Leadership

4 Actionable Steps to Create an Inclusive Work Environment

As leaders in the industry, it’s crucial that we create an equally empowering workplace culture for every team member. Here are four actionable steps towards making the workplace a more positive experience for everyone:

Approach hiring by focusing on “Culture-Add” instead of “Culture Fit”

Rather than searching for new employees within your existing network, consider casting your hiring net a bit further afield to find new talent with a different set of experiences. Research shows that a homogeneous workforce will simply continue to generate and reinforce the same ideas, while a group of diverse perspectives can create innovative solutions that better serve your customers and company. In order to help you avoid making hiring decisions motivated by an unconscious similarity bias, consider the following practices:

  • Remove the candidate’s name and education from preliminary resume reviews to eliminate your brain’s tendency to assign certain stereotypes based on your own experiences or assumptions.
  • Develop a standard set of interview questions for each candidate, so that everyone has an equal opportunity.

Seek out Different Opinions and Perspectives

To reduce the likelihood that business decisions will be influenced by our confirmation biases, make a conscious effort to engage with people whose opinions challenge your own. These unique perspectives are invaluable to a sound decision-making process, as they encourage you to consider alternative angles that may have been otherwise overlooked. As the demographics of the American consumer continue to shift, organizations will benefit from internal representation that is reflective of the population. Consider all employee input and opinions with equal weight, and then use data-driven research to help you make a truly objective decision.

Identify Internal Stereotyping

To find evidence of perception bias in your organization, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What are the demographics of your team?
  2. What are the demographics of the C-suite?
  3. How many BIPOC, women, or LGBTQ+ employees were promoted to leadership positions compared to the number of white males during the same period of time?

Research shows that most of us subconsciously believe that tall white men are better equipped to be leaders compared to employees with similar skills but different physical characteristics. If your answers to these questions evidence a disparity between promotion of equally qualified individuals, it may be time to reconsider the perception biases that informed those decisions.

Consider Unconscious Bias Training

Leaders who are ready to prioritize diversity and inclusion should also consider Implicit Bias Training Programs, in which expert consultants help employees self-identify negative subconscious beliefs and the harmful consequences they create in the workplace. Leadership participation is vital to the success of any Implicit Bias Training initiative; if employees see their CEO actively working towards creating a more conscious environment at work, the positive effects will be felt throughout the entire organization.