Creating DEIB (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) across your business only happens when your employees feel like they and their work matter.
But what exactly is inclusion? And how do you know when your workforce has it?
As diversity advocate Verna Myers said,
"Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance."
You're bringing a collection of individuals, all with their own thoughts, feelings, backgrounds, beliefs, expertise, and incentives, under one roof to solve problems for your customer.
The key is to cultivate an environment where your employees feel safe and empowered to be their best selves.
1. Lead with why
Your team wants to feel like their work makes a difference. This is especially true for your team's Millennial and Gen Z workers.
To keep your team inspired and, illustrate the why behind their work as often as possible.
Every piece of work is more meaningful when they understand how what they're doing impacts the solution your company provides.
Plus, knowing the why enables your team to bring their own ideas to the table. They know their own work best. If the company goals are clear, they can find opportunities that may not occur to you.
Recognizing that you value those ideas is the next step.
2. Champion ideas
The worst ideas are the ones left unsaid. You want your team to feel safe and encouraged to share their ideas. And that depends on your inclusive leadership.
During your new hires' onboarding, highlight that you want to hear their thoughts. And then actively work to make sure that's true.
When your team brings forth ideas or feedback, thoughtfully listen. Empower your team by not dismissing ideas out of hand.
Do they have an idea that’s not on track? Work with them to understand their reasoning. You may find a misconception that you can work through together.
It's part of a leader's job to facilitate ideas and turn thoughts into strategies. It's not rare for a seemingly bad idea to be the spark for a good one.
So allow the space for ideas and watch the innovation unfold.
3. Recognize wins
Your team wants to be recognized for their hard work.
When a member of leadership takes credit for work they didn't entirely do, it can be disheartening to an employee and cause a rift in company morale.
Here at Mogul, every Friday we have a team-wide Wins meeting.
It gives everyone a chance to share what to-dos they crossed off, what exciting new opportunies they’re working on, and to shout out their teammates. It is a great opportunity for the leadership team to highlight others.
As our team has grown, we also developed a #wins slack channel so we can give shoutouts to each other throughout the week.
Positive reinforcement in the workplace fuels productivity, and the compounding interest can pay dividends.
4. Provide transparent feedback
As a leader, feedback should be a regular part of your process. That includes mentoring your team to help them grow and providing support as their safety net when they fall short of expectations.
As a leader, you want your team to feel free to take calculated risks. You should be there for them to provide guardrails. It’s your job to pull them back before they go too far astray and to be their guide as they navigate tricky situations. You want them to trust you, that you won’t let them fall.
If a teammate needs to improve, be upfront about it. And don’t wait before telling them.
Your team will not be at their best if they think their job is on the line. They should always know where they stand.
Being inclusive means being aware of your teammate's challenges, making accommodations if necessary, and coming not from a place of judgment, but an honest desire to help them improve. Your motivation should be to help them achieve their potential. That is what will create inclusion.
Creating high-performing inclusive teams
Your goal as a leader should be to find ways to ensure everyone on your team feels like they belong. Make a point of demonstrating that you value them as professionals and as people. This is a case where actions speak louder than words.
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Want to expand your hiring of diverse teams? Schedule a call with our Mogul experts - we would love to help you find the perfect next hire.