5 Worrying Signs You Don’t Have an Inclusive Workplace

diversity and inclusionD&I (diversity and inclusion) are two vital characteristics in a successful organisation. By fostering harmony among distinct individuals, you create an interdependent workforce. Since each worker possesses a unique set of strengths, optimized teamwork could significantly propel your organisation to great heights. 

Unfortunately, it is easy for tensions to run high with the workplace’s complex dynamics and diverse personalities. Additionally, humans are genetically programmed to avoid those who seem different from them. The primitive practice of discrimination stems from early humans recognising and avoiding threats from rival tribes.    

However, we live in the advanced 21st century where people can achieve significant progress when they unite resources while putting aside differences. As such, it pays to check that D&I is always in order at the workplace. 

By identifying the most common signs of conflict and disharmony among co-workers, you can swiftly remediate the situation to prevent further harm.  

Sign #1: Your Experience High Turnover Rates

Turnover rate is like your organisation’s blood pressure. The higher it is, the direr its health condition. While various possibilities result in a high turnover rate (i.e., the lack of growth opportunities or poor management), the absence of D&I could be a primary driver. 

Without D&I, some employees may feel neglected or lack a sense of purpose at work, eventually leading to disengagement and exit from the company. According to one industry report, only 51% of employees feel a sense of belonging at work. 

If your company experiences high turnover trends, it might help to ask employees if they felt valued and recognised in their job during exit interviews. By uncovering the underlying sentiments, you can fine-tune D&I at the workplace and retain your remaining employees. 

Sign #2:  Employees Don’t Speak Up 

A highly inclusive workplace offers employees a sense of comfort and the freedom to openly voice their concerns and opinions. The opposite applies to an organisation that lacks D&I, with employees usually keeping to themselves throughout the workday and playing passive roles at meetings. 

Eventually, disengaged employees will likely seek another company that provides a conducive environment for recognition and self-expression. It is generally unusual for employees to not speak up at work – some of the most common reasons include a fear of retaliation and the entrenched belief that management will not take any action. 

However, employees play a crucial role in the progress and development of your organisation. Harnessing various perspectives can help you identify and tackle the problems faced by your company without blindspots. A positive workplace culture with D&I acknowledges and processes all views and makes every employee feel like they are a part of something huge.  

Sign #3: You See Cliques at Work

If you realise that Sally from accounts only hangs out with Albert and Sue from accounts – there’s a clique in motion. Cliques are highly unhealthy practices at the workplace. While it is understandable to select friends based on shared interests, it shouldn’t apply to co-workers. 

Cliques lead to some employees feeling excluded and bullied, which compromises their commitment and passion for the organisation. In most cases, ostracising among co-workers may take subtle forms – such as sarcasm, side glances, and deliberate avoidance. 

These behaviours are counterproductive at the workplace and ultimately undermines the growth of an organisation. 

Leaders should identify the earliest signs of cliques and eliminate them to promote harmony among every employee. The longer a clique stays together, the stronger the bond, and it will be harder for you to dissolve them without affecting workplace dynamics. So it’s crucial to nip cliques in the bud without delay. 

Sign #4: You Witness Gossip Mongering 

Gossips are a natural byproduct of cliques as teams criticise leaders or co-workers outside their group. Additionally, gossips come from questionable sources and may spread like wildfire. 

In worst-case scenarios, employees may spread half-truths or mistruths that compromise the reputation of your company. These are more likely to occur during unexpected situations where there is general unrest among employees. 

A diverse and inclusive organisation encourages and enforces transparency across every communication channel. With a positive culture, employees will develop growth mindsets rather than engage in toxic practices. 

Organisational leaders should maintain an open-door policy that encourages employees to share grievances and resolve them before they escalate. When necessary, leaders should outrightly address rumours and provide clarity and mutual understanding on the subject. 

In other words, the less left to guesswork, the healthier the relationships at work. 

Sign #5: Lackluster Communication

Quality communication connects every employee regardless of their background or creed. The opposite applies in a non-inclusive and non-diverse workplace, where there is minimal eye contact or interaction. Similarly, there should be mutual respect at all times among co-workers. 

For example, it is essential to provide every employee with a “segment” during meetings to share their concerns and perspectives. During these segments, you should give speakers full attention while deterring interruptive or inattentive behaviour from fellow participants. 

SoundWave workshops can help your team improve their communication skills by applying the right tone for the right situation. 

Leading by Example – The Path to Inclusion and Diversity

Your leadership methods and HR policies will determine the overall message delivered to current employees and future hires. An inclusive and diverse workplace sends a powerful message that you will accept an individual for their unique perspectives and believe that they will contribute to the company in ways that nobody else can.  

While conventional workplace wisdom might claim that nobody is indispensable, inclusion and diversity support the notion that every employee leaves an indelible and unreplicable mark on the company. 

Perhaps with greater awareness and advocacy of diversity and inclusion, organisations can finally undo the trends of serial job-hopping and create engaging and sustainable roles for the long term. 

StrengthsAsia has helped many individuals and corporate clients empower leaders throughout the region by enabling breakthrough experiences for both leaders and followers. If you wish to learn more about the Strengths Leadership Program, please reach out to us here.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Maalikka is the latest addition to StrengthsAsia’s team of marketing and content extraordinaries. As an avid reader, writer and learner, she’s always on the lookout for new information online or interesting conversations to inspire her. Her other passions include gaming, Netflix and cats.

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