In the age of movements like #metoo, navigating relationships in the workplace can be a tricky ordeal. In Bangladesh, we carry many ingrained biases and stigmas that stem from our upbringing and we inevitably operate with a level of unconsciousness about it. All the biases and differences limit the scope to bring out each other's best.
To create an inclusive workplace, work needs to be put in gradually and it stays in progress. Here are three things you can do to create a more inclusive workplace.
Connect with Employees
To lead by example is a true leader's work. Hence, for the diverse employees to feel comfortable with their respective backgrounds, all employees and leaders should show an initiative to respect differences. A few ways they can show that is by holding office outings in locations where people of all physical abilities feel welcome and be aware of religious dietary restrictions when planning to eat out.
Interact with Everyone
Employees of the same JD usually stick together in silos. While it's inevitable that people of the same work tend to gravitate towards each other, it closes them off to other teams who might want to collaborate. Hence, team leaders and individuals should actively engage with employees whom they don't normally interact with. This will open up opportunities for minorities to receive the courage to interact more. Special meetings and exercises could be regularly conducted to encourage employees to learn and unlearn their biases and differences.
Hold Better Meetings
While holding meetings or attending one, make sure to allow everyone to participate freely. Leaders can consider setting meeting norms or guidelines for all to use and follow. Don't interrupt when someone else is speaking and do not stand if anyone else is. It is important to listen to those who have different perspectives and challenges. The meetings should put importance to speakers from women and minorities, and give credit where credit is due.