How to Spot an Inclusive Work Environment
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Do you ever enter a lab, meeting, or lunchroom feeling like you need to hide your personality to fit in? That you can’t offer a great new idea, share honest feedback, or admit to leaving early for family reasons?
If so, what you’re experiencing is the need to be included. And it’s not a silly feeling, either. Research shows that you’ll be more creative, productive, and collaborative when you’re accepted.
So what is inclusion exactly? According to Deloitte, inclusion is “how fully the organization embraces new ideas, accommodates different styles of thinking … creates a more flexible work environment, enables people to connect and collaborate, and encourages different types of leaders.”
Whether you’re considering a job offer or sitting on a taskforce to improve institutional policies, you need to know what makes an environment inclusive or non-inclusive.
Spot the telltale signs with these pointers:
- Honesty, in authorship, ideas, and feedback
- Diversification of gender, culture, and other influencers
- Knowledge- and resource-sharing
- Encouragement of innovative ideas
- Consideration of needs of students, faculty, and others
- Available and flexible mentors who maintain an open-door policy
- Collaborative environment, with partnerships and team projects
- Defined roles and responsibilities
- Agendas for meetings are used, and expectations are set ahead of time for meetings and projects
- Set organizational strategies and goals
- Positive reinforcement and advocacy for students and faculty
- Teamwork, celebrating triumphs and learning from mistakes together
- Social chairs or committees are part of the organization
- Open dialogue
- Freedom of expression
Lack of Respect
- Judgmental and gossip heavy
- Lack of sensitivity and/or discrimination against certain genders and cultures
Harmful competition and rivalry among students and faculty
Lack of Communication
- Not open to new ideas and suggestions
- No teamwork, with a lack of support for colleagues
- Rigid boundaries
- Antisocial and withdrawn behaviors
- Lack of idea- and resource-sharing
Adapted from a Celebrating Women in Neuroscience discussion, “What makes a work environment inclusive or not inclusive?”