A business is for the public. It’s as simple as that, yet companies can have issues with inclusiveness. The good thing is that more businesses are trying to find ways to be more inclusive, especially because it seems like it’ll benefit their bottom line. The only thing they have to worry about is figuring out how to make that happen.
Yes, it’s hard to figure out where to start if you want to be more inclusive. What you’re being asked to do feels so overwhelming. You aren’t the only business owner who feels like this problem is too big for you to tackle. First of all, no one is asking you to find a solution to the problem. Even the smallest step towards the light is enough. One step a small business owner can take is creating space to listen. That’s it. That’s all you have to do in the beginning. Listen to your employees; adopt many of the solutions they’re asking for.
It’s hard to make a change for the better. What’s worse is that you don’t even have the resources to do the research it might take to figure some stuff out. The good thing is you don’t have to rely on yourself. Every so often, you can take what’s worked for other companies, especially large ones, and just apply that to your own company, like Nextdoor’s anti-racist resources for users and moderators. That company has plenty of resources to help folks be more inclusive.
Everyone hates training because it takes up a lot of time. They don’t help your employees be as productive as they can be during the day. On top of that, bringing in an expert to train your employees can be costly to you. No one wants to do this, but the reality is that’s precisely what you have to do if you’re going to try to make your business a bit more inclusive. Everyone can benefit from cultural and diversity training. Many people have a few blind spots in this area. You have to keep in mind that these folks have already created training programs that have been tested, and they can make a difference. It may not be a complete solution, but it’s another step forward.
Things have a way of changing as time moves on. As society continues to develop and understand each other, so does language. Sometimes, what was acceptable in the past isn’t acceptable now. A business doesn’t have to worry about all changes, but some of these changes are important. For example, documents with outdated gender labels could be changed to include gender-neutral pronouns. It could include all the modern identities, or it could be altered to give customers and employees a chance to write in what they’re comfortable with. If certain words have become offensive, let your employees know they should avoid using them at work.
After you do all that work, it’s going to feel like you’re done. A lot of business owners would love to just do a few things here and there. While you may feel a sense of completion after adopting a few good policies and creating the space to let people talk to you, things don’t end there. The truth is that inclusivity moves and changes as time move on. This is something you’re going to have to accept, so you should create a check-in program to come back to this period to find out if there are additional changes you can make to your business to keep up with the times.
Now, you know what you can do to make your business as inclusive as it can be. None of this is going to be easy, but it’s your responsibility to serve the public as best you can, and you’ll feel good doing so in the end.