After many years of workplace issues being swept under the rug, the importance of inclusion in the professional world has become a hot button societal topic in recent years. It’s vital for the success of your company to be all-inclusive, especially to those who identify as a member of a marginalized people group. As a leader within the company, you’re responsible for creating and fostering an atmosphere of inclusion. But what does inclusion look like, and how do we make it a reality?
No matter how much any of us would like to deny the fact, biases exist. Whether we’re referring to biases within ourselves or inside the businesses where we work, for us to reverse the damage that these biases have caused, we must acknowledge their presence. For instance, employees who do not identify as heterosexual, Caucasian males have acknowledged that they feel as though they have to alter their professional identity in order to survive in their professional world. The fact that this sort of environment exists is not an indictment against your company, but it does mean that if you are striving to create a multi-cultural, multinational business you have to find a way to beat that sort of feeling within your minority employees.
Recognize the Need for Inclusion
Not only is inclusion the morally correct stance to take, but the future of your business hinges on your ability to adapt to an ever-changing culture. A recent U.S. Bureau report indicates that demographics are greatly changing within the nation, which means that your business needs to reflect that change. Customers are drawn to businesses that reflect who they are; if your business is going to be a long-term success, you need the company you’re running to be identifiable with your customer base.
Removing your personal biases is a challenging process, but it is one that will be rewarding both personally and professionally. Not only is it crucial that you find a way to eliminate your personal biases during the hiring process, but when you take a long, hard look at your company to evaluate what you could be doing better, you’ll have to start with the demographics that make up the leadership within your corporation. If there’s an area where your biases have created a discrepancy it’s up to you to rectify the situation and make sure everyone experiences inclusion in their workplace.