BW 7 Promoting Inclusion in the Remote Work Environment | BrainWorks
03/23/2021

Promoting Inclusion in the Remote Work Environment

For many employers, the switch to remote work is here to stay. While this poses a range of challenges, it doesn’t mean your organization needs to put inclusivity efforts on hold. In fact, by being sure of the benefits of inclusion and having a clear plan of action, companies are finding they can sustain and grow inclusion in the workplace. Here are some steps to help you promote inclusion in the virtual environment.

Embrace Benefits of Inclusion

Having an inclusive, diverse team comes with many benefits. Inclusion improves employee engagement and morale, as well as the commitment to the company and its mission. When employees feel like they belong to a team, they take more ownership of their work. They gain a sense of pride in their employer, and this results in better outcomes. Also, companies committed to having a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion see an impact on their bottom lines. According to McKinsey research, “Companies in the top-quartile for ethnic/cultural diversity on executive teams were 33% more likely to have industry-leading profitability”.

Start with Your Hiring Strategy

To have an inclusive workplace, you need an inclusive hiring strategy. First, you need to make sure your job listings, images, and descriptions appeal to diverse candidates. Descriptions will have broader appeal if they focus on outcomes instead of job duties and avoid exclusionary language. If you want to have a diverse reach, keep in mind where and how you post about job openings. Candidates with different backgrounds and characteristics may use various resources to learn about employment opportunities.

It may also be helpful to look at the make-up of your hiring team. Viyas Sundaram, Chief Revenue Officer at Snagajob suggests, “The drawback when you rely on the social network of a non-diverse staff is homogenization.” One of the most effective ways to recruit more diversity into your team is to make your hiring team more diverse. Minority candidates want to see other people like themselves represented in the company. This step can neutralize some of the unconscious biases that lead HR departments to hire like-minded candidates.

Encourage Asking Questions

Open-mindedness is an essential component of an inclusive work environment. To foster inclusivity, you and your employees need to consider other people’s perspectives, challenge personal biases or assumptions they may have, and remain receptive to learning about other people’s cultures and experiences. Humility is also necessary. There’s a lot we don’t know about people’s experiences different from us, so it is helpful to admit where you have opportunities to learn and educate yourself to fill those gaps actively. Asking questions is especially important in a remote environment because there are fewer opportunities for employees to talk to one another and share their experiences.

The shift toward remote workers that many organizations have experienced can disrupt or improve inclusion initiatives. As a leader, you can make remote work environments more inclusive by embracing the benefits of inclusion, removing bias from the hiring process, encouraging an inquisitive and understanding environment, centering diverse voices in group settings, and taking the time to learn about the unique experiences and backgrounds of your team members.

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