The future of inclusivity in leadership
Over the past decade, we’ve seen some big changes in the way that we work and it’s important to reflect on these changes so we can understand how to move forward. This is particularly true when it comes to using technology to empower inclusivity in organisations all over the world.
Looking back …
Back in 2010, connecting to the internet on your mobile phone was still an astronomically expensive endeavour. In the last decade, we’ve seen the rise of work-from-home set ups, an increase in technology due to its financial accessibility, and phones that give us the power to work not just from home, but from anywhere.
It’s easy to see how technology has changed the way that we work and it’s even more obvious in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis where many jobs have been saved by remote working. What might not be quite so obvious, however, is how technology has allowed workplaces all over the world to diversify their teams and become more inclusive.
How has inclusivity increased?
With the rise of technology and remote working, we can see how it’s working for a range of people:
Women can stay in the workforce — women who choose to have children are no longer automatically excluded from their workplace. Working from home allows them to come back to work sooner if they choose, without compromising on being there for their children. It also works for new fathers looking to spend time with their children; working from home provides increased flexibility for everyone.
Accessibility is a little easier — those with mental or physical disabilities can now work from home in a space that is tailored to them. Accessibility, while not perfect, is getting better. Working from home cuts out a difficult commute, allows individuals to be productive and to focus on their skills they bring to their role, rather than being encumbered by workspaces that, for a variety of reasons, aren’t designed around them.
Teams can be more diverse — in decades past, many businesses were limited by location in who they could hire. This can lead to homogenous teams as communities are often made up of individuals of a similar cultural and/or socio-economic background. With remote working becoming the norm, it’s easier to hire outside an often limited radius, giving leaders access to a wide variety of workers. It’s easier to find the right person for the job, regardless of the demographic they fit into.
How can leaders continue the culture of inclusivity?
There’s plenty of work to be done, despite the strides that have been made over the last decade. Leaders need to be intentional about the way they approach diversity and inclusivity. Every organisation will be different, with different team members and communities to take into consideration. At the end of the day, there is no one size fits all! Being intentional about diversity can look like:
- Being aware of the unique diversity and inclusivity issues in your organisation and the issues you may face if you look to hire. Knowing how you’ve failed and succeeded in implementing inclusivity in the past will help you as you move forward.
- Building inclusivity mindsets into the organisation’s values and mission. Curiosity, empathy, sensitivity, collaboration, discussion — all of these things can help you open up conversations about inclusivity naturally.
- Working with others to understand the needs of your team and the needs of your customers/audience. Leaders need to speak with those who have not always been included in the workplace: women, people with disabilities, people of colour, elderly workers etc. Many hands make light work and collaboration can help you to understand pressing issues and get real insight into how to solve inclusivity problems.
Are you ready to work towards a more inclusive organisational culture? People Make the Difference can help. To find out more, visit www.pmtd.com.au or call us on 0412 333 415. Try our online leadership training videos – $99 for complete access. Great value if you’re committed to growing your leadership potential.