Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, Cultural Competency- in some circles they have become buzzwords. Organizations, individuals and departments use these terms almost interchangeably. It’s good to believe in their importance, however unless they are connected to concrete actions, they remain good ideas, or buzzwords.
So then, what do you do to make people feel included? How do you know they feel included, and what does inclusion look like anyway.
1- First know yourself, List what makes you feel included? Be as specific as possible.
2- Ask other people what makes them feel included. If you want real inclusion you need to hear from a wide range of people that represent different dimensions of the diversity spectrum.
Taking these two actions will help you realize that not everyone needs the same things to feel included, some may be very different than you. However when you ask enough people, you’ll discover that there are also people who have the same needs as you that make you feel included.
including my own criteria, as well as hearing from many thousands of people, here are some frequent responses that are different and the same at work and in the community,
1- When someone asks for my opinion
2- When I’m asked to help solve a problem
3- When I’m acknowledged with a real “hello”
4- When I’m told specific reasons why they like my work
5- When I’m given feedback and suggestions for success