Four ways to create a more inclusive workspace

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To achieve diversity at work, a culture needs to be created where everyone feels valued and heard. Abadeshi Osunsade, the Founder and CEO of Hustle Crew, a diversity and inclusion consultancy, shares her top tips for making our work teams more inclusive

diversity at work

When it comes to succeeding at diversity and inclusion at work, it can sometimes feel like we each have a different vision of what that success looks like. If diversity means celebrating our differences and respecting and valuing a balanced range of perspectives in our teams, inclusion is the work we must do to ensure all different types of folks in our team are equally supported and heard.

Corporate culture, like many other parts of our patriarchal society, has been designed with the lived experience of a minority in mind. That minority is straight, white men. What about the rest of us? What efforts can we each make to turn our offices into environments where all professionals, regardless of their background, can flourish?

diversity at work

Founder and CEO of Hustle Crew, Abadeshi Osunsade

Here are four ways to make work more inclusive:

Take stock of the identities that dominate your office

Research shows our lived experiences shape everything from how we think about the world to our motivations and cultural behaviours. Is there a particular type of person that’s well represented across the leadership team and beyond? If so, how could that dominant identity group impact company culture and views? What risk is there that certain perspectives represented amongst your customer or client base are being missed due to your team make up? Spark up conversations with your team about whose voices matter to your work but are not represented in the team. Think of ways to expand your community and outreach to include these voices.

Recognise where you have privilege and therefore blind spots

Professor Michael Kimmel famously said, “Privilege is invisible to those who have it.” That means that privilege i.e. unearned advantages we gain through our identity, which we have no choice over, can be difficult to discern unless we actively consider the experiences of other people in our society who don’t share the same opportunities, choices and other advantages we have. For example, as a cis gender heterosexual woman I have never had to experience the anxiety that comes with using a restroom in public buildings, or fear violence when walking hand in hand with my partner on holiday in exotic countries.

diversity at work

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

The tragic events we’ve witnessed recently from the murder of George Floyd at the hands of the police to the death of Belly Mujinga, who passed away from coronavirus which she contracted after an infected passenger spat at her at the station where she was working, its undeniable that our identify has a huge impact on how we navigate the world, and it has a huge impact on how others treat us. This is an uncomfortable truth that we must engage with regularly so we can take action to make the world more fair and equitable. Be willing to challenge racism, and other forms of discrimination wherever you hear them or see them.

Focus on your vision of the future

Fighting for equality and fair treatment of all identities takes guts. Its not easy. The more you become aware of privilege and discrimination, the more you will see it play out in everything from the media, think about toxic headlines in the newspapers, to banter at the office, think of the types of jokes you’ve heard that made you stop and think. What has helped me do the work I do, challenging bias wherever I see it, is focusing on the future. In the future I want to see more women especially Black women and other women of color, leading teams and companies and really – doing whatever they want. Without the obstacles they face today. I wish this for all marginalised identities underrepresented at work everywhere.

diversity at work

Image by Getty

Abadesi Osunsade is the Founder and CEO of Hustle Crew, a careers community for the underrepresented in tech and a diversity and inclusion consultancy on a mission to make teams more inclusive. Hustle Crew Membership is for anyone who wants to be an inclusion ambassador in their community, with weekly resources and monthly workshops to teach you how to drive change from £12/month. 

The post Four ways to create a more inclusive workspace appeared first on Marie Claire.

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