Diversity is a concept that considers the many ways we are alike while respecting the ways we are different. When we value diversity we do not try to make all of us the same instead we embrace the differences that make each of us unique. An inclusive culture in an organization is a collective set of attitudes, values and behaviors which shape the organization. Culture can profoundly influence an employee’s experience in the workplace—-positively and negatively.
It is interesting to note that while diversity celebrates differences between individuals. Inclusion joins the diverse members into a cohesive whole.
An environment of inclusiveness makes it possible for a diverse group of people to function together building on the common factors and the unique characteristics of each team member. An inclusive and equitable culture demonstrates behaviors that value and respect individuals and groups with different backgrounds, as well as recognizing the specific challenges and circumstances experienced by these different groups.
Promoting inclusiveness and diversity within the workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded, global company culture. This not only makes good business sense but it also helps to better understand colleagues and patients.
We all are differently unique and each one of us has certain weak and strong points. In addition, each one of us has a role to play in achieving a workplace that is equitable and inclusive.
Certain things that are not very difficult and can be practiced include:
- being aware of our own beliefs and behaviors and how this may influence the way we treat others
- listening with an open mind to understand different points of view
- being proactive in offering support to others
- encourage team members and help each other
- regularly reinforcing behaviors (e.g. as a part of team meetings)
- providing feedback on employee behaviors in relation to inclusivity as a part of performance reviews
- ensuring that teams are not overly influenced by a small number of individuals by seeking out perspectives of all team members and encouraging full participation
- treating women equally at par and not trying to belittle them (e.g. not automatically making an assumption that a woman in the team should be taking the meeting minutes)
- creating opportunities for team members to get to know each other beyond their job roles.
The best way to promote diversity in the workplace is by embracing it and having a broader outlook. Getting to know your colleagues on a personal level regardless of their culture background, find common ground, deepen our appreciation of differences, and promote an inclusive and welcoming work environment.
This can further be supported by:
- Promptly addressing misunderstandings, such as providing feedback when the impact of their actions inadvertently differ from their intent
- Taking prompt action when disrespectful incidents occur, such as inappropriate jokes or language, or when people are excluded
- Ensuring consequences are in place for repeated inappropriate behavior.
- Maintaining a culture that embraces gender equality
- Undertaking a culture survey
- Raising awareness of the detrimental effects of gender stereotypes and areas of unconscious bias
- Including the expectation of equitable and inclusive behaviors as a part of the induction for all new employees and a compulsory part of ongoing employee performance review discussions.
- Commit to boosting our own cultural competency.
- Cross cultural communication.
- Having seminars to educate about other cultural traditions.
- Actively seek out new perspectives and ideas for any problems globally across the team (People from different cultures and background may take a different approach to issues).
- Creating a workplace where different perspectives are valued and embraced can go a long way and take the hospital to even greater heights.
- Treat others how they want to be treated and not to “treat others how you want to be treated”
- Always be considerate and sensitive to the boundaries and expectations of others. For example, understanding how different cultures perceive a handshake, maintaining eye contact or the boundaries of personal space can help to avert misunderstandings.
- Very important when in doubt, ask if you accidentally caused offense, apologize. This will be appreciated.
- Being respectful of personal and cultural boundaries, and encouraging your colleagues to do the same through your example, will make the workplace more welcoming and productive for everyone.
- Observe diverse traditions, celebrations, and holidays from other culture.