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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Above all...listen

The way an individual aligns to the workplace is defined by their behaviours. What do your behaviours say about you?

Inclusion can be defined as the extent to which everyone at work, regardless of their background, identity or circumstance, feels valued, accepted and supported to succeed at work. Inclusion is grounded in the values of the organisation, in the culture or in ‘the way we do things round here’.

Here are some areas where you can take action to build inclusion and change behaviours:

  • Commitment at senior level - leaders set the tone for the organisation and should role model inclusive behaviours which emulate the values of the organisation and what it stands for. An inclusive leader seeks out the views of employees and listens to them taking account of their views without bias; they appreciate that a diverse group of people will generate more creative solutions to problems; they inspire employees with a shared vision and motivate them to achieve it; they provide positive feedback to boost productivity and build self esteem and personal effectiveness and they communicate authentically and honesty to inspire trust and loyalty.

  • Fair policies and procedures - should facilitate all employees to progress and participate with their unique perspective being valued. This area should include informal and formal mechanisms for employees to feedback, contribute, engage and be heard. Policies should support specific groups and their needs.

  • Line management capability - policies and procedures need to be brought to life and implemented by line managers who are consistent and fair in their application of the framework. Line managers should be empowered to challenge behaviour that excludes, marginalises or diminishes any individual.

  • Organisation - involve all employees and ensure they are treated with dignity and respect, feel part of a network and processes that allow everyone to have influence, and actively take feedback to continue to improve.

  • Culture and values - genuinely value individual differences and see these as a positive. Ensure practice reflects inclusion.

Here are two actions to start your journey to being more inclusive:

  1. Listen - How well do you listen to employees? What can you do to develop greater listening skills where you really seek to listen and understand?

  2. Feedback - How can you get more feedback from employees? Do you need to run a survey? Can you make good use of time at team meetings for discussion and reflection, rather than delivering information and focusing on tasks? Can you set up a network or focus group with the specific aim of understanding more from employees on key topics or proposed change?

Achieving a fully inclusive workplace is a mindset that requires change and adaptability and the dynamics of the workforce will be the driving force behind the mechanisms used to create inclusivity.

How inclusive is your organisation? Are you listening to your employees and receiving feedback? What action plans are in place to change the 'way we do things around here' to achieve an inclusive workforce.

Effective Listener Questionnaire
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