Organizations create and sustain winning cultures by fostering a collaborative environment where all team members are encouraged and able to contribute their best ideas. Teams that are intentional in establishing a shared sense of belonging are also more productive. Building connectedness is an important element of building workplace excellence and can be multiplied by using the right set of digital tools and platforms. Our top-10 list of inclusive tech tools, included below, is based on the platforms our customers and partners use to create inclusive work environments and tools we use at The Diversity Movement as well.
- Messaging. In a remote environment, messaging apps like Slack and Microsoft Teams have become the heartbeat of an organization to facilitate real-time conversation and connections among groups. To create a higher level of inclusion, many platforms enable customizations that support personalization. For example, Slack has enabled a pronouns field to share personal pronouns more easily, and Microsoft has enabled over 800 emojis with a skin tone chooser to expand the range of expression.
- Digital Whiteboards – Digital whiteboards enable members of an organization to participate in brainstorming exercises and share their opinions, thoughts, and ideas anonymously. These tools reduce the awkwardness of sharing publicly and enable members of a group to edit and collate ideas rapidly, helping to democratize inclusion. In the last two years, tools like Miro have seen rapid growth, partially driven by the need to collaborate in hybrid and remote environments.
- Virtual team gatherings – In order to reinforce culture and build a sense of togetherness, online video platforms can be used to build team camaraderie and a feeling of belonging. Gatheround, formerly known as Icebreaker, has helped teams build culture while being in a remote environment. The platform includes short games and conversation starters to get people talking.
- DEI Challenges – Learning inclusive practices is more effective when members of a team are given options for what they would like to learn. A study cited by Scientific American suggests that learning happens faster and more efficiently when learners are given options and control over their learning format, length, and environment. Connect by The Diversity Movement was created with this fact in mind. Teams are able to engage in friendly competitions by participating in 30+ real-world actions that reinforce DEI learning concepts while building a sense of workplace community. Examples include watching a foreign-language film, dining at a restaurant with an unfamiliar cuisine, or learning more about unconscious bias.
- Video conferencing – Online video is an essential element of inclusive technology as the COVID-19 pandemic and increasing globalization of teams have shifted many organizations into fully-remote or hybrid workplaces. Using chat or Q&A features enables team members who may not be as verbal or extroverted as other team members to have an equal voice in all conversations. Popular video conferencing platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Team,s and Google Meet have become an integral part of having online meetings. Zoom’s marketplace has a robust set of apps to foster team inclusion like Otter.ai for transcription and Warmly to help build rapport more quickly.
- Anonymous interactive feedback – To make your meetings more interactive while also protecting anonymity when discussing sensitive topics, Mentimeter provides an opportunity for everyone in a virtual audience to have their question heard. Members of your meeting can upvote questions that they would also like to have answered. Questions are asked anonymously, creating an open and safe environment for professionals and others who are conducting workshops or small group sessions.
- Microlearning – Learning in the flow of work is critical to building the necessary skills that develop and sustain an inclusive work environment. Building inclusive language skills and inclusive leadership competencies require repetition over time. MicroVideos by The Diversity Movement is designed to deliver brief, to-the-point insights that teach individuals and teams how to speak, interact, and lead respectfully and inclusively.
- Inclusive Hiring – Building strong, high-performing teams is a challenge for almost all organizations. And, if you want to hire the very best talent, you need to focus on inclusive hiring practices because unconscious bias is pervasive and sneaky. Bias is often built into recruiting processes, starting with the initial candidate screen. Knockri helps to solve this challenge. Translated as the word “job” in Hindu, Urdu, and Punjabi, Knockri uses video assessment and machine learning (ML) to analyze just the interview transcript of an interviewee’s responses to remove bias from screening.
- Disability Inclusion – It’s estimated that the annual discretionary spending of people with disabilities is over $200 billion. Serving customers well means ensuring that digital properties are accessible to all. In order to create new market opportunities and ensure team members who are living with permanent or temporary conditions can contribute fully, web properties should be assessed to ensure that they meet WCAG accessibility guidelines. Organizations like Ablr help companies assess and monitor digital properties to ensure that they meet the user experience needs of all audiences.
- Performance Feedback – Providing and receiving timely feedback helps leaders and employees reinforce inclusive practices, whether it is ensuring all members of a team contribute in regular meetings or ensuring underrepresented emerging leaders have an opportunity to grow. 15Five and Performance Culture are two examples of organizations that have created feedback solutions that can be used to scale inclusive culture.
Did we miss a tool that your organization uses or is developing? Let us know here! We’d love to learn more about which tech tools are moving the needle for your company.