Inclusivity or inclusion training is a form of corporate training for employees, supervisors, and employers. It aims to inculcate togetherness in organizations. Inclusivity training teaches employees to work and collaborate with different abilities, races, backgrounds, sexual orientations, caste, identity, and sex. It helps employees unlearn unconscious bias and promotes equity at the workplace.
While most organizations today actively hire and encourage a diverse workforce, discrimination persists. Working effectively with people of different backgrounds can often result in a hierarchy. For instance, women are making progress in the workplace. However, women of color have a long way to go. Women of color in the US represent only 4% of C-Level positions in 2018. This is lower than both white men (68%) and white women (19%).
Discrimination at the workplace stems from multiple reasons. In such cases, having a diverse workforce is not enough. Diverse workforces often result in the alienation of marginalized groups. It can also lead to microaggression at the workplace.
Although often used synonymously with diversity, inclusion has a different meaning. Inclusivity refers to the behavior and actions of employees who make marginalized groups feel welcome. It also refers to any steps taken by the company which can promote inclusion at the workplace.
Diversity, however, refers to the traits, identity, and characteristics of a person. Even if an organization has a diverse workforce, it can still perpetuate discrimination. This can eventually lead to the creation of toxic work culture. Inclusivity, on the other hand, acts as a bridge for better employee engagement.
The US is one of 81 countries that prohibits discrimination in the workplace due to sexual orientation. However, 20% of LGBTQIA+ employees have faced discrimination. Of these, 32% were LGBTQIA+ people of color. 22% of LGBTQIA+ employees have received lower wages than their peers.
Statistics make it evident that diversity is not the end goal of an organization. While companies have improved their policies, it is not enough to make the workplace inclusive. Inclusivity is an intention that is included in policies. It fills the loopholes left by diversity in the workplace.
Inclusiveness stems from feeling valued. It creates a strong sense of commitment in employees. Inclusivity boosts the morale of employees. It promotes a sense of belonging in the workplace. Inclusive workplaces create a safe work environment. Employees need to introspect their behavior to identify unconscious bias.
Any workforce recruitment is the key to promoting inclusivity. Human resource professionals need to be more informed about inclusive recruitment programs. Inclusivity training could be imparted to recruits during onboarding. Making recruitment marketing campaigns is a huge part of promoting inclusivity. For instance, using diverse models for marketing creates a positive image for the brand. This attracts top-tier talents from across the globe.
Job descriptions can be destigmatized as they can be a vehicle for unconscious bias. New HR policies can be implemented to spread awareness about inclusivity at the workplace.
Addressing discrimination at the workplace is the first step towards inclusion. An organization must be prepared to handle non-inclusive behavior. This can involve offensive language, gestures, and actions. Non-inclusive behavior might be unintentional. For instance, commenting that the hairstyle of Black women is unprofessional. It might result from deep-seated bias or a sense of entitlement.
For example, if a superior force advances on a junior. Non-inclusive behavior can also result from wage gaps. Hence, encouraging employees to report non-inclusive behavior is an important step for firms. It shows that the firm accepts its accountability for the problem.
Most companies do not realize that diversity is not a checklist for accountability. This is why there is a hierarchy in the workplace that privileges a certain background. In several cases, the company might hire more women. However, it does not encourage women to become leaders. This makes diversity and inclusivity a pipeline dream for companies.
Encouraging employees of all backgrounds to take leadership roles boosts business growth. It empowers employees and opens fresh perspectives during the brainstorming process.
Obsolete company policies can do more harm to the company. It is important to keep updating company policies to make them inclusive. This includes changing the language and adding all pronouns to official documents. The company can also hire a chief diversity officer to help with D&I initiatives.
Managers need to be sensitized to issues of discrimination. Very often, discrimination requires quick action. In such a case, the manager must be trained to resolve any conflict. Managers and superiors need to know how to investigate such matters. Moreover, teaching managers to identify bias promotes inclusivity. This involves a thorough understanding of both explicit and implicit bias in the workplace.
Furthermore, managers should be taught to introspect their behaviors. Inclusivity training for managers is especially crucial. This is because managers are usually in a position of power and can take action.
Inclusivity is a long-term goal. It cannot be changed overnight because of institutionalized discrimination. It is therefore important to measure the progress of inclusivity at the workplace. This could include tangible results such as delegating better high-value work to marginalized groups. Or participation of more employees in brainstorming, problem-solving, and executive decisions.
Watertight policies that make non-inclusive behavior a punishable offense are another way of measuring progress. Moreover, one could also renovate the office space by incorporating Inclusive Design. Reducing ableist culture at the workplace is another milestone for an organization.
It is difficult for companies to tackle inclusivity problems. Discrimination can be overt or unintentional. This makes it difficult to identify non-inclusive behavior at the workplace. An inclusivity training program will engage experienced counselors. It enables employees to protect their civil rights at the workplace.
Since the world is a global marketplace, having a diverse workforce is a necessity. It opens borders across nations and helps tap into a wider talent pool for organizations. However, inclusivity is just as important. Most organizations do not focus on inclusivity training. It is, however, pivotal to the working of an organization.
Inclusivity training can effectively boost business. It improves both employee morale and productivity, which improves performance. Inclusion training reduces feelings of isolation in marginalized groups. This consequently reduces absenteeism at the workplace.
Here is how inclusivity training can help your business:
Inclusion training is indispensable today for organizations seeking to expand globally. Organizations cannot get away by checking the diversity card. Their responsibility and accountability extend to safeguarding their employees at the workplace. Inclusivity training empowers employees and boosts commitment. This improves the company’s performance and scalability. Thus, inclusivity training is a win-win situation for both employers and employees.