6 Ways to Be More Inclusive At Work

Regardless of our role in an organization, it is everyone’s job to be a champion of diversity. It’s not just the right thing to do; it will create better business outcomes. Study after study has shown that diversity leads to more creative teams and increases a company’s bottom line.

“I think what makes the work go around, and what makes the workplace better, is when we have a little of everything inside of our organizations,” says Shelley Zalis, CEO of The Female Quotient. “That’s why having a conversation about inclusivity being our biggest opportunity for advancing success in our companies is so on target.” Leaders in The FQ Lounge at Adobe Summit share how we can create a more inclusive culture for everyone.

Leaders speaking about inclusivity in the FQ Lounge.

Leaders speaking about inclusivity in the FQ Lounge.

Make sure everyone has a voice at the table as well as a seat
“Inclusivity is really about making sure everybody has an opportunity to voice their opinion, and feels safe to talk about their ideas. I think we miss out on too much by not listening to the people who aren’t always the ones speaking, and to make sure everyone is being included.”
~Jennifer Cochrane, Principal, Head of Technology, Deloitte Digital Australia

See the value in your differences
“Inclusivity to me means that people feel their differences are really the best thing about them, and something that they want to bring forward to the dynamic at work, instead of it being despite those differences. When people feel like they can really be themselves, it frees them up to be more creative and productive so people can really thrive in the work environment.”
~Katie Juran, Senior Director, Diversity and Inclusion, Adobe

Remain open to new ideas
“You can have a policy to hire as many diverse individuals across the organizations as possible, but if there isn’t this mindset that we’re going to appreciate different ideas and different ways of thinking, then you can’t really activate [the benefits of diversity]. It’s a mindset that you’re not only looking for new ideas, and are also open to those new ideas.”
~Kavita Vazirani, Executive Vice President, Strategic Insights and Analytics, NBCUniversal

Ensure that your social activities are inclusive
“One of the most interesting things about starting to think about inclusivity is the way that everybody [in our workplace has] become extremely creative around how we do things differently at work. For example, in the past perhaps our social events would typically have been going out for drinks on a Friday night. But now we’re thinking about new ways to do things that get people to interact in different ways, such as [playing an outdoor game common in Australia] lawn bowls.”
~Jennifer Cochrane

Try a personal exercise
“One of the things our team did when we had an offsite was an exercise where everyone got a big piece of paper and some markers and drew a picture of their life outside of work. It was very open-ended. You could draw your family, your hobbies, anything you wanted. Then people would present it to the rest of the team. The amount that I learned about my team was incredible for an exercise that took a very short amount of time. We’re all connected now on a much deeper level than just the superficial day to day interactions.”
~Katie Juran

Make time to connect and build bridges
“One micro action that I like doing is telling my team to find one person in this organization that you have had a hard time working with, or you don’t understand what they do, and have coffee with them. A lot happens because you’re face to face. It’s not an email exchange that is contentious…it is really having a dialogue about here’s what I think about X and what do you think about X, because it’s hard to just do it in your normal day to day when you have so much going on.”
~Kavita Vazirani

Small actions can add up to making a big difference in your workplace. To help everyone feel like they belong, it’s important to prioritize taking the time to connect. Not only will it make your workplace better, but you’ll feel happier, too.
Watch the full panel discussion here.


For more on how to create an inclusive workplace, check out:
The Leadership Traits That Will Empower You—And Your Team
What’s Okay and Not Okay in the Workplace
How To Create a More Inclusive Workplace