Inclusivity 101: Building a more inclusive business

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In today's diverse and dynamic business landscape, inclusion has become a fundamental aspect of creating a thriving workplace and driving business success. But what is inclusivity and how can it benefit your business? We’ll break it down and provide actionable suggestions to help you foster a more inclusive workplace.

What is Inclusivity?

Inclusivity refers to creating a workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and empowered, regardless of their background, identity, or abilities. It's about recognizing and embracing the diversity within your team and ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities to contribute and succeed. 

Why is Inclusivity Important?

  1. Enhanced Creativity and Innovation: Inclusive teams bring together diverse perspectives, fostering creativity and innovation. This can lead to the development of new ideas and solutions, giving your business a competitive edge.
  2. Attracts a Diverse Customer Base: An inclusive business is more likely to attract a diverse customer base. Customers appreciate and support businesses that align with their values.
  3. Increased Employee Engagement: When employees feel included, they are more engaged and committed to their work. This can lead to higher productivity, reduced turnover, and a positive company culture.
  4. Wider Talent Pool: An inclusive workplace attracts a broader range of talent. This means you can tap into a diverse pool of skilled individuals, improving your chances of finding the right fit for your team.
  5. Better Decision-Making: Inclusive teams are better equipped to make well-informed decisions because they consider a wider range of perspectives and experiences.

How to Foster Inclusivity in Your Business:

  1. Create a DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) Statement: Start by developing a clear DEI statement that outlines your commitment to creating an inclusive workplace. Ensure all employees are aware of and understand the statement. A template is available to CFIB members in the Member Portal.
  2. Encourage employees to learn about diversity and inclusion: CFIB’s Savings Program Partner, VuBiz, offers a foundation course on diversity and inclusion, and the value of building an inclusive workplace.
  3. Promote Inclusive Communication: Encourage open dialogue and active listening among employees. Create an environment where everyone’s voice is heard and respected.
  4. Indicate Inclusivity in Hiring Ads: Include a statement in your job postings that demonstrates your commitment to diversity and inclusion. This can attract candidates who value these principles.
  5. Unconscious Bias Training: Provide training to your employees to raise awareness of unconscious biases and equip them with strategies to mitigate them. This can help ensure fair hiring and promotion practices. VuBiz offers a course on Unconscious Bias and the steps you can take to manage it.
  6. Harassment Prevention Plan/Policy: Develop a robust harassment prevention plan that includes clear reporting procedures and consequences for inappropriate behavior. Ensure all employees are aware of this plan. Note that an anti-harassment plan or policy is a legal requirement in some jurisdictions. CFIB members can access a template policy in the Member Portal.  
  7. Employee Resource Groups: Establish employee resource groups or affinity networks to provide a supportive space for underrepresented employees and promote a sense of belonging.
  8. Regular Feedback and Surveys: Seek feedback from employees on their experiences and perceptions of inclusion within your organization. Keep surveys anonymous so employees feel free to share their honest thoughts. Use this feedback to make improvements.
  9. Community Engagement: Get involved in local diversity and inclusion initiatives to show your commitment to these principles beyond your workplace.
  10. Use our Inclusion Checklist to help find easy, low-cost ways to make the workplace more inclusive. 

Inclusivity isn't just a social responsibility—it's a strategic advantage for your small business. By fostering a more inclusive work environment, you can unlock the full potential of your team, drive innovation, and create a workplace where everyone thrives. 

CFIB members can access a Respectful Workplace Statement template, a DEI Statement template, and a Harassment Policy template in the Member Portal

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