If you enjoy your job, chances are, a lot of it has to do with the people you work with. If you don’t enjoy your job, it could be for that very reason, too. People can truly make or break a positive and inclusive work environment. So, how do you do your part to create a healthy work environment that acknowledges people’s differences? The power to include or exclude lies within each person. Here are some ways you can be an inclusive employee.
Help your colleagues.
Have you noticed a colleague up against a deadline? Offer to lend a hand. If making introductions, giving endorsements in a meeting, or providing information for a project or other work task would be helpful, provide it freely. If they ask for advice, don’t withhold it. These simple actions show that you are supportive, are eager to be a team player, and that you value their well-being. If your colleagues see you as a reliable helper, they are more likely to let you get to know them, which in turn fosters community and inclusivity.
One thing is certain: the last few years have brought change and stress to workplaces around the world. So, be present with your co-workers by listening to them and show that you care about what they’re sharing or going through. Show a genuine interest in their personal life if they disclose some of that information. Ask about their kids and their hobbies – try to learn more about what makes them tick. Even the most opposite of personalities can establish common ground, which over time, will create a more inclusive environment.
Once you get to know your co-workers, they will hopefully start to open their life to you a little bit. If they express emotion about something – positive or negative – acknowledge those feelings and provide a space for them to talk or share more. If they feel like you care and that you show interest in what’s happening, both at work and on a personal level, a bond can form. Bonds between co-workers are a beautiful thing – you share a common experience working at the same place and this is something that no one else has.
Building a supportive, inclusive work culture begins individually. If you try to include your peers to the best of your ability, you are doing your part to create an environment that encourages growth. And over time, that is good news for your workplace, giving it the opportunity to be bigger, better, and stronger.