Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace – What Does it Look Like & How Can You Accommodate?

Sep 14, 2021

Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace – What Does it Look Like & How Can You Accommodate?

by Emme Ratcliffe

Diversity is what makes each of us unique. It includes our backgrounds, personality, life experiences, and beliefs, all the things that make us who we are. When a group of diverse people comes together, it provides diverse viewpoints and perspectives for the company.

Society is taught to believe diversity is strictly ethnicity, age, and gender. Still, many more aspects of an individual or group fall into this category, including income, upbringing, cognitive disabilities, skills, education, and beliefs. Diversity is also about recognizing, respecting, and valuing differences based on ethnicity, gender, age, race, religion, disability, and sexual orientation. Diversity and inclusion come hand in hand when it comes to feeling valued and respected by fellow employees and executives to succeed to your full potential.

"Respect for diversity doesn't just make a happier workplace, it improves productivity and is good for the business" – Jeanette Purkis

What is diversity?

Diversity is defined as any dimension or trait that can be used to differentiate groups or individuals from one another. Diversity is the understanding that each individual or worker is unique in their own way. Making HR and executives aware of any differently-abled employee is the first step in ensuring they are given the correct tools to be comfortable in their place of work.

Diversity in the workplace brings so many more perspectives into decision-making, and problem-solving due to the different points of views employees bring to the table, giving the organization a way to reach a broader range of customers and clients. Adding diversity into an organization allows employees to challenge each other's ideas and create something unlike they ever could have alone. Intellectual disabilities are not always diagnosed and can be difficult to notice or understand, but if employees are given the right resources or accommodations to work as a team, they are just as able, if not more, able to contribute at their full ability. To learn more about Designing for Neurodiversity click HERE.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion happens when people feel they are valued, included, and respected. Regardless of their personal characteristic or circumstance, and where they:

  • can meet their individual and combined potential
  • have access to opportunities and resources
  • can provide their personal best in every encounter
  • can contribute their perspectives and talents to improve their organization
  • can bring far more of themselves to their jobs
  • have a sense of belonging

Many forget that mental health is a significant aspect of people's lives and can substantially affect one's work ethic. Employers that provide benefits and resources to their employees around mental health, such as insurance covering mental health services and building an inclusive company culture, allow employees to feel comfortable coming forward and asking for support when they are struggling mentally.

Physical abilities and disabilities support bringing diversity and inclusiveness into an organization by bringing more resources such as but not limited to:

  • Ramps
  • Headphones
  • Service animals
  • Visual aids
  • Automated doors
  • Coaching & Mentoring
  • Furniture

Going into an organization with these tools or resources allows employees to be more comfortable in their workspace. We all know that comfort in the workplace is one step closer to creating a high-performing team. Making sure all employees are given an equal opportunity to prove themselves, no matter how they choose to do so, is a significant component in any building team.

Cultural background is made up of languages, foods, customs, and religion. Between employees, these differences can create barriers or discomfort if not spoken about openly and honestly. Education and training on different cultures or behaviors within cultures can help break down these barriers and ensure all employees can communicate openly with one another.

Here at PeopleSpace, we have an employee-led Culture Committee made up of employees from every one of our locations to ensure that we all feel supported and valued as individuals and employees no matter the distance. We also have an employee-led AWAKE committee with the mission to Advancing Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) within our workplace, communities, and ourselves.

AWAKE’s values state through inclusion, we believe that we are creating a deep sense of belonging and passion within PeopleSpace that transcends our roles and is unified in a shared commitment to our success, innovation, social responsibility, and equality. By fostering diversity in a positive environment, we strive to support individual growth and strengthen co-working relationships. Together we promote a company culture that values and respects the unique backgrounds of each employee while trying to create a diverse and culturally representative workforce in each market.

Most don't realize that all these elements and unique individuals can help develop better products, new ways to cater to clients, better decision making, and improved processes. What can you do to help your employees feel valued and included – let us help you create a culture of diversity, and inclusion.

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