“Diversity, equity, and inclusion” can sound vague and jargony if you don’t know how it translates into everyday action. Here are 10 things you can do today to create a more inclusive work environment.
- Listen and learn. The most important thing you can do to be more inclusive is educate yourself about other people’s experiences. Commit to your own continued education, and don’t underestimate the value of your example. Inclusion is a continuous practice.
- Use respectful language. Inclusive language shows that you respect and value the person you are speaking with. Learn best practices for inclusive language, and when you don’t know how to address a person, remember that it’s ok to ask.
- Run more inclusive meetings and work sessions. Give every person a clear opportunity to share their ideas, concerns, and solutions. Some people speak up easily. Others do so only when called upon. And still others will need your explicit direction to share their comments and questions by email afterward.
- Stop interruptions. When you notice one colleague interrupting another, say “I’d like to hear Sam finish their thought” or “Let me stop you there so we can hear what Sam thinks.”
- Give credit where credit is due. Thank people for their specific contributions, and share those contributions with others, using phrases like “Here’s what I learned from Jordan” and “That’s a point Alex made earlier.” Also, redirect misguided questions by saying something like “Pat’s the one to ask about this issue.”
- Give direct feedback. Remember, you’re not doing anyone a favor by holding back on feedback that could help them do a better job. Real respect means honest, actionable feedback and a high expectation for every person’s success.
- Volunteer to be included in interviews. A diverse team makes better hiring decisions. By participating in the interview process, you’ll learn to unpack your own biases and help to mitigate unconscious bias on your team.
- Disrupt office housework. Office housework is routine work that isn’t part of someone’s job description, distracts from their career trajectory, and makes no real impact on business outcomes (like making coffee, straightening up the board room, ordering lunch, or organizing another person’s meeting schedule). When you see one person always assuming these tasks, volunteer yourself, or disrupt the flow by establishing regular rotations for administrative duties.
- Interrupt microaggressions. Use micro-interruptions to respond in the moment and to act as an ally to fellow employees who may not have the confidence to speak up yet.
- Learn what to do when you make a mistake. Mistakes are human. When you mess up, acknowledge it, apologize, and move on quickly.
Learn more tips and strategies for workplace inclusion by enrolling in the beta edition of MicroVideos by The Diversity Movement.