Diversity and inclusion have increasingly been a topic of conversation among businesses in 2020, but the goal to create an inclusive workplace is not a new trend. According to a Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace increased by 74% from 2015 to 2018.
In order for diversity initiatives to truly succeed, organizations need the foundation of an inclusive workplace culture. But, what does it mean to have an inclusive workplace?
Inclusion relates to a sense of belonging and the psychological safety of your employees to bring their whole selves to work. An inclusive workplace recognizes and celebrates differences among employees and cultivates a space with both formal and informal processes, interactions, and resources with equity and diversity in mind.
Creating an inclusive work environment for deskless industries can be challenging, because each region, store, or location can have its own set of values and culture. But, restaurant, retail, hospitality, and manufacturing are some of the country’s most diverse industries. Integrating inclusive processes throughout an organization can instill greater trust from employees. In fact, studies show that inclusive workplaces are often associated with higher employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
Enable Inclusion with Technology
If your organization doesn’t have a diversity and inclusion program, developing one can feel daunting. However, the right technology can help unlock channels that encourage top-down, bottom-up, and peer-to-peer communication that encourage a sense of belonging.
For example, Konverse was designed to unite your deskless workforce and has several features that can be used to cultivate inclusion at your organization:
Below you’ll find four ways technology can encourage and amplify an inclusive culture at your organization.
Provide Multiple Avenues of Communication with Chat
Chat offers quick ways to communicate with fellow team members. It is a great option for teams with varying communication styles, both extroverted and introverted. It also gives users with different primary languages the time to send messages and reduces pressure that can occur on phone calls and in-person conversations.
By providing multiple avenues of communication to your employees, you acknowledge that team members can have different communication needs and that you are committed to providing equitable and flexible options that set everyone up for success.
Demonstrate Active Listening Using Feedback Loops and Surveys
To create an inclusive work environment, leadership must create opportunities for its staff to be heard. Platforms that offer surveys and form submissions are a great low-barrier solution to solicit feedback from employees.
It’s essential that employees have the option to confidentially submit concerns and feedback. Operators should also regularly share this feedback and lay out how it is being used to make improvements within the organization. Creating a feedback loop, when acknowledged and used to initiate change, helps employees feel heard and supported.
Commit to Ongoing Learning with Training and Resource Centers
Diversity, inclusion, and equity are topics that require ongoing learning because our understanding of them continue to evolve. Investing time in developing a resource center focused on inclusion signals a commitment to creating a safe workplace for employees.
These programs can include internal training that helps employees work better together as well as skills-building to help employees become more empathetic and effective in their customer-facing roles.
Create an Open Dialogue with Your Digital Workplace
If your team is not ready to create a robust inclusion training program, you can still designate a digital workplace to share articles, videos, and other content. In doing so, leadership sets a precedent that these topics matter and are worth learning about.
A platform that supports newsfeeds and allows both operators and individual staff members to post content invites dialogue and creates opportunities for employees to meaningfully connect to one another.
This tech also supports user profiles, which can be a great opportunity to add details about oneself (think: pronouns) to signal that the organization embraces diverse identities.
Encouraging Inclusion at Your Business
Diversity initiatives cannot be effective without instilling inclusion into company culture. Leaders must prioritize inclusion through open communication, employee feedback, ongoing learning, and trust-building. When done well, diverse talent is more attracted to the organization, teams feel a greater sense of community, and employees develop trust with the company. The right technology cannot be the whole answer to developing an inclusive workplace, but it is a key piece of the puzzle to encourage dialogue, share ideas, and celebrate diversity.