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Inclusion promotes a sense of belonging among employees, more so when they have the skills business sectors look for. And with the geographical dispersion of the workforce, it wouldn’t be fair to rule someone’s potential out on a personal, or professional bias.
While hiring is all about finding the right people to fill in positions, keeping them has more to do with the measures you take to make them feel wanted, and make them aspire for more. Making your workplace inclusive and immersive is a win-win for employers and employees alike.
For one, it brings in multiple work perspectives that can help teams find a smarter way to get work done. And for another, it keeps your talent pool productive on the clock.
A satisfied employee does a better job of boosting the business reputation than a flyer or Linkedin post advertising future vacancies. They give you good press for free, ensuring future talent is encouraged to consider interviewing for your firm.
In other words, both current employees and the ones who eventually leave down the line would rate the work culture they work and/or worked in favorably.
Here are a few tips to stop you from seeing your workforce as just another cog in the wheel;
1. Visualize the workforce
Aligning your workforce with the business strategy is one of the most important objectives of a manager. Visualizing your workforce keeps you in focus of the company goals and lets you plan your actions accordingly.
Project resources can be planned better for projects with a better idea of the skill level and availability of your staff members.
One of the best ways to ensure skill-based tasks stay on track is through a resource scheduling tool. For one, it would help you sync employee and work schedules easily.
This would give you visibility into the skill-matches assigned and lets you adjust existing allocations. You can also predict work influxes that need to be staffed in the future and estimate costs to the company to source prospective hires.
2. Redesign workplaces
For the workplace to be really inclusive, it has to accommodate the variety of requirements that your team members would have. Specially-abled employees would require some changes in your regular office infrastructure.
This would mean installing ramps for wheelchair-access as a basic facility. For the visually impaired, you can encourage the usage of screen-reading software, incorporating Braille and using special paths in common areas.
The main tenet behind designing such an inclusive workplace would be to make sure that specially-abled employees have freedom of movement without drawing unwanted attention.
Ensuring your staff is comfortable in their work environment enables them to remain productive on the clock. Therefore, the general office design has an important role to play as well. Measures like installing ramps, mood lighting, noise-free zones, and break rooms would make your employees function better at work.
3. Offer flexible work options
As you move up professionally, it’s inevitable that your responsibilities would increase. When more is expected out of you, it gets harder to maintain a balance between your personal life and work. An overloaded timetable can stress out an otherwise competent employee, which in turn impacts their productivity and efficiency in the long run as well.
As a manager, you can diffuse this situation to a large extent by introducing flexible work hours. Working from home allows your staff to log in early and catch up on the tasks for the day, and week. Not only does it help employees manage their time and work responsibilities but also encourages them to collaborate seamlessly across offices.
Start by having a discussion with your employees on work timings that they would be comfortable with. You can also introduce telecommuting for remote projects and resources.
4. Regularize feedback
Feedback is essential for maintaining a healthy and efficient workspace. Feedback sessions should be carried out from time to time so that expectations are set, and projects are completed efficiently and on time.
Proper feedback can also help in motivating people in their work, and help employees get a proper sense of direction. Checking in on your staff for issues would also help you to respond proactively
A survey questionnaire is the most basic and simplest ways to understand what your staff thinks of you. You can also opt for a feedback tool of some sort for larger teams. For a truly interactive process and resolving issues, one-to-one feedback sessions are your best bet.
You can set aside a date and time to give, and receive feedback. It would be good practice and also set a great example if you reward honesty with financial and non-financial incentives.
5. Encourage collaborative contribution
No one is perfect. Similarly, your resources cannot work in silos and give the best solution for all your projects. Collaboration between team members can help provide better project solutions while building team camaraderie.
This can be an especially beneficial activity if you are following the agile method of working, for example, using Kanban boards or Scrum. These new methods usually incorporate collaboration and brainstorming among team members on a regular basis.
Even if your organization does not follow agile methodologies, you can still include collaboration in the way you work. You can encourage people to brainstorm from time to time. You can also put them in teams to complete assigned tasks, helping them build cohesion.
6. Invest in cultural sensitivity programs
To offer a harmonious environment for your employees, you need to make sure that they are really in tune with each other. Acceptance of differences and appreciation of different cultures and skills can be an important way the employees connect with each other.
There are some practices you can explore at your workplace which would help you bring your employees close to each other. Some of these steps including special training sessions on cultural sensitivity. This would help them lead confidently in a global economy like them. Business communication, among others, are bound to improve as a result.
Office retreats may also be planned in other locations in order to improve your staff’s knowledge of global diversity. If your clients speak in languages other than English, train your employees to pick up certain phrases to improve communication. This will also help your clients build relatability with the staff and your company.
7. Rehire boomerang talent
Think about this: You spent quite a bit of time in training your team and maintain an effective work model. And then some team members leave. One of them comes back after some time and wants to rejoin your team. What do you do? Do you reject the application, or rehire them?
Your staff may leave the company for a number of reasons, such as career goals and better compensation among others. And if they are choosing to come back and rejoin the company, it might be a good thing for your team.
With the background of working in the company, and the experience gained outside, your employees can add more value to your projects. And that is why employing former staff members is increasingly becoming popular among companies. Such a move also establishes employee goodwill in the long run as well.
How do you make workplaces more inclusive for your employees? Let us know in the comments below.