Making everyone at work, feel at home: Ways to foster inclusivity in the workplace
Published: 2 Oct 2023
Just as there’s no such thing as a typical employee, there’s isn’t just one way to signal to your employees that everyone is welcome. Thinking creatively about how to build an inclusive culture means you’re more likely to speak to a diverse range of individuals. Here are some of our favourite initiatives, put into action by our progressive Best Practice Award winners.
Start with recruitment
- Make family policies available on your website, so that potential employees can understand how their individual family circumstances can be supported.
- Consider using virtual interviews to fit around caring responsibilities.
- Advertise on diversity job boards to maximise the pool of talent.
- Give hiring managers interview coaching in how to approach conversations around flexible working.
- Make sure you’re using our Happy to Talk Flexible Working logo and strapline, to let people know you are open to working flexibly.
Make it easy
- Put all the information that relates to families and carers into an information pack that includes links and policy details. Send details via email to remind employees of their rights and entitlements. If you’d like guidance on what a best practice policy looks like, check out our toolkits or our lunch and learn sessions.
- Consider having regular virtual or in-person drop-in sessions or a newsletter that can cover issues across the family experience, anything from social media online safety, to elderly care support and eating disorders.
Use words wisely
- Make sure language in policies is gender-neutral where appropriate and recognises the fluidity of relationships and families. Ensure the use of empathetic language in sensitive policies around fertility or bereavement.
Plug into the power of connection
- Connecting peers can be a powerful source of support, such as a buddy scheme that pairs new or returning parents with other parents in the organisation to help with the transition into back to work.
- Groups who focus on specific life events can be invaluable, for example providing crucial peer and professional support to those experiencing baby or child loss.
Share individual experience
- Being open about personal experiences can help normalise conversations and tackle taboos, for example holding events that talk about male infertility.
- The experience of others can also be a source of guidance, providing information and advice on practical issues such as financial support available to carers.
- Sharing can help others feel less alone, for example events that discuss ‘coming out’ or what it’s like to raise neurodiverse children.
Lead from the top
- Creating an open culture has to start at the top, so leaders who are willing to share their lived experience set the tone and helps others feel able to talk about issues that affect their family.
Listen and learn
- Provide an opportunity for employees to share their views on workload and work life balance, as well as new and existing initiatives, with an all-employee survey.
Make it personal
- Have mechanisms in place that can empower employees to share what would improve their work-life balance. This could be a wellbeing plan, regular one to one conversations, or mental health check-ins.
Go the extra mile
- Small gestures such as appreciation gifts or regular messages from senior leadership, go a long way in signalling that all identities are valued.
- Recognise the importance of family through a Bring you Kids to Work Day or family friendly events, marking Mothers, Fathers and Grandparents Day, as well as celebrating Pride, Disability Pride, Black History Month and of course, National Work Life Week!