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Reviewing your inclusivity strategy

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by Startacus Admin

Inclusivity Strategy
With so many good resources and activities taking place a couple of weeks ago during National Inclusion Week, we thought we'd wait a week or two to publish this article from Lisa Forde, MD of online stationery company Dotty about Paper.... after all business leaders should be reviewing their inclusivity strategies, all year round, not just for one week of the year.

Importance of Inclusion

As the owner of a small stationery business, Dotty about Paper, promoting inclusivity is something that’s very important to me. Many of our products cater to diverse groups,Dotty about Paper such as our same-sex wedding collections. Respect within my team is treated with equal importance. Even though we employ an all-female team, our staff includes women with different religious backgrounds, mental health needs, and minor disabilities; diversity comes in many forms.

When people know they can be themselves without being judged at work, they’re bound to perform at their best. Freeing diverse staff members of anxiety and fear of prejudice gives them to confidence to excel in their career.

An inclusive workplace also nurtures innovation and talent. By welcoming people of different views and backgrounds into your team, you’re also welcoming in their unique skills and ideas. This could lead to solutions and concepts that might become fantastic opportunities for growth within your business. It all starts with open communication lines and mutual respect.

Inclusion is clearly a significant subject for every business owner to consider. And, in addition to being the right thing to do, it’s also a legal requirement. The Equality Act gives every employer the obligation to ensure discrimination is not present in their company.

Eliminating Discrimination

Ending discrimination is not as simple as ensuring your team includes members from diverse backgrounds. Although this is certainly a good step to take, true inclusivity must focus on individuals. Don’t view people as categories or quotas to fill, see them as fellow workers within your company who can benefit the business.

Recognise that discrimination comes in many forms, some more subtle than others. For instance, many businesses shy away from employing women who indicate they want Inclusivity Strategyto start a family. Although such a decision may be made from a financial and disruptive viewpoint rather than a discriminatory one, it is still prejudiced; there is a danger that this way of thinking can seep further into workplace culture. Likewise, it’s worth checking how accessible your employee benefits are; do they cater exclusively to one specific group of people or are they available to those of diverse backgrounds?

Promoting teamwork and communication through meetings and teambuilding exercises can help everyone end discrimination within the workplace. A sense of unity, where everyone moves towards goals and has an equal share in the business’ productivity, will create an inclusive atmosphere. Exchanging ideas is bound to lead to good things, while shutting certain groups out of the conversation will only limit the pool of options and experiences.

Business owners can contribute to this by keeping ‘open door’ policies, ensuring staff members know they can raise any needs or concerns without worrying over the reception such issues might receive. I’ve kept this policy within my own company for many years, and my employees have utilised it to address matters of concern before they pose a real problem.

Furthermore, when dealing with a concerned employee, remember that inclusivity doesn’t mean everybody benefits from the exact same treatment. Diversity highlights how people have their own individual needs. Bear this in mind and work with your staff to find solutions that work best for them, treating their unique set of requirements with dignity. I pair my open-door approach with the opportunity for an honest discussion. In this way, I’ve been able to converse with my team members and find resolutions that take their needs into account. This stops underlying issues from damaging the business.  

Interested in similiar themed articles, you might also want to read up on:

Fairer Funding Now campaign calls for greater diversity in startups gaining investment

Applied - The recruitment platform to help you hire fairer

Ways to improve gender equality in the workplace


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Published on: 16th October 2018

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