Feb 12th 2021

In talks with Sensat: How to create an inclusive workplace culture

When it comes to inclusive workplace culture, most businesses think they have it, but in reality, there is still a lot more they could do. Inclusion in the workplace is important for employee happiness, not only to help you attract and retain diverse talent but also for the success of your business. In fact, highly inclusive companies are more likely to hit their financial target goals by up to 120%.

But what does an inclusive workplace actually mean? And how is it different from diversity? 

There is no diversity without inclusion

Picture this. You host a dinner party with a set menu. However, each of your guests has their own dietary preferences. Some are vegetarian, others are vegan. Some have a nut allergy, others don’t like certain meats. You might have invited everyone to the party, but you have actually ended up alienating some of your guests. 

Let’s now apply this to the concept of diversity and inclusion. Diversity is getting a dinner invitation. Inclusion is making sure everyone enjoys the meal. 

Inclusive workplace culture is more than just having a headcount of employees of various gender, races, and sexual orientation. It’s making sure employees feel involved and welcome in the business regardless of who they are or what they identify as.

But where do you begin? We spoke to visual intelligence platform Sensat, who have recently focused their attention on a more inclusive culture to share their thoughts and pull together the below five steps. 

Five steps for building an inclusive workplace 

Start from the top  

Paddy Lambros, Head of People, at Sensat, says, “Inclusivity starts with your day-to-interactions encouraged by management and leadership.”

When it comes to creating and promoting an inclusive workplace, your biggest allies are your leadership team. They are your bridge to the employees and therefore should know how to handle a diverse workforce. But they must be properly educated and trained first to give them the foundation they need to inspire inclusivity. There are three ways you can do this: 

  • Schedule workshops on diversity and how to be aware of and eliminate unconscious bias in the work environment. 
  • Bi-weekly team-lead meetings to encourage new approaches or to communicate any areas that need working on. 
  • Encourage your management to lead by example and use inclusive language.

Listen to your people 

“It’s important that everyone feels comfortable and that they have a voice. At Sensat, we want to create a safe work environment where people feel connected by listening and understanding each other.”

You are never going to fully understand how your employees are feeling unless you give them a chance to be heard. Just being listened to is important to people – being able to voice concerns in a safe place, knowing that they will be taken on board. This can be done in a few different ways:

  • Create an inclusion council or meetings dedicated to the issue where everyone can get a chance to be involved and give feedback.
  • Casual settings like company-wide lunches or cross-team activities where authentic conversations often take place. 
  • Encourage a culture of frequent check-ins to build trust and confidence. 
  • Form a diversity and inclusion communication channel for everyone to share their thoughts and opinions in a casual way. 

Set up dedicated initiatives 

“At Sensat, we want to make sure everyone feels included in every step of our journey. We are striving to create a culture that embraces new ideas, as well as others’ perspectives and experiences.”  

When it comes to planning work events and initiatives to celebrate that inclusion, the sky’s the limit. They are simple but effective ways of bringing everyone in and encouraging people to not only share ideas but also to embrace new ones. These initiatives to improve employee experience could include: 

  • A diversity and inclusion committee dedicated to improving the issue in your workplace culture. 
  • Hosting or attending events that cover a diverse range of topics.
  • Encouraging individuals to do mini-presentations on things they are passionate about or are a big part of their life. 

Encourage an open and transparent culture 

“An inclusive workplace culture is where we are open and authentic in our approach by sharing decisions and the direction in which we are heading. It’s about creating a culture of collaboration and alignment.” 

For your employees to feel included, especially if you have diverse teams, then communication around goals for diversity and inclusion strategies in the workplace and measuring progress is vital. Here some tips on how you can do this: 

  • Establish and clearly communicate specific, measurable, and time-bound goals as you would with any other strategic business aim. 
  • Be sure to constantly track your progress to identify areas of improvement.
  • Encourage feedback from everyone on how you can better achieve those goals together.
  • Recognise company-wide and individual achievements along the way. 

Embed inclusivity into your values 

“Inclusivity should be a part of a business’ everyday life. That’s why as we grow we are trying to instil an inclusive culture that is aligned with our values of transparency, purpose, grit, self-awareness, customer impact, and winning together.”

Every business will have a different set of values, but whatever they may be, an inclusive workplace should become a part of your everyday work-life culture. A powerful way to encourage employees to be more sensitive and welcoming towards each other is to reward and recognise good behaviours. Acknowledging such behaviours sets a precedence that you value people who understand the importance of respecting everyone. You can do this by:

  • Giving shout-outs in all-hands meetings. 
  • Creating a flavour of the month that everyone gets to vote on. 
  • Sending around an email highlighting particular people that have stood out for that week. 

Diversity in an organisation leads to better teams, greater innovation, and more efficient decision making. But inclusion is what connects top talent to the business and makes them want to stay. Companies such as Sensat that recognise this and strive to encourage an inclusive workplace culture will reap the benefits of a diverse, engaged workforce and achieve greater success. 

At Tempo, our fundamental belief is that everyone deserves to realise their full potential and we want to be a force for good and do what we think is right in using our position to open doors that may otherwise have been closed. Check out our dedicated page to diversity and inclusion to discover interesting reads and useful resources on diversity and inclusion in the world of work.