Three Building Blocks To Create A More Inclusive Work Environment

“Diversity is the mix. Inclusion is making the mix work.” — Andres Tapia, global diversity & inclusion solutions leader, Korn Ferry Hay Group

Now that you’ve enhanced your recruiting and hiring processes to build a team which reflects diverse perspectives and experiences, you’re done, right? Well, not exactly. There’s more to be completed before your organization can fully reap the financial and cultural benefits of a diverse team.

The next step is to add inclusion to the mix. This means creating an environment in which new and current team members feel safe, welcomed, engaged and excited about their abilities to contribute to the success of your company.

Here are three building blocks to help you build a healthy, inclusive and productive work environment:

Assess and communicate
Self-reflection is an important first step toward developing a truly inclusive organizational culture. Be honest with yourself, be aware of your biases and refuse to rely exclusively on your personal thoughts and your inner circle for feedback.

Instead, work with your current team to define what a welcoming and inclusive workplace feels like, then determine what’s already working well and what changes may need to take place to get to where you aspire to be.

Also, be crystal clear about why you are seeking to build a diverse team, what changes to expect and what you, as a leader, expect of your team as you work toward this goal.

Create an exceptional onboarding experience
A clear understanding of company culture, benefits, policies, goals and objectives will not only help new employees understand the importance of diversity and inclusion at your organization, it will also help position them for future success in their role.

Enhance your onboarding process by assigning new employees an experienced and engaged workplace buddy. A buddy ensures that these individuals have someone to talk to during the first — sometimes stressful — weeks of a new job.

Check the pulse of your efforts
You may have the right intentions, but you need to confirm that these intentions are truly being manifested through your company’s work environment, culture, values and processes. For new employees, consider meeting at the 30, 60 and 90-day milestones.

For the rest of your team, consider using employee engagement tools such as Talmetrix or Tiny Pulse to routinely evaluate how individuals feel about what’s going on in the company.

If you spot concerns during the evaluation process, listen and take action quickly. As a leader, you are accountable for setting the tone and modeling company values, so be sure to leverage your voice and influence by speaking up.

Like building a new business, or developing a new product or service, building a diverse and inclusive workplace is an iterative process. Be patient — there will always be fine tuning that needs to take place, as is the case with everything you do in today’s dynamic business environment. The rewards are worth the effort.

This post originally appeared in Smart Business Magazine on January 29, 2018