Most employers express the desire to have a diverse, inclusive workplace and often do not realize how critical it is to pay attention to communication. What holds most organisations back is a complex web of systemic, cultural, and structural issues that must be understood before they can be overcome. A carefully considered program is invaluable for workplaces to accomplish its objectives. Structurally, the company may have policies and procedures to empower diversity and inclusive practices. What is happening to enforce those policies to create a culture of diversity and inclusion?

Best-practice diversity management involves an organisational culture that values, embraces and celebrates individual differences. Diversity practitioners and researchers refer to this as inclusion. An inclusive workplace does not seek to assimilate its members to a dominant cultural norm. Rather, inclusion involves the preservation of individual differences. Inclusive workplaces encourage the coexistence of different cultures, values, beliefs, and styles in the workplace.

Respect and trust are key ingredients of any relationship, especially those relationships in the workplace. Without them, productivity and talent retention diminish. While we all believe we deserve to be treated with respect and dignity, it is when we are not treated well that it affects our on the job performance and our motivation to excel at our job. The critical, essential component to creating and retaining the respectful workplace is leadership and communication.

Practice Active Listening

When leaders in the organization actively listen to staff, it shows they are cared about as individuals and that their feelings are respected, and their talent appreciated.

Uphold a Zero-Tolerance Policy

Make sure everyone in the company understands that there is a zero-tolerance policy on discrimination, bullying and sexual harassment and that perpetrators will be punished accordingly. Also make sure it is clear to everyone what the process is for reporting incidents and that their concerns will be taken seriously and addressed immediately.

Being Respectful and Courteous to Build Company Culture

The best way to make respect and courtesy a part of the company culture is for the leaders of the organization to model it and make sure all management staff models it as well. Greet all employees by name, take an interest in their personal lives, and show them courtesy. Pay attention to the little things like showing up to meetings on time and making sure everyone gets to contribute to important discussions and planning. Other ways to show respect include the tone of voice used when talking with employees… look them in the eye and give them undivided attention.

When everyone treats each other with respect and courtesy, the workplace is created respectfully, and staff are excited to come to every morning. They will want to do their best for the organization and make their managers proud.