffice has put together seven practical strategies for change.

Here are our top tips for making your workforce feel comfortable, welcome and able to thrive:

1. Offer flexible working opportunities

Many talented people feel excluded from certain roles because of their personal commitments. There are many reasons why the traditional 9am-5:30pm day doesn’t work for certain staff members. For example, parents may have to leave early for the school pick-up.

Introducing flexible hours can help your firm to attract more talent. Companies like Systematic Print have introduced compressed hours for a better work/life balance. There's also real evidence that four-day weeks can benefit staff.

Plus, flexibility helps your existing employees stay loyal if their circumstances change. It's simpler and cheaper to change someone's working hours than recruit a replacement.

2. Create inclusivity policies

Many firms want to be inclusive but have no formal diversity documentation. Creating an HR toolkit can help you identify ways to make employees feel more comfortable at work.

Even simple changes like adding employee pronouns to email signatures make a big difference.

3. Train staff to use inclusive language

Staff education is another cornerstone of work inclusivity. People may not realise they could be doing more to support their colleagues.

One training session that employees find useful is inclusive language in the workplace. For instance, staff may instinctively refer to a group of people as “guys”. However, a gender-neutral term like “folks” or “team” could be more appropriate.

If you’re part of an international company, global English for non-native speakers is another helpful training session. And online HR software allows you to keep track of which courses staff members have completed.

4. Introduce unbiased recruitment processes

Sometimes becoming more inclusive means admitting where natural bias influences your decisions. Recruitment is one such area.

It’s easy to make snap judgements about someone when you see their CV. People’s age, gender, nationality and education can affect whether they progress to interview.

To stop personal preferences impacting decisions, some companies are introducing unbiased recruitment processes. All CVs have personal information removed, to focus on people’s skills and capabilities.

This ‘blind’ approach to recruitment can help you attract increase diversity and think outside the box.

5. Make sure your holiday calendar is multicultural

Company holiday policy can have a major impact on who works for your company. For example, offering unlimited annual leave may make your firm more attractive to new talent.

Public holidays are another key consideration. Make sure you consider alternative calendar events in your staff leave planner. For example, team members may prefer to take time off for Eid or Diwali, rather than Christmas.

Creating a multicultural holiday calendar respects the diverse beliefs of your workforce. And managing staff movements through an online staff holiday planner will help you to track when personnel have booked time off.

6. Treat every employee as an individual

Employing people with a broad mix of skills and qualities is what makes your business unique. Understanding each person’s individual strengths and weaknesses will help you to get the most from them.

Getting to know the nuances of every employee will enable you to tailor their working environment. For example:

  • Some staff members will feel happier working from home, while others prefer the office
  • Some employees are happy to do phone or video calls, but others like face-to-face meetings
  • Outgoing people prefer open-plan offices, whereas introverts like a quiet space to work

Scheduling time for a 1:1 employee catch-up will allow you to find out more about what makes your team tick. If your business has people management software, you can document this information centrally to shape your inclusivity strategy.

7. Encourage 360-degree employee feedback

Sometimes the best inclusivity initiatives are suggested by the wider workforce. But you can’t change your culture if you’re not listening to your team.

Allowing staff to give multi-directional feedback will encourage honesty, openness, and continuous improvement. And if your company is using HR software, you can diarise regular feedback requests to track what’s working - and what isn't.

Build an inclusive business with people management software

While inclusivity and diversity are cultural goals, your company needs the organisational tools to document and implement new strategies.

WhosOffice can help you to build a more inclusive business by improving the way you create schedules, communicate with your team and manage HR requirements. It’s a one-stop people management tool that still allows you to accommodate each person’s individual needs.

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