There’s no question that a globally diverse and inclusive workplace creates greater employee engagement and effectiveness. We’ve noticed it in our clients, but it has also been demonstrated through quite a bit of research in recent years. Not only does an inclusive workplace lead to people feeling better about themselves and their workplace, but it also can increase financial performance and reduce employee turnover.
In other words, diversity and inclusion is important—for individuals and businesses alike.
We at CultureWizard look at inclusion from a multicultural, global perspective. What’s our definition? “Global Inclusion” describes the attitudes and behaviors of people around the world that help create a workplace where diverse individuals feel valued, welcomed and appreciated. Without inclusion, diversity alone is less likely to lead to the business benefits outlined in the blogs mentioned above. For individuals to contribute their best and be most effective, they need to feel they belong.
Creating an inclusive multicultural workplace requires a serious strategy and continual monitoring, and we tackle it in our Global Inclusion Course and White Paper. But for this blog post, we thought we’d offer some quick tips to inspire ways to develop an inclusive multicultural workplace, from three perspectives: the organizational level, the leadership level, and the individual level.
Corporate-Wide Actions Set the Stage for Everyone:
1. Communicate corporate values regarding inclusive behavior frequently. Be sure the messages are clear and culturally appropriate.
2. Review the organization’s commitment and investment in training and development towards a Globally Inclusive workplace.
3. Clearly state your organization’s values regarding pay equity.
4. Review hiring and promoting practices. Are they moving your organization in the direction of global inclusion? If you think they aren’t as effective as they should be, take steps to learn about what might be a better approach. Check out these five tips from one of our previous blog posts.
Leaders’ Behaviors Promote Inclusion:
5. Be mindful of the way you choose team members. To be most inclusive, especially in a multicultural setting, consider having two people choose the team members.
6. Remember that you are a role model. Ways you encourage global inclusiveness—and discourage non-inclusive behavior—set an important benchmark for others to follow.
7. If it makes sense, try to include a wide range of people in meetings so that they can provide different perspectives from different cultural viewpoints.
8. Ensure that meetings are scheduled for people in all locations, not just for one location. This may mean that you’ll have to rotate times.
9. Try to create space for everyone who wants to speak. Allow these diverse voices to be heard. For example, if there are quieter members of the team—whether it’s because they’re introverted or because of cultural differences—try to seek their opinions in ways they’ll feel comfortable. These can be in written form or one-on-one after the meeting.
10. Acknowledge all contributions and show all participants equal respect.
Individual Actions Can Add Up Over Time:
11. Discover your own blind spots, especially in a multicultural context because our innate implicit biases can cause us to make many assumptions.
12. Try to be as open and inclusive of differences as you can be, naturally. Consider global inclusion training or taking a course to help you get on the right track.
13. As long as it’s culturally appropriate, express your heritage and religious beliefs. Similarly, if you’re a parent, talk about your children, if you wish. Use this as an opportunity to demonstrate your diversity.
14. Ask polite questions, if appropriate, to show your interest in someone’s individual differences. These questions can lead to “curiosity conversations” that can help break down preconceived notions about others.
15. Overtly—but politely—discourage any comments that show a bias. Creating a global workplace that’s truly inclusive isn’t a quick or easy process. It takes time, but the hard work pays off—literally! To make sure everyone in your diverse workplace feels included, try implementing the above tips at the organizational, leadership, and individual levels. You might be surprised at the beneficial effects!