Tips for making your organisation more inclusive

To have a team that is welcoming and inclusive you need to recruit the right people, employees who are smart, generous, and kind are more likely to be tolerant towards other.

To achieve a diverse friendly workforce, it is important that leaders model the behaviours of inclusion in all its forms. When dealing with stakeholders if leaders are welcoming and respectful it is likely that that will cause other members of the team to behaviour in a similar manner.

Let’s look at other ways you can create a more inclusive team.

Watch the first video in this series here:

Part 1 – Theory: What makes people prejudiced?

And watch the previous video here:

Part 5 – What style of leadership promotes inclusiveness?

And if you know of anyone who would benefit from this video, please share it with them.

Video Transcript

Hi, Andrew from SACS and welcome to video number six in our six video series on inclusion and how to create a highly inclusive workforce.

So we started with a theory about inclusion and what causes people to be prejudiced, and we’re able to demonstrate that that theory was correct and the idea is that there are characteristics which are natural characteristics, such as personality and cognitive ability, which contribute to people’s inclusiveness or their prejudice and then we turned our attention to organisations and the last video focused on leadership for tolerance and inclusion.

So how to use your leadership skills to cause people to be tolerant and inclusive.

So this video, which finishes the sequence, is all about some techniques, some tips about how to make your team and organisation more tolerant and inclusive.

We’re going to show you a range of techniques about how to make your workplace more inclusive and these are evidence-based techniques which have been used by a range of different organisations, but have been researched and shown to have good efficacy.

Recruitment

And the first one we’re going to be talking about is recruiting people who are likely to be tolerant.

So if you watched the videos which focus on this topic in the earlier parts of this sequence, smart people, generous and kind people, people who are tolerant to other people, people who are not massive self doubters, because it turns out that where people are very significant self doubters, particularly let’s say if they have lower cognitive ability, they’re not very smart, and in particular, mix in a little bit of anger, those types of people will tend to be very intolerant.

And then we also talked about values. Personality and cognitive ability heavily genetically determined, but values are learned in the course of life. And so when people have learned values that are all about welcoming, inclusion, tolerance, of course, they act more that way.

So recruitment is technique number one.

Leadership

Then leadership.

Leaders need to model the behaviours of inclusion and that’s inclusion in all its forms.

So it’s where leaders are acting personally as though they’re friendly and welcoming to other people when they come to their business unit.

When they’re out dealing with stakeholders, modelling the behaviours of welcoming, of respect.

Now, that will cause people to be more likely to respect people generally, but as well as that, leaders really need to model the behaviours of inclusion towards ethnic diversity, gender, disability, ageing, lifestyle, all of those kinds of things.

So if leaders are modelling that behaviour, it’s far more likely that the staff will then also model those behaviours.

So leadership in its modelling capability is very powerful.

Facilitative leadership

Then, facilitative leadership.

In the last video, we talked about facilitative leadership where we don’t just tell people, as leaders, this is what you should do.

We cause them to be active in coming up with ways of making the workplace more inclusive.

So we lead them through a facilitation process where they come up with ideas, we support those ideas and we enact those ideas, particularly if we can get the staff themselves to lead initiatives in this respect.

Inclusion Council

One of the things that many organisations have done is to create an inclusion council.

You can call this a range of different things, whatever you want to call it and in fact, I would suggest that if you pull together a group like this, one of the things that’s really important to do is don’t choose the people as leaders, also don’t use volunteers, choose people who are nominated by their colleagues to join this group.

So you’d send out a communication and you’d say something like, we want to create an inclusion council. We want to create an inclusion group.

We want people to nominate people who they think would be good representatives of the organisation in this respect.

And so when those people are nominated, then what you do is you lead them through a process where they say, “All right, well what are we going to be called?” Why nominate, why determine what they’re going to be called? Why not ask them to do that?

And then set some goals, get them to set some goals for the organisation in respect of inclusion and then get them to come up with some ideas as to how that inclusion might be played out.

Now, one of the things that will be very powerful about this, is because these people have been nominated from their colleagues, they tend to go back to their work groups between meetings.

