Published October 27, 2020
How to make your business more inclusive
The importance of inclusivity in business is something that we cannot ignore. More than 150 large companies in the UK are still not hitting leadership targets when it comes to gender equality and Black, Asian and minority ethnic people are still greatly underrepresented in senior positions. These statistics are a mere glimpse into the inclusivity issues that are apparent in workplaces. As a business leader, you need to take responsibility for creating an inclusive environment for not only your employees but also for your customers and audience. There are a few practical ways you can place inclusivity at the forefront of your business activities.
Acknowledge bias and inequality
Perhaps the very first step in rectifying any problem is acknowledging its existence. We would be naive to think that bias and inequality aren’t completely absent from any workplace. Look at your business objectively, can you see room for improvement or potential issues that may be present? Are there under representations of ceratin groups in your company? By identifying these areas for improvement you can develop a plan of action and become more mindful of these issues in future.
When looking to improve inclusivity it’s vital that you educate yourself on the issues and struggles of underrepresented groups. There is always more to learn and the only way we can create positive change to be aware. Diving into these topics will help you understand the injustices that certain groups face and, in turn, how you can implement and promote inclusivity. A great way to do this to simply take some time to read or listen to an audiobook or podcast, or even watch a documentary or film on the subject. Here are our recommendations.
- Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race – Reni Eddo-Lodge
- #MeToo In the Corporate World – Sylvia Ann Hewlett
- Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men – Caroline Criado Perez
- Identity Politics
- Queering Desi
- Women’s Hour Daily
- Disclosure: Trans Lives on Screen
Create inclusive marketing content
As well as being more inclusive in the workplace, you need to ensure that you’re creating inclusive communication with your audience. Representation is a hot topic in advertising and social media marketing, and for good reason. It’s human nature to seek representation, to seek out others that are like us and those who reflect our values. When creating visual marketing material think about the kind of people you feature. Does your brand speak to those with disabilities or those from minority groups? Appealing to more people can only benefit your business. In fact, studies have shown that businesses who have higher diversity scores in terms of marketing material show an 83% higher consumer preference than those with lower representation. Not only is portraying diversity in your marketing a positive thing to do from a social perspective it’s also invaluable for business.
Keep inclusivity at the forefront of leadership activities
It’s your responsibility as a leader to ensure that your team feel included and comfortable within their working environment. It all starts with communication, listening and communicating effectively. Taking on the thoughts and opinions of those from diverse backgrounds/ circumstances will only enrich your workplace and business efforts. It will help all employees feel valued and empowered thus, creating a positive and inclusive working environment. Try conducting collaborative team discussion sessions and encourage everyone to contribute, making them aware that their voices will be heard. Find out more about effective leadership here.
Think about diversity when hiring
Shockingly, while speaking to The Guardian, an IT recruiter recalled occasions where colleagues had told him to not contact Candidates with “African sounding names” claiming these people were “a complete waste of time”. Unfortunately, these prejudice views are still apparent in workplaces therefore it is vital that, as a business leader, you keep diversity and inclusive hiring at the forefront of your recruitment activities.
Having a diversity recruitment strategy is not only morally justified it also opens up more opportunities to enhance your business such as attracting a more varied pool of candidates, people with varied language skills and cultural awareness and those with more diverse skills and knowledge. The results speak for themselves. Businesses with more diverse management teams report 19% higher revenues and 67% of job seekers say a diverse workforce makes a business more attractive to be a part of. A few ways in which you can develop a diversity recruitment strategy are:
- Offer internships to target groups
- Consider anonymous CVs
- Advertise on diverse job boards
- Highlight the importance of diversity on your recruitment webpage
- Organise diversity recruitment training sessions
How accessible is your workplace
As an able-bodied person is can be difficult to notice every day obstacles for those who live with a disability. With Disabled people being twice as likely to be unemployed than non-disabled people it’s vital that your workplace is as accessible as it can be. Does your building have a lift? If not how would a wheelchair user access the building? Are facilities such as toilets clearly signposted for those who are visually impaired? Can modifications be easily made to suit individual needs? You can learn more about how you can make your workplace more accessible here.
Ultimately, creating a more inclusive business will only enrich business efforts and create positive social change. Put yourself in the place of your employees or potential hires and think to yourself, do I feel welcome? Do I feel included? Do I feel seen and heard?