What does an inclusive workplace look like, and how can you build one?
An inclusive workplace is one that values and welcomes diversity, collaboration, and accountability. At Juno, whether Live Online or In-Person, we're dedicated to making a safe space for everyone to be heard, be challenged, and be their true selves. We’re honoured to always be learning and improving from the individual experiences and knowledge of our team, our students and alumni, and the larger tech community.
There are many ways you can make your workplace a more inclusive space for your team and your community - we've written a checklist here with some ideas, including these 5 ways to get started:
1. Ask your team to share their gender pronouns and preferred name
It’s important to remember that you cannot tell what a person’s gender pronouns are based on their name or appearance. Whether you’ve hired a new team member or you’re simply looking to update your team’s inclusive practices, include the option to indicate what gender pronouns they use (she/her, he/his, they/them, etc.), as well as what name they prefer to go by, in case it’s different from their legal name.
A great starting point is asking your team to include their gender pronouns in their company email signatures, Slack usernames, Zoom usernames, and social media bios. If you're onboarding someone new, make sure everyone includes their pronouns in addition to their names and roles during your intros!
2. Make your washrooms gender-inclusive
Gender-inclusive washrooms can be used by someone of any gender. It's important not to police people on which washrooms they should use, and to create a space where using a public washroom is not a stressful or anxious experience (e.g. for trans and/or gender non-conforming people).
At Juno, we recently renovated our downtown Toronto campus to include six single-stall washrooms, including one that is fully accessible. We ensure that our signage indicates that the washrooms are for all genders, and we include information as to which ones contain urinals and/or stalls.
3. Make your building accessible and include accessibility information
When Juno founder and CEO Heather Payne chose our downtown Toronto campus at 483 Queen Street West, it was integral that the space was accessible for people with physical disabilities.
Make sure your space utilizes ramps and elevators where needed, has wide doorways/hallways, and accessible washrooms.
When holding events in your space, include accessibility information in the event description. This can include accessibility details relating to:
- Steps and/or ramps
- Widths of doorways, hallways, and/or elevators
4. Share your job postings widely, and consider hiring remote roles
When hiring at your company, make sure to share your job postings publicly on a wide variety of platforms. Casting a wider net means you'll get a more diverse pool of applicants who you may not have otherwise come across if you shared your job posting internally. You may be surprised and delighted at who you find!
COVID-19 has changed the work landscape in many ways - one major way includes how many of us have shifted to working remotely. Even as we ease into a new "normal," we should consider hiring remote roles when applicable, as this opens up opportunities to those with or without disabilities to apply despite any physical barriers in your workplace (e.g. if your workplace is not wheelchair-accessible) or other barriers to doing in-person work (e.g. commute, staying at home with family, etc.).
5. Be flexible and open to feedback
Last but not least, be flexible and accommodating to the diverse lifestyles and needs of your team. Create regular and different kinds of opportunities for everyone to openly and comfortably provide feedback. At Juno, our founder and CEO Heather Payne holds monthly "Ask Me Anything" meetings that the team is welcome to participate in, as well as submit their questions/feedback in advance either anonymously or with their name included.
Remember that it’s okay to make mistakes and receive criticism, but how you respond is of the utmost importance. Listen with empathy and care, and reflect on actionable ways to respond and improve. Hold each other accountable and communicate what measures the company is taking to ensure a more inclusive workplace, as well as what part each team member has to play individually.
Looking for more tips?
Download our Inclusive Workplace checklist for more ideas on how to build a more inclusive workplace!
This is all just a start to what you can do - remember that this work doesn't happen overnight, nor is it ever "done" - rather, it is a company-wide, ongoing commitment to ensuring everyone feels accepted, valued, seen, and heard!