A Facility Manager’s Guide to Inclusive Workplaces
Set clear definitions
Workplace inclusion has to be clearly defined before any initiatives can be pushed forward. One useful definition of an inclusive office is a workplace in which all staff are treated with respect and have equal access to resources and opportunities. Facility managers should build on this high-level description to create an idea of what concepts like equal access, diversity and fairness look like in their own facilities. Including these definitions in your company's core values will help you to set clear goals and build concrete policies.
Keep rigorous data and reports
Facility managers should ensure that their teams are working with well-reported diversity and inclusion data. Sharing this information also helps build a layer of transparency in the organization, and helps encourage department leads to ensure their teams are more diverse. Analyzing demographic data in roles like executive leadership can provide a clear snapshot of how inclusive your workplace is, and help you to set diversity quotas accordingly.
Ensure leadership is accountable
Employees tend to gather their perceptions about workplace inclusiveness by looking to senior leaders and managers. Inclusive workplaces require buy-in to policies from leaders in the organization—and these leaders should have clearly defined diversity or inclusion goals with attached rewards or consequences. Formalizing inclusiveness as a business goal helps solidify the company's commitment to these values and earn the respect of its clients and employees.
Establish strong communication systems
Employees must feel that their voices matter. Establishing clear communication channels gives individuals the opportunity to voice their opinion, point out concerns and provide valuable feedback. This could be through the facility's request system, formal discussions, communication apps or surveys. These systems should also be used regularly to update employees on the progress of diversity and inclusion initiatives. Managers that can create a robust communications system will be able to empower their staff to uphold the values of the workplace while creating a strong sense of transparency.
Keep processes sustainable
Having a sustainable process helps managers continue to adapt inclusion policies to fit new challenges. Processes that are difficult to maintain can undermine inclusion efforts. This is especially harmful when it comes to employees' trust in leadership—unsuccessful inclusion efforts may make staff in the workplace wary of contributing to new policies. Managers should find ways to consistently gather new information and make changes where needed in their workplace. Monthly or quarterly check-ins with department heads, HR and other stakeholders can help ensure that offices are meeting their long-term commitments to diversity and inclusion.
While inclusion is a multi-faceted and at times complex issue, having firm policies and values in place can help put your workplace on its way to a stronger workplace culture. Managers committed to an inclusive workplace should start by creating systems that promote transparency, contribution and objectivity.
Read on about how office managers can promote a culture of inclusivity or learn more about how proper management systems can help streamline processes so that you can focus on creating an inclusive office environment.
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