By Nadeya Hussain –
Having a diverse and inclusive workplace is essential. As a work environment, it is essential to create an environment that accommodates the needs of employees from all cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. Nevertheless, what are the leaders doing in the workplace to foster an environment that promotes this?
Milton Brown, the CEO of Kirklees Local Television, answered a few questions regarding leadership, inclusion, and the importance of diversity.
How would you define leadership on equality in a working environment?
“I would want to understand the policies and procedures to see if they allow empathy around inclusion and diversity. Is the leadership strong enough to uphold these policies, procedures, and practices? Leadership is one thing, but the policies and procedures and practices of the organisation is another.”
What does leadership mean to you?
“Leadership means to me about being transformational in terms of making sure your staff feel like they are valued, and they have come to achieve. They can move on into a different organisation and where they feel even more prepared for the next line of their professional development. As a leader, you must allow those to make mistakes in order to learn. It’s about responsibility. Leadership is action, not a position.”
How have you ensured the workplace is an inclusive environment, and what measures have been taken place?
“KLTV is an international organisation. We have around 12 people from different countries, nationalities. In order to make equality happen in my organisation, I provide an environment of learning. What I’m trying to do is facilitate that learning. We value different languages, genders, ethnicities, and we ensure that if they want to progress, they can certainly do that with us. Your only limitation is your imagination and determination. Everything else, we are there to make sure it happens.”
What can workplaces do to ensure there are no forms of discrimination?
“Discrimination happens because of several things, one because of the structures. Structures allow good people to make good decisions or bad decisions. The policies should be open and flexible enough and strong enough to contain the diversity where people can still function. Leadership is key. If you don’t have an open, honest, ethical, transformational leader, you can’t foster diversity and inclusion. The leader must be the person who is willing to be uncomfortable whilst trying to be comfortable. that’s how you can ensure there is no discrimination in workplaces.”
Changes to be made:
As Milton points out, a workplace that fosters an inclusive environment has to be led by a dynamic leader to drive the team. It is imperative that the workplace has a strong, ambitious leader, aware of diversity and inclusion and its policies and procedures. Additionally, leaders within the company can incorporate the following aspects of creating a more inclusive workplace:
- Integrate bias and diversity training in staff and employee training
- Examine the gender composition, race, culture, and sexual orientation of the team. Is there a fair representation?
- Acknowledge cultural practices and religious events
- Make sure they are not subjected to any bias during the recruitment and hiring process.
Whether you are an employer, leader, or employee, please share your thoughts on whether work environments can be more inclusive and representative. How efficiently do workplaces promote inclusion and equality? If not, what can be changed?