Many business owners don’t want to admit it, but discrimination and bullying in the workplace happen. Furthermore, it happens more frequently than you might think. It could be that some companies adhere to strict hierarchies that get taken too far. Managers look down on workers and even treat them unfairly and with disrespect in some cases. This type of culture can make lower-level employees feel inferior and hopeless to get the attention they deserve. It ultimately brings discord and obliterates company morale. In this case, it’s important to create a more inclusive workplace.
How Discrimination Shows Up
Sometimes, discrimination is more obvious like certain employees getting passed up for promotions over and over again. This is despite being qualified for higher positions. Unfortunately, it is common, especially in companies that allow and embrace the “clique” mentality. Managers tend to promote or hire those who are like them or have degrees, sports, or other personal things in common.
However, a lot of discrimination flies under the radar. Owners/managers don’t always realize that they’re doing it until an employee hires an employment attorney. Not listening to an employee because of gender or race is common. Though this might be an individual character flaw and not the company culture, it, nonetheless, hurts people and the company.
These incidents add up and can quickly create a negative workplace and affect the well-being of employees. For everybody to be happy and productive, it’s important to set rules about appropriate behavior that is enforced for all employees. Yes, of course, managers will have some authority over workers, however, they need to understand how to treat everyone equally. Here are a few tips to help.
Create a More Inclusive Workplace #1: Understand Discrimination
Business leaders often fail to tackle discrimination in the workplace because they simply don’t understand it. They may take racial or sexual harassment complaints seriously due to the legal ramifications that can arise from them. However, they may not recognize smaller acts of discrimination that happen every day. Things like favoritism, always listening to or promoting friends, and taking advantage of certain employees occur daily in the best of companies.
Every company needs to understand the different types of discrimination that may occur, especially where gender is concerned. Additionally, along with understanding the psychological aspects of discrimination, it’s important to know the law well. These rules and laws should be posted where everyone can see them.
Create a More Inclusive Workplace #2: Improve Accessibility and Safety
If your office building or office is not accessible for the disabled, you could be doing your company a disservice. First, check the laws in your state about what accessibility adjustments you must make. Second, consider how a disabled employee might feel without certain things to make doing their job easier. Things like handicap ramps, adjustments to restrooms, and having disabled parking spots close to the building are obviously needed. Go the extra mile here, though. Ask any disabled employees or frequent visitors what would make their time there more comfortable and productive.
Additionally, each company should have health and safety practices in place that include the needs of everyone. For example, if an employee has an allergy to something in the environment, it must be modified to be fair to that employee or, at least, additional options available.
Create a More Inclusive Workplace #3: Give Everyone a Voice
Often, people feel they aren’t listened to by their employer or coworkers. There might be underlying discrimination or biases that create division and favoritism. Again, owners or executive managers may not even realize this is happening. It’s important to create an environment where people aren’t afraid to speak up. This can be done with regular staff meetings and something as simple as a suggestion box. Hearing what everyone has to say helps build morale and confidence in the workplace. Ultimately, making any changes to create a more inclusive workplace will help the company and the people that make success possible.