I mean, this is not something that will be done with just one meeting, it’s a kind of an ongoing activity.

You know, they might meet once a month or something like that, but what they’ll tend to do is, because they go back to the various parts of the organisation that nominated them, then they will interact with their colleagues and bring the suggestions of their colleagues back to this group.

What’s a good number.

Well, I don’t know why people err on the side of small.

If you’ve got an organisation of 1000 people, I mean, maybe this would be 100 people, maybe it would be people from all different areas.

If you want change to happen, change rarely happens well from a small group of experts.

t’s better to have a wide group of people who are representative of their colleagues, because people tend to be influenced more effectively by people that they consider to be colleagues.

Goal setting

Facilitate a process of goal setting in relation to inclusion.

Madera and Colleagues certainly found that that was a very powerful way of increasing the levels of inclusiveness.

Set smart goals in effect.

You know that smart goals might be numerical. How many people of this type are we going have?

Let’s say in Australia, there’s an issue about trying to recruit indigenous employees and making sure that there’s good representation. In Australia, about 3% of the population is indigenous.

So if your workforce is less than 3%, well maybe you’re going to aim for 3%.

Perspective taking

Another powerful form of increasing inclusiveness, is perspective taking.

Perspective taking is kind of a mindfulness activity.

Mindfulness of course, is where we are trying to see things from other perspectives and try to be really in the here and now on a particular issue.

Across the world in recent history, over the past 200 years, there’s been a marked decline in the amount of wars, murder, those kinds of active violence.

And there’s been lots of questions about why this has happened.

One of the things that’s often cited as a cause for this, is a thing called the civilising influence.

The civilising influence is things like cleanliness, but it’s also things like empathy.

Now, if you empathise with somebody, you are far less likely to do them ill.

And in fact, what people often do who want to do other people ill, is that they’ll come up with terminology for them that dehumanises them to distance us from them and to distance me and my followers from them.

So for instance, where people are called rats or vermin or something like that, what that does is that it puts a barrier between us so I don’t empathise with them, because they’re different from me, right?

Now, the alternative is to turn that on its head and specifically seek to perspective take with them.

And that’s a matter of being mindful about what their life is like.

So you can imagine if we are talking about a person from a certain ethnic background and we want to be more tolerant from an ethnic point of view, what a great thing to do is perspective taking, because what you would do is that you, let’s say Sri Lanka, you would get people from Sri Lanka within your workforce to tell us about their culture, to tell us how they feel about the various social events that they have, the various religious festivals, whatever they might be, whatever characterises their culture.

It gives you an opportunity to perspective take on their behalf. And that also might be where you get people to tell us how they feel when they’re being treated in a racist fashion or being excluded from something on the basis of lifestyle or ethnicity or whatever.

So when people perspective take with other people, they empathise with them and that makes them far better at understanding their situation and also acting well towards them.

So perspective taking is a great thing to build into your inclusion activities.

Recognition programmes

One of the things that some organisations do, is that they develop inclusion recognition processes, which is to say if you’ve got an inclusion council or an inclusion group, maybe that group you asked them, well, how should we recognise people who are doing things in favour of inclusion?

Is it a matter of recognition from people within the organisation or is it something that we should do which is broader than that?

But having a recognition programme that, in effect, recognises people’s efforts towards inclusion and that might be educating their colleagues or it might be doing kind things or whatever.

If you come up with a recognition programme, we all know that recognition programmes, particularly where they’re nominated and awarded by colleagues rather than just the bosses, those types of inclusion programmes or those types of recognition programmes can be very powerful.

They will change people’s behaviours.

So there are some practical tips about how to make your workplace more inclusive.

We hope that this video series has been of help to you and we also hope that it helps you to create a more inclusive and welcoming workplace.

Watch the first video in this series to find out more about creating a diversity friendly workforce:

Part 1 – Theory: What makes people prejudiced?

And watch the previous video here:

Part 5 – What style of leadership promotes inclusiveness?

And if you’d like some help to ensure your next hire is tolerant, contact us about our Psychometric Assessments.

SACS Consulting
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