By Lauren Fenthum
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Everyone wants to feel included, especially in the workplace. Some people have more power than others, but as individuals, it is important to take notable actions towards creating a better, inclusive and inviting culture within the workplace. No matter what your role is within the company the way you act and treat your co-workers can affect the environment in which you work, these actions can be the defining part towards change in your company or even just the willingness to complete day-to-day tasks. Here are 5 simple tips to foster inclusivity within the workplace:
- Transparency - Everyone within the company, people within high-up positions to those of administrative duties should practice the act of transparency. You should be able to admit to your shortcomings and allow others to do the same.
- Language - When addressing your co-workers, pay careful attention to your use of language. Try to be inclusive when you are addressing your colleagues and use words such as "team", this can be a fun and engaging way of getting your group members to listen and take part in the various projects. Realize that some commonly used words that don't intend to be offensive can be seen that way and may lead some team members to feel like they are being categorized or excluded.
- Become an ally - This gives you the freedom to enjoy some privilege by working towards ending oppression and understanding the limits of said privilege. Allies speak up even when it is intimidating; this allows underrepresented people to feel more confident and comfortable having someone like this ensure that everyone is included. Knowing you are supported and appreciated can go a long way within the workplace.
- Educate - When you don’t know something, Google it. Take it upon yourself to teach yourself something if you are unsure instead of relying on your team members to do it for you. There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but there is also nothing wrong with finding something else out by yourself. It is important to not come across as being ignorant.
- Amplify small voices - Be particularly mindful of who is dominating conversational space and who is getting interrupted. Try and support those who are being spoken over to share their ideas and to encourage them to be more part of the conversation.
Diversity and inclusion is still a major problem within businesses today. It is difficult to discuss because it requires emotions getting involved and most times it just doesn't feel like the right place for these discussions to be taking place within the work environment, but the truth is, this needs to be spoken about. It is important that businesses continue to encourage these hard conversations because this is the only way we will be able to change and move forward. Help amplify voices and give credit where credit is due, create a supportive environment and serve as an example to influence people within the workplace to make it a safer more inclusive environment for everyone.