How to Create a Culture of Inclusion in the Workplace

Published by:
Joe Caccavale
May 18, 2022
min read

The business cases for diversity are strong, showing that having a more diverse workforce isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s also the best thing to do for your profitability, performance, and ROI. As a result, diverse hiring for workplaces has become a more prominent strategic goal. But there's much more to reaping the rewards of diversity than actively hiring people of different backgrounds. 

To get the full benefits of a diverse workforce, organisations need to be able to bring different people together, make them feel confident and welcomed, and develop a widespread sense of belonging. This is what a culture of inclusion should achieve. Here’s some insight into what is meant by a culture of inclusion, what it looks like in action and how to support your organisation in creating a truly inclusive environment.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

Diversity and inclusion go hand-in-hand, but they aren’t the same thing. Diversity refers to representing a spectrum of different identities and backgrounds within your organisation.

Inclusion, on the other hand, is the practice of ensuring people from all possible backgrounds feel supported and welcomed. One cannot exist without the other, and without an inclusive workplace culture, you cannot suspect any attempts at hiring for diversity to have longevity. To find out more, take a look at our guide on the difference between diversity, inclusion and accessibility.

What does an inclusive organisational culture look like?

An inclusive workplace culture is needed to bring the benefits of diversity to life, such as greater innovation and profitability, reduced turnover and improved engagement. So with that in mind, what exactly does an inclusive organisational culture look like?

It has a diverse set of leaders

Workplace culture is built from the top down, so organisations need to be representative at leadership levels and committed to working with people of diverse nationalities, genders, orientations, generations, and ethnicities. Without diversity in leadership, diversity hiring can quickly look like tokenism, insincerity, or that there’s a glass ceiling in place. Good examples of diversity in leadership include talking to staff members from different backgrounds about their career goals and evaluating their potential, providing mentoring or upskilling opportunities and nurturing their transition into management and leadership roles.

It has safe spaces

Inclusive workplaces cater for the different needs of their employees equally rather than the interests of one or two groups, making it an accessible, enriching functional space for everyone. For example, inclusive workplaces may have spaces for nursing mothers, prayer rooms or gender-inclusive bathrooms. 

It encourages open communication and sharing

Inclusive organisations strive to attract and incorporate people from different backgrounds, and to bring people together. To achieve this, it’s essential to have open and non-judgemental lines of communication between teams, leadership, new hires, and existing staff. A good example of this would be having an open-door policy for employees to safely bring up issues they need clarifying, having casual meeting spaces for networking and connecting, or creating support groups.

It supports anonymised hiring

Anonymised hiring platforms are a functional and practical means of attracting more diverse hires and building a more inclusive workplace because they rely solely on applicant skills and problem-solving abilities that are relevant to the role. This mitigates the very real risks of unconscious bias in hiring practices by ensuring applications are anonymous, that candidates’ answers are randomised to guarantee fairness, that gendered language is removed from job postings, and that clients receive live data insights throughout the process. This delivers high-quality skills matches for your open roles from a much wider pool of talent.

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It supports and upholds diversity and inclusion in policies

Inclusion should be a clear element of organisational policy. This can include programs to support underrepresented groups, monitoring and measuring organisational diversity, and having policies in place to hold people accountable when violations occur. By having forward-thinking D&I policies and a clear track record of following through, an organisation can show that their D&I approach is meaningful, that they are truly committed to these principles, and that they take their values seriously.

Building an inclusive workplace starts with the right tools

Applied provides the technology that businesses need to create and support a meaningfully diverse and inclusive workplace. Our gender decoder tool empowers organisations to remove conscious and unconscious gendered language from job postings, suggesting gender-neutral alternatives that ensure that your postings attract the best quality candidates from a wider talent pool.

For additional information, you can also look at our
top job boards for gender diversity to support your hiring journey, or request a demo of our cutting-edge hiring platform.