“Practice what you preach,” this old saying is one of the wisest in the world. On paper, many of us preach inclusion. We say we believe the world is made for ALL. But then, when the time comes to put our beliefs into action, we let cowardice take over our consciousness.
We start doing what’s easy, rather than doing what’s right. You might have robust guidelines in place that look down upon discrimination of any kind, but until you or your employees have thoughts like “Oh, she is so fat!” or “Ugh, he is from a third-world country!”, cross the mind, you haven’t succeeded.
Although 87% of the organizations state that Diversity & Inclusion is a priority for them. 42% still believe that diversity is a barrier to their organization’s progress. Since nearly half the respondents are yet to realize the significance of D&I, it’s loud and clear that a rule doesn’t change your organization’s culture, the mindset does.
How to Create a Growth Mindset That Leans Towards Inclusion?
There are two kinds of mindsets, according to psychologist Carol Dweck: The fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
The fixed mindset is when we believe that our success comes from the inherent intelligence or abilities that we are born with (can lead to race supremacy ideas). The growth mindset is when we believe that our intelligence grows with our experiences. In short, our success depends on us.
A growth mindset is clearly more open, curious, and accepting. Here are some ideas to instil this mindset for a better organizational culture:
Talk about what’s okay and what isn’t.
Invite psychologists who explain how social prejudice stems from childhood learnings. Draw attention to the fact that discriminatory behaviour makes them a slave to their past. The talk should encourage your employees to question.
Concentrate on the vocabulary of your employees. Is it negligently perpetuating bias in the workplace?
As far as workplace bias is concerned, it’s best to implement equal pay. Are male and female employees paid equally if their skills are at par? Are you involuntarily discriminating between the pay checks of natives and ex-pats? Balance the pay scales.
Start from the beginning of your employee’s journey. For example, blind screenings and a diverse interview panel can help you shortlist your workforce based on their skills and nothing else.
Celebrate different festivals together. As an organization, your proudest tradition should be inclusivity. Get rid of religion or gender-specific symbols or signage.
A third-party expert can alert you to any faults or improvements in your D&I policy. If it’s not up to the mark, the expert will suggest ways to implement it right.
The Five-Point Test
The moment when you and all your employees can say a clear, unwavering “Yes” to all these five questions, you will have succeeded in instilling a positive mindset.
Is your workplace completely free of discriminative jokes and comments?
Do you celebrate holidays or festivals of all cultures?
Do you ensure that your HR team doesn’t disregard a candidate on any basis other than skill and experience?
Do you take time out to organize bonding activities at your workplace?
Does your workplace represent the entire Earth in a minuscule way?
The culture at your workplace contributes heavily in ensuring your organization’s success. The culture,when combined with the mindset, builds the conscience of your employees.
Dialogue + Practice + Retrospection = Changing Mindsets
Always remember that the world outside, where your target audience lives, is diverse. If you look at it purely from the business perspective (which you should not because you are human and not a bot), you’ll see that understanding your audience helps you create products and services that they want. When you meet customer needs and wants, you grow.
Let the rules spill out of the rule book and create stains that together look like colours on a canvas.