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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Employee engagement ideas for a multigenerational workforce

Nearly 90% of global businesses believe a multigenerational workforce plays a valuable role in growth and success.

Yet just 6% of employees strongly agree that their leaders can effectively lead a multigenerational team. Yikes.

It’s estimated that around 30% of 65- to 74-year-olds will still be working by 2026. As the number of workers over 65 increases, businesses need to do more to get the most out of every generation.

Embracing a multigenerational workforce and encouraging cooperation means you’ll get greater diversity of thought, leading to more creative thinking.

In fact, 87% of US workers feel multigenerational workplaces experience increased innovation and problem solving.

More creative thinking helps you stand out from your competitors to both customers and job seekers. They’ll be intrigued by your innovations and want to support them.

When it comes to hiring, you’ll attract candidates who want to work for creative, forward-thinking, diverse businesses. Further increasing your diversity efforts.

How today’s multigenerational workforce breaks down

Roughly speaking, the generations look like this:

  • Silent Generation (sometimes called Traditionalists): born 1925-1945.
  • Baby Boomers: born 1946-1964
  • Generation X: born 1965-1980
  • Millennials (Generation Y): born 1981-1996
  • Generation Z: born 1996-2012
  • Gen Alpha: born 2013-present

Obviously, members of Gen Alpha are too young to work right now, but it won’t be long. I’m a Millennial and it feels like only yesterday that Gen Z-ers entered the workplace.

Each generation makes up the following percentage of the global workforce:

  • Silent Generation: 2%
  • Baby Boomers: 25%
  • Gen X: 33%
  • Millennials/Gen Y: 35%
  • Gen Z: 5%

Different generations want different things from their working lives. For instance, Millennials want purpose and growth from their work, while Baby Boomers want security.

Your workplace benefits, therefore, need to have a wide appeal to support a multigenerational workforce. A lot of it comes down to company culture and what you prioritize as a business.

So, how do you maximize employee engagement for a multigenerational workforce? Let’s take a look:

Be flexible around working styles

Every person is different, and each generation grew up in a totally different world. As a result, they all have different requirements and expectations.

To get the most out of someone, managers need to actively ask employees what they need.

For some, this will be flexible start and finish times to pick children or grandchildren up from school.

For others in a multigenerational workforce, it may mean working remotely to manage health issues.

Avoid assumptions about each generation

When you make assumptions about someone, these pre-conceived notions can affect how you talk to them and have a detrimental impact on your working relationship. This is especially true in a multigenerational workforce.

For instance, if you see older workers as slow to learn, you may give them less to do, causing them to get bored and frustrated.

Or if you see a younger generation as entitled, you may not provide them with the praise they deserve simply because you want to bring their ego down a peg or two. Which can then impact their performance because they may not feel like their hard work is appreciated.

These assumptions are often subconscious. And why training programs in diversity and soft skills are so important. 

Training programs help everyone to not make assumptions about the people in front of them based on their characteristics, leading to better collaborations and happier employees.

Encourage connections

Whether it’s through mentoring or employee groups, encouraging employees to connect is good for not just their workplace productivity, but their overall wellbeing, too.

Older generations can teach their younger counterparts a plethora of skills that can help them in their current role and beyond. It’s a perfect workplace mentoring opportunity.

The more that different generations interact in a multigenerational workforce, the more they can learn from each other. They may learn how to adapt their communication styles based on who they’re interacting with or the type of meeting they’re in, for example.

If you’d like help connecting your multigenerational workforce, get in touch to discover how Workrowd could help boost your employee engagement.

Train communication skills

Communication skills are too often taken for granted. But there are lots of different communication styles and we must adapt ours to fit our audience. This ensures we get the most out of the interaction and don’t offend or upset anyone.

Given that 81% of workers feel the most significant difference between generations at work is their communication styles, and 38% find it hard to communicate with coworkers from other age groups, training around communication styles could be the key to a team’s success.

According to a study by AARP, 60% of workers feel the presence of generational conflict. 70% of older employees dismiss the skills of younger employees, while 50% of younger colleagues dismiss what an older employee can do.

I’ve dealt with this myself. Someone hired me to consult on a marketing project but constantly questioned my judgment. I was made to feel like my opinions and experience weren’t valid no matter how much data I provided to prove my points.

This is why teaching everyone how to improve their communication style is so important. We all have traps we can fall into; ones we don’t even notice. Sometimes all it takes is a training program to refresh our memory and improve interactions across a multigenerational workforce.

Conclusion

As the workforce evolves and increasingly includes multiple generations, businesses will have to find more and more ways to cater to generational differences. This generational diversity comes with huge benefits, too, such as different perspectives on projects and problems.

It starts by embracing and accepting each different age group. Learning their strengths, their areas for improvement, and how they fit best into your diverse, multigenerational workforce. This will ensure they have the best employee experience, and as a result, you’ll get improved employee satisfaction and engagement.

