What does inclusion in the workplace look like?

According to BuiltIn, diversity and inclusion are separate concepts that rely on each other to succeed. On the one hand, diversity refers to the characteristics and traits that make a person unique, such as his or her race, religious beliefs or sexual orientation. Inclusion, on the other hand, refers to the behaviors or social norms that ensure all persons, regardless of their unique characteristics, feel welcome.

BuiltIn further expands on its definition of inclusion. Per the organization, for a workplace to be “inclusive,” it must provide equal access to resources and opportunities to all individuals. Moreover, every person throughout the organization should receive fair and respectful treatment, and feel accepted, encouraged and valued.

All that said, inclusion sounds nice, but what does it look like in action? Gallup provides a few solid examples.

Intention at every level

According to Gallup, inclusion requires the efforts of every individual at every level, from the entry-level employees to the senior executives. An inclusive work environment is one in which every person, regardless of position, assumes responsibility for the company’s success, and in which every person recognizes the efforts of all others.

Employees who feel valued

In a truly inclusive work environment, no employee questions their strengths, and each feels valued because of what they know they can offer. Employees are motivated to use their strengths to advance the goals of the company and to identify any blind spots.

Leaders who care

In an inclusive workspace, leaders hire, assign work, make promotions and evaluate salaries based on purely objective standards — and they ensure department managers do the same. These leaders cultivate environments in which employees feel safe to express themselves and to raise any concerns without fear of retaliation. They focus on each workers’ strengths and offer ways to cultivate those strengths through development, encouragement and celebration. Finally, they value collaboration and innovation, and they understand that the best outcomes are the result of a collective effort.

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