Today is Harmony Day, an Australian Government program spreading the message that “everyone belongs” and reinforcing the importance of inclusiveness to all Australians.
Many workplaces get involved in Harmony Day and celebrate their cultural diversity, but are all workplaces inclusive?
Inclusivity dictates that we treat everyone—regardless of our differences—in a fair and equal way. Most of us have all the right intentions when it comes to this, yet there are common pitfalls that get in the way of creating a friendlier work environment.
Here’s what they are and how to avoid them.
Expand your group.
It’s within our comfort zones to only engage with those we already know. We often go to the same tables, same places, with the same people. Be mindful of others who might be trying to engage with you. If anyone seems to be hanging on the outskirts, ask them to join in!
Smile, and connect.
If you’re working in a big company, new faces might be intimidating—especially when you’ve been there for years and still don’t know everyone’s name! Chances are, the other person in the elevator feels the same way.
Have courage and be the first to smile and introduce yourself. Elevators and break rooms are great places to create brief but friendly connections.
Promote team building
There might not always be time to connect properly in the workplace. So, use team building—the kind not organised by your boss—to build relationships outside of work. This really works well with those new (and probably nervous) to your team.
Resolve conflicts quickly.
It’s inevitable that people won’t always see eye-to-eye. If disagreements occur, it’s best to handle them openly, calmly and quickly. This encourages relationships to grow, preventing anyone from ending up on the outs. Speak to your manager if you need mediation for conflict resolution.
See everyone as an ally
We all have something unique to bring to the table. When we remain intrigued by others and acknowledge that they likely know things we do not, we set the stage for effective communication. On the other hand, if we communicate from a place of superiority, we hinder our ability to connect and create with those around us.
By building more inclusive work places, we create a more inclusive world. We spend a lot of time with one another at our jobs. Let’s make this time friendly and enjoyable, together.