Ready to boost outcomes across your multigenerational workforce? Workrowd’s all-in-one suite of tools can help. By building connections across age groups and enabling you to track everything via real-time analytics, you can deliver a top-notch employee experience for all ages.

Ready to learn more? Visit us online or send us an email at hello@workrowd.com to schedule some time to connect.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

How to combat signs of ableism in the workplace

Having had some form of invisible illness most of my working life—most of my life, actually—I’ve seen a lot of signs of ableism in the workplace.

Sometimes this comes from people who mean well but have no experience with a particular health condition. Other times it’s based on the assumption that someone would fake or exxagerate health issues to get out of work.

I don’t deny that there are people out there who might do that. However, most of the people I know with significant long-term health conditions play them down.

They may not even disclose their health issues to their employer because they’re worried about being discriminated against.

And, since the most common form of discrimination claim in the US in 2020 was disability discrimination, this is a legitimate concern.

So how can you avoid ableism and disability discrimination? Here are some tips from someone with personal experience with signs of ableism in the workplace:

Don’t offer unsolicited advice

“Have you tried lavender to help you sleep? What about going to bed earlier? There’s this really great supplement that—”

My whole life, on and off, I’ve struggled with insomnia. And, as much as I love lavender, it hasn’t helped.

But far too many colleagues have suggested it as a panacea to my brain that won’t quiet down.

Or suggested I can magically go to bed earlier and I’ll be able to adjust my sleeping pattern quicker than I can say “F1” (my favorite sport).

Unsolicited advice like this is unbelievably frustrating. It may be well-intentioned, but that doesn’t change how it feels to receive it.

It doesn’t take into account someone’s individual needs or what they might’ve already tried. People often volunteer it without listening to that person’s frustrations, or history, first. 

If an employee has a diagnosis for a long-term illness, there’s a high chance they’ve already tried a lot of the basic solutions that you can find on Google…many of which don’t even have any scientific basis to them. (Take it from someone who reads the studies about them for fun.)

Listen to employees’ concerns—don’t assume what they need

Every employee with a disability will have different needs.

Many people with disabilities have a “cocktail of conditions” (thanks to my support worker for that term), too.

For example, I have fibromyalgia and ME/CFS. These conditions can be connected to ADHD. They can also weaken muscles and make it harder to exercise, further exacerbating my chronic pain. And all three come with sides of insomnia.

So what I need because of my chronic pain/ADHD combo is different from what someone with only chronic pain or only ADHD might need.

Many conditions can have dozens, if not hundreds, of symptoms. So it’s impossible to take a one-size-fits all approach. Health issues will show themselves in different ways depending on the person.

And that’s why it’s so important to listen to an employee’s needs in order to address signs of ableism at work.

Help employees adapt their work environment

Lots of different things can make employees’ working lives better or worse.

In addition to asking employees what they need, have a list of things you can offer.

Options that the UK’s Access to Work scheme, which helps get people with disabilities into work, provide include:

  • Noise-cancelling headphones
  • Touchscreen tablets or e-ink tablets
  • An ergonomic keyboard or mouse
  • A virtual assistant
  • A better desk chair

Be mindful of energy drains

Full-time work, especially when it’s in an office, can be incredibly draining.

There’s constant stimuli in the office from people talking, flashing computer screens, colleagues’ deodorants, air fresheners, fluorescent lights, and more.

We may not consciously realize it (although I think more people do since the pandemic), but all these things assail our senses and drain us faster than if we’re working in our own spaces.

Not only that, but things like having to be in the office at a certain time can be hard for someone with a disability. Health conditions are often worse in the morning after the body has been in the same position all night.

This means an employee with a disability may be more productive if they can start or finish later, if they can work from home, or if they can work for fewer hours.

Sending an employee feedback survey helps to gauge employees’ wants and needs. That way, you can improve employee wellbeing and thereby productivity and engagement.

And, with Workrowd, you can automate survey sending, meaning you get all the answers in an easy-to-read dashboard with no effort on your end.

Embrace pacing

Pacing is the art of, well, pacing your energy levels. When I received my diagnosis, the doctor described pacing as doing slightly less on the good days and slightly more on the bad days. That way, in theory, my energy would balance out.

In the workplace, this could look like offering more breaks for employees rather than one long lunchbreak.

It’s not natural for us to be superglued to a desk chair for eight hours a day.

Even with a lunchbreak in between that’s far too long for us to sit down for.

A lot of chronic pain improves with moving more often. This is especially true for chronic back pain, which is one of the biggest reasons for workplace sickness.

So if you’re worried about absenteeism alongside signs of ableism in the workplace, enabling employees to move more often is one of the simplest solutions.

Allow employees to connect

Having any sort of long-term health condition can be isolating. A lot of people don’t get it (that’s where the unsolicited advice often comes from—people’s desire to “fix” us).

