Creativity thrives in diverse, inclusive spaces. As a creative entrepreneur, you have a responsibility to create a safe, inclusive space for your employees as well as use your platform to champion inclusive practices. Creating an inclusive workplace is highly rewarding for both you and your employees. By collaborating with people with varied backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives, you discover more ways to solve problems, innovate, and serve clients.
To build a truly inclusive workplace you must be committed, consistent, and open to learning. This article is a first step in teaching you how to foster an inclusive environment for both your employees and your customers.
What is an inclusive business?
An inclusive business provides equal opportunities and access to people from all backgrounds, especially those who have historically been excluded from the narrative such as low-income communities, global majority persons, women and non-binary people, persons with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations. Inclusive businesses foster an inclusive workplace culture and are also committed to making their products/services accessible to all.
5 Ways to Make Your Creative Business More Inclusive
You can't create an inclusive workplace overnight, it takes genuine commitment and a willingness to improve. Follow these steps to start building a truly inclusive workplace...
Hire a diverse workforce
Your recruitment process should be open to all and special care should be taken to ensure you are avoiding biases related to a candidate's age, race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or other personal characteristics that are unrelated to their job performance. A diverse staff creates a more positive work culture and allows you to explore new ideas fuelled by diverse perspectives. Studies have also proven that diversity in the workplace leads to greater profits and better staff retention.
Consider your accessibility
We all experience the world differently and there are certain digital practices you can follow to make your business more accessible to all. For example, you can design your website so that it is accessible to those who rely on assistive technology. Websites like WordPress and Wix even have accessible templates that you can follow.
Host educational seminars
To build an inclusive workplace, your whole team need to be engaged and on board. Hosting educational seminars on diversity and inclusion is a good way to open up conversations and allow your team to voice their concerns and suggestions for improvement. To ensure you are providing quality education, invite experts and professional groups that offer educational workshops and seminars. Remember: addressing your internal bias can be uncomfortable, but it is necessary in order to grow and improve your commitment to inclusivity.
Support grassroots projects
What you do outside of your workplace is just as important as what you do inside. Your commitment to diversity and inclusivity should span your industry as a whole—starting from the bottom up. How can your business support people from underrepresented backgrounds to find a career in the creative industries? Consider offering mentorship programmes for young creatives from underrepresented backgrounds or hosting fundraising events for charities that champion diversity in creative work.
Listen to feedback
Last, but not least, listen to the people around you. Regularly conduct surveys, interviews, and polls to give your employees and community a chance to share their experiences and offer ideas as to how to improve your inclusive practices. Be prepared to take critique and work hard to continually improve. The road to true a truly inclusive workplace may be bumpy but it's all worth it!