No two people are alike. We all have different backgrounds, beliefs, and opinions. Especially in the workplace, our uniqueness can cause friction or even lead to conflict if we don’t nurture a culture of inclusion. When properly managed and encouraged, a culture of inclusion unlocks some benefits we can’t achieve in any other way. Let’s look at what we gain by taking inclusion in the workplace seriously!
If you never work with others or stubbornly ignore their ideas, you run the risk of getting stuck in a self-serving situation and lose track of the bigger picture. Introducing a second person to discuss projects and ideas introduces a monitoring function to avoid losing sight of the goal. But don’t stop there, if two people work together, they have a single connection. Bringing that number up to four creates six connections. Teams of eight have 28 connections. So you see that working together creates a network effect that exponentially grows ideas and opportunities.
Smiles are contagious. If you encourage a culture of support, people in your workplace will be more appreciative towards each other. An inclusive workplace develops employees that focus on what binds them instead of what makes them different. Encourage them to drop their prejudices and reward shared accomplishments.
When you invest in and engage with your colleagues in a positive way, you are really investing in your own communication skills and professional maturity. Working on these two skills will make you exceedingly more valuable to your company, your network, your co-workers, and your customers.
Ready to Start?
You can kick start the process of inclusion by simply learning from each other and allow everyone to participate in the process. Here are some ideas!
- Begin each meeting with a revealing question. Ask for example “When are you the happiest?”, “Tell us about a great customer interaction you had recently?”, “What happens during your perfect day?”.
- Include all employees in your programs, promotional opportunities, and social activities. Organize a scavenger hunt, allow employees to showcase one of their personal talents, or simply start each week with an inspirational quote picked by an employee.
- Incentivize people who don’t directly work together to learn more about each other and their role in your bank or credit union. For example: Send two people to the local coffee-shop with a gift card and let them have a 20-minute conversation.
- Use our free “Getting to Know You” worksheet to get to know your co-workers. The worksheet includes 77 fun questions that will kickstart conversations and appreciation of each other’s uniqueness.