It should go without saying that diversity is welcome in any business. In recent years, equality, inclusivity and diversity have all become increasingly talked about in business circles as organisations look to challenge the ways they have worked in the past and seek to make all feel welcome within their teams. In large corporations and multi-nationals, steps are being taken across industries to welcome a distinct range of voices and experiences into their fold.
But in small businesses, too, it is important to ask if you are welcoming applicants from all groups and backgrounds or if you need to do more to encourage equal opportunities within your organisation. Here are our top three tips for practicing inclusivity in your business.
Thanks to the rise of all things digital, gone are the days when the workplace was the only space for employees to get the job done – if nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic certainly taught us this. Flexible working is rapidly becoming the norm, and this can make things much easier for employees with disabilities. Being flexible with your locations and hours can also make your business more accessible to those who have specific childcare needs.
Employees with mobility issues may struggle to travel to work, so the option to work from home can enable your organisation to get the best candidate for the job – not just one that can make it to the office most easily.
Make comfort, acceptance and dignity a priority
A few simple changes can show that you’ve put in the effort to let the individual characteristics and qualities of your employees shine. Encouraging inclusive language, creating safe spaces, advertising roles widely and making time for employee training on matters of diversity and equality can all help to make your business a safer and more joyful place to be for everyone.
Physical changes like implementing ramps can also help, as people with mobility issues will be able to navigate the space comfortably and feel more welcome – both employees and clients alike. And of course, it’s not just physical disabilities which employers need to be aware of. Supporting staff from different cultural backgrounds and demographics doesn’t take much but it can mean a lot to help team members feel valued. Whether it’s accommodating time for prayer, dietary requirements or perhaps religious holidays, a happy and content staff member is more often than not a motivated and loyal one.
Mental health awareness is also vital for inclusivity, and the best way to deal with this effectively is by taking the time to talk to your employees about their specifics needs, offering support and time off when necessary. Minimising strains and pressures in the environment will help reduce stress, boost mood and ultimately enhance the work environment.
Make plans and be prepared to change them
Part of being an inclusive organisation is understanding that circumstances change over time. Lifestyle factors can come into play, symptoms can worsen, and guidelines can be introduced. As an employer, you need to be prepared to adjust working conditions and provide extra support when necessary, allowing employees to set some of the terms about their working hours and the tasks they undertake. By making proactive changes to your business, you can enjoy all the benefits of a diverse and dedicated workforce.
The team at TEDCO Business Support has helped thousands of businesses start and grow whilst addressing the important issues. Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), they are ready to to help you address inclusivity in your business.
Get in touch today by calling 0191 516 61 02 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.