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Inclusive leadership and challenging inequality in the workplace

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by Charlotte Gurney

Equality has been an issue that has risen to the top of the agenda for many organizations in recent years. A more inclusive workplace can be more productive, more engaged with clients and consumers and a more creative and innovative place to be. However, after the impact of the pandemic, there is now evidence to suggest that it has created challenging inequalities that have considerably set progress back in this area. For example, women make up 39% of the global workforce, but according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report, they suffered 54% of the job losses caused by the pandemic. As a result, it’s become clear that the pandemic has reinforced systemic issues that already caused serious inequalities across the spectrum. So, how can inclusive leadership step up to make businesses a more diverse and equal place to be?

Leading from the front

The culture of a business will have a big impact on how much progress organizations make when it comes to challenging inequality. Promoting diversity and taking action on inclusion issues, listening to what employees say about how they feel working within the business and using focused internal communication are all important. Employees want proactive action on issues such as this, with 39% saying they would consider changing jobs if an employer wasn’t being visible and vocal on diversity and inclusion.

Embracing the flexibility of remote working

The past year has shown us just what’s really possible when it comes to shifting to a more flexible model of working. Embracing this creates opportunities for everyone but especially for female professionals who may have more to balance when it comes to caring and childcare responsibilities. Designing a more flexible culture that is able to embrace those who have different lifestyles will create a more inclusive working environment and attract a broader spectrum of talent to the business.

Celebrate difference

Homogeneity of thought doesn’t do a business any favors, and instead leaves little room for innovation and creativity. Leadership that is focused on genuine inclusivity is all about celebrating the differences so that people feel comfortable being themselves in an office environment. The basis for this is being clear that different thought processes, communication styles, ideas and approaches are all welcome. Doing this can create a sense of belonging that means staff are truly engaged with helping the business to succeed.

Use demographic diversity data

It’s simple to start collecting this at every stage of the process, from advertising and hiring through to gaining information about the way your workforce is currently structured. By collecting this data and analyzing what you get you’ll be able to see where the business could improve when it comes to diversity and inclusion. When you’re doing this it’s essential that people know why you’re collecting the data and that any improvements you make as a result of it are being regularly communicated.

To discover how partnering with the team here at Volt can help with the recruitment of a diverse contingent workforce for your business, visit our ‘About Us’ page for more information on our diversity and inclusion mission statement and values as a business.

Did you know Volt is digitally inclusive too? click here to learn more.