The 4th habit of inclusion: Support

A good inclusion strategy should entail support. Usually, companies want to include minorities in an homogeneous group. The homogeneous group is usually made of men and the minorities are either women or people from a different ethnicity. There is a need of adaptation for all employees who will need some kind of support to go through the transition. Let's imagine for a minute that each group is a primary color. Your aim as a company is to use all colors you have in order to create a more colorful picture. You can either mix colors together or let them separated which will only let you with the three primary colors that we know. Alone they are blue, red, and yellow and if you start to mix them thousands of colors can be created or they can be used to make each other more visible. You have more options. Your work as a leader is to make sure that the mixing takes place and correspond to your goals. You have to support the colors to make sure that the mixing does not ends up into chaos.

We have a tendency to expect that the minority changes and adapts to the majority codes of conducts, beliefs, expectations and so on. Basically, we ask them to change their colors away. This is a desire of integration, not of inclusion. Integration means people must change themselves to be accepted. They must become red even if they are definitely yellow. Some women must have behaved like men earlier in order to go forward for example . This is a denial of our differences and richness. Inclusion allows everyone to keep his color and mix his colorful ideas, competences and experience with the one of others making the everything richer and more adaptable to a multicolored world.


We already explored the other factors that influence inclusion: fairness, openness, cooperation. Let's talk about Support.

A. A definition of support

Inclusion of a diverse workforce in a company is influenced by the support offered before, during and after the inclusion. The word "support" is very vague and it took me some time and research to grasp its meaning. The main idea behind support is that you are reinforcing someone else actions.

What does it mean to support employees when you are trying to include them in a new team. It means preparing the people who are already there so that they are welcoming and accept the new person. It is making sure that every person is treated fairly, openly and that the are included in the cooperation. It is to support the inclusion process by giving it a body of rules and making sure that positive actions are taken. You need to support all employees. 


B. How to create a support strategy my your company? 

Preparation is a must. You need to identify potential issue that may be faced when including someone who does not fit in the "current" company. In the case that the person is already in the compamy the rules are the same. Find out what causes problem and estimate what type of actions you can take in order to address the issues. You can find out quiet easily what type of problems or missunderstanding exist. We also have to acknowledge that minorities may face unethical behavior and need the support of the company to stop them. Ignoring the problem of racism and sexism does not stop it. It makes it acceptable. Most of the time people are left alone and do not feel that they would be listened of they complained or worst they complained and were ignored.

5 Steps to support your employees defined as "diversed" 

  1. Acknowledge the need of a support strategy (racism and sexism issues for example, handicapped people also face problems)
  2. Find out what the people in the minority experience
  3. Work on rules of do's and don'ts (list behavior that you will not tolerate and indicate the punishment)
  4. Create a specific role to collect and work on complains
  5. Review the level of inclusion regularly. 
There is nothing worst than silence when it comes to abusive or borderline behavior. Saying nothing is accepting it. As a leader it is your role to stand up for those who decided to follow you. 
Say no to racism, sexism, xenophobia and any other kind of exclusion because our richness is in our diversity.

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