Our ability to reach unity in diversity will be the beauty and the test of our civilization. – Mahatma Gandi

Diversity and inclusion are major focuses for many organizations in today’s work environment. There is a growing awareness that developing workplace diversity has benefits for organizations such as better productivity and financial performance. It is important to remember that increasing diversity doesn’t always equate to an inclusive culture. To promote inclusion, employees need to believe they matter and are important. There are many strategies organizations can employ which could support inclusion in the workplace. Organizations are encouraged to evaluate the various types of training’s available and identify which type best meets the needs of their organization and best fits with their organizational culture.

Unconscious Bias Training. One strategy to improve inclusion is to support training for all staff and leaders in “unconscious bias”. Unconscious bias training aims to set the tone for mutual understanding among diverse groups of employees. A setting where true dialogue can occur is supported with the hopes that a foundation for an inclusive culture can begin.

Organizational Purpose. Diversity and inclusion initiatives should include support to develop employee workplace engagement. Some of the most successful initiatives focus on aligning the organization with a purpose. When employees feel their organization has a clear purpose, the purpose has the ability to resonate with its employees. When employees connect with their organization and purpose, they become more engaged in the workplace.

Healthy Work Environments. Another successful engagement strategy is to promote healthy initiatives in the workplace. Ensuring healthy snacks, healthy interactions, and healthy workspaces are available in the workplace promotes mental and physical wellbeing. When employees are supported in living a healthy lifestyle, they can better achieve work-life balance.

Recognition Programs. Another strategy which promotes inclusion is to ensure the organization has clear and ongoing recognition programs. Recognition programs should be frequent and ongoing. They do not need to be expensive or elaborate. They can consist of a simple thank you card with a small gift. Also, they should highlight the individual and their contribution to the organization.

Inclusion Workgroup. Another strategy which promotes inclusion is to develop a workgroup which meets regularly to develop and implement some of these strategies.

Each of these strategies should be evaluated to determine which best fits with your workplace culture. Employees could be surveyed to determine which strategies they support implementing and collect ideas on how to implement. By opening the lines of communication, everyone is being included in the development of workplace inclusion. While many organizations may question whether some of these initiatives may not be effective, it is important to remember the process of reaching workplace inclusion is not a destination, it is a journey.

About the Author

Dr. Manning graduated from LSUHSC School of Nursing with her BSN in 2000, her Masters in nursing in 2007, and Doctorate of nursing science in 2014. She is a Board Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist. She serves as the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Nursing Programs. She has conducted research in nursing education, leadership, in clinical nursing work environments. She has numerous publications in nursing and research journals.

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