The COVID-19 pandemic and the sudden shift to remote work that ensued complicated something that was already a major challenge for many organizations: cultivating a workplace that is at the forefront of diversity and inclusion.
The importance of inclusion and diversity for small or high-performing organizations is not the recent, but more and more companies become interested in following the best practices to create a more welcoming and fair work environment.
This translates into remote themes as well, so here are five essential diversity and inclusion workplace best practices to create and manage an inclusive remote team.
1. Outline a clear policy about an inclusive workplace
Creating an inclusive remote place should be the norm for your company and you need to make sure that this policy is clearly outlined. Your documentation needs to highlight your company’s views on diversity. It should be made available not only to potential and current employees, but to your customers and business partners too.
Next you need to ensure that your company lives up to the policy. Make sure that there is diversity within your team at all levels. A company that’s inclusive has hires from a mix of candidates and doesn’t have white men holding all executive level positions.
It’s quite easy for remote companies to highlight their diverse teams by creating a digital wall of employees and post it on the About Us or Our Team page. By asking every member of the team to submit a headshot, everyone who visits that page will easily see that your company does not discriminate.
2. Increase your talent catchment
Traditional hiring processes often make it difficult to select candidates from wider backgrounds, but this is not an issue with remote teams. Because you are not forced to choose from a pool of candidates who live close enough to your offices to commute there every day, you can easily target talent from different countries and social backgrounds.
Your company doesn’t need to modify any standards or requirements when it comes to skill levels, but simply change the target areas to increase the catchment and attract diverse talent.
Small tweaks to the recruitment process, such as not mentioning that you’re looking for a particular type of individual, but instead focusing on experience and skill set, meaning that more diverse groups of people will apply for the job because they feel welcome.
3. Show all employees they’re valuable additions to the team
As a manager of a remote team, you already know that it’s important to give all your team members recognition and praise. This is an excellent way to boost their confidence, increase productivity and encourage them to become more loyal to the organization.
However, it’s important to provide recognition as equally as possible. For example, you shouldn’t only reward team members that generate the most revenue, but also make sure people in smaller roles feel appreciated as well.
The good news is that is easy to spread around well-deserved recognition in a remote workplace and make everyone feel included and appreciated. All you have to do is send a shout out to various groups of employees of your company email or just in Slack.
To make sure everyone feels included, you should keep a running tally of everyone’s accomplishments and rotate your shout-outs on a regular basis.
4. Respect the diversity of circumstances
Your company should respect the diversity of life circumstances via clear communication. The pandemic has forced most employees to isolation, which means that many of them have to stay at home with their children, parents, or other family member, often having to care for them, too.
Try to be as inclusive as possible and respect personal circumstances by asking team members about their daily routines and agree on schedules for meetings and work deliveries that work for both parties.
Respect everyone’s time by preparing well in advance for meetings, doing your research, keeping meetings short and to the point, and allowing everyone to speak up. By providing flexibility to meet the needs of every employee as much as possible, you can increase both the productivity of the team and the loyalty of team members at the same time.
5. Give everyone equal access to quality tools
To make remote work as smooth as possible, it’s important that all employees have the same starting line. Every member of the team should have access to quality tools so they can do the job properly — some examples include a working laptop, a set of headphones for high quality audio, a reliable internet connection and an ergonomic chair.
If some of your team members don’t have these, it’s always worth it to invest and provide them the necessary tools to be productive. This is especially important for team members who made the switch from traditional office work to working from home and weren’t exactly prepared for the change from a practical point of view.
Companies should also allow tools and best practices to be thought of collectively. For example, creating a Slack channel for suggestions is the perfect way to ensure everyone has equal opportunities and also allow everyone to share their ideas.
The global situation has made remote work the norm for many, but the upside is that is allows organizations to take a long, hard look at their values and find ways to improve on their diversity and inclusivity practices.
Diversity and Inclusion best practices not only make teams more productive and effective, but also unlock the potential of individual team members. To achieve these goals, organization leaders need to reflect on what is holding them back and act accordingly. Ultimately, building an inclusive workplace benefits everyone in a company while also improving the way the company is seen from outside.
Search Remotely is the world’s leading online and specialist remote team recruitment platform. Diversity and inclusion is a special and incredibly important part of our overall ethos as a company.