I thought long and hard about this. I made an attempt at defining the words inclusion and diversity without searching Google. Although I was on the right track, I have to admit; I wasn’t perfect. The definition of inclusion, not verbatim, is the feeling of being included. For the sake of my blog, I will refer to inclusion as a sense of belonging within an organization.
Sadly, some work environments emulate life in high school. Rumors, gossip, and even bullying weasel their way into a company’s culture. As it relates to inclusion, an unfortunate scenario often overlooked is people being left out because others think they don’t fit in. Sounds like high school, right? It happens, and more often than you may realize.
One thing I am very proud of was my ability to relate to many different types of people. Let me give you an example. I worked at two casinos in the San Diego area, Sycuan and Viejas, respectively. I loved working for both organizations! Without a doubt, the casino industry is one of the most diverse work environments you will ever experience. Every race, every age group, every level of education, and the list goes on.
I flourished in that environment! The group of friends I made looked like a bowl of M&M’s and Skittles (use your imagination). I loved it! I made it a priority to shake hands, high-five, and make small talk with anyone who would listen. From the young and vibrant members of the Tribal Government to the 75-year old porter working part-time for extra money, nobody could hide from my enthusiasm.
So what’s my point? I’m glad you asked! My point is that I made a solid effort contributing positive energy at work by doing one simple thing, including everyone. In fact, I was the ringleader at planning backyard BBQs, tailgate parties, and nights on the town. I invited anyone and everyone! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting raging parties that last till six in the morning. Still, I am suggesting building continuity in the workplace to benefit the employees and the company. It is a winning recipe!
Companies need more people willing to promote inclusion, especially the leaders! From company owners and CEOs to Four-Star Generals, I have rubbed elbows with some prominent leaders over the years, and it was the personable ones that I admired the most. How they treated people ‘underneath’ them is what I paid close attention to. Those are the leaders I will follow.
So, what about diversity in the workplace? Remember my bowl of M&M’s and Skittles? Diversity is variety! In my opinion, companies must recruit and hire people from all walks of life. Some companies are very good at it, and some are not. This is why leaders of today must look beyond their computer monitors and spreadsheets. They must play an active role in facilitating a diverse team within their organization. Now more than ever, people are taking notice!
This blog is just one man’s opinion, but I can promise you this. Companies that create inclusive and diverse work environments are a step ahead of the competition, increasing their chances of survivability. When a company aligns the two, genuinely, then their customers benefit. If you take care of your employees, ALL OF THEM, they will take care of your customers. When that happens, your bottom line improves! Just one man’s opinion.
Thanks for reading,