Enabling employees to connect with others who face similar struggles makes a huge difference. It means they feel less alone and there are people within the organization who can provide empathy and compassion when they’re having a bad day.

Sometimes, when someone talks about their illness, they’re not looking for a solution. They just need to externalize their feelings so that they don’t take over. The solution to that is listening.

That’s why employee groups can be such a powerful tool for connecting employees.

Workrowd can help you manage your employee groups and get more out of them—and therefore your employees.

Conclusion 

Signs of ableism in the workplace can creep in in unexpected ways, especially if someone doesn’t have experience with disabilities, directly or indirectly.

It’s therefore important that team members, but especially managers and HR pros, are educated in the best ways to support people with disabilities.

This allows employees with disabilities to stay in the workplace, not face discrimination, and feel a sense of purpose—something that’s good for their mental wellbeing.

Businesses also get to be truly diverse instead of preaching diversity but not living it.

Are you looking for ways to address signs of ableism in the workplace? Workrowd has the tools you need. From standing up and managing employee groups, to collecting and visualizing employee feedback, we’re your one-stop shop.

If you’d like to learn how Workrowd can help you automate tasks and build a more inclusive workplace, visit us online or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

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Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

8 ways your team is being held back by unconscious bias at work

Unconscious bias at work continues to be a major problem for both employees and employers. 83% of employees who’ve experienced, or witnessed, bias(es) at work feel that they were subtle and indirect, or microaggressions.

This means that the person responsible may not know that what they were doing was even a form of unconscious bias.

But it’s still their responsibility to grow their awareness and fix it. Especially when almost two-thirds of employees believe their workplace is biased.

Bias can come in many forms, including:

  • Gender
  • Race
  • Religion
  • Sexuality
  • Age
  • Weight
  • Height 
  • Disability

Making assumptions about people based on any of these characteristics is a form of bias.

For example, assuming that someone over the age of fifty is less computer literate than a twenty-year-old.

This has a financial impact, too. The estimated cost of workplace bias is $64 billion per year. This is based on the cost of replacing more than 2 million US workers who leave due to unfairness and discrimination. 

It doesn’t factor in the legal costs involved when companies need to defend themselves. Or when they’re fined because of unlawful behavior.

So, reducing unconscious bias at work could save—and make—your company a lot of money.

How do you know if it’s a problem in your organization, though? Here are 8 examples of unconscious bias at work you may not have considered.

Thinking there’s no unconscious bias in your workplace

No one is perfect. And it’s far better to admit that, and accept that everyone is a work in progress, than to try to block it out. 

You can do all the training you like, but you still may fall prey to unconscious bias at work. Eradicating it requires active, conscious work. Especially when someone is new to noticing it. 

Eventually the good behaviors become habit, but that takes time. Just the same as learning those good habits did in the first place.

Interrupting colleagues in meetings

Did you know women are more likely to be interrupted in a meeting than men?

Next time you’re in a meeting, track how often each person, or demographic is interrupted. The results may surprise you.

The Woman Interrupted app detects how often men interrupt women during a meeting.

Its data discovered that in the US, men speak over women 1.43 times per minute. PER MINUTE.

In the UK, this goes up to 1.67 times per minute. In Malaysia it’s 6.66 times, it’s 7.22 times in Nigeria, and in Pakistan it’s 8.28 times.

Questioning expertise

How often do you challenge someone’s ideas in a meeting? Do you challenge everyone’s ideas equally?

Men often have their ideas questioned less, even if they have less experience.

Women, meanwhile, find that their ideas and expertise are questioned more often. And they’re more than twice as likely to have to provide evidence of their competence.

But when a man makes the same suggestion, people more readily get onboard. And give him all the credit. It’s one of the most common examples of unconscious bias at work.

You hired your employees because they have the required expertise for the job. So it’s important that their colleagues know, understand, and respect this. And that their behavior reflects it.

Assuming everyone is able-bodied

Not everyone likes to disclose that they have a disability to their employer. Many people with disabilities worry that their colleagues will treat them differently or think them less capable of doing their job if they share their condition.

Whether it’s asthma, allergies, chronic pain, neurodivergence, or something more visible, almost everyone has something.

Yet the default is still to assume that everyone is able-bodied.

So businesses work under that assumption, rather than making accommodations that improve everyone’s quality of life. This is just another way that unconscious bias at work can show up.

For example, does your office have an elevator?

Do you have a plan in place for if there’s a fire in the building and it’s unusable? Who’s going to help employees with mobility challenges down the stairs during an emergency?

Making assumptions about people’s health, and their needs, leads to a huge disconnect. And can mean that employees who don’t disclose their disabilities are more likely to leave because their workplace is unfit for purpose.

Thinking you understand someone else’s experiences

Unless you’ve lived through something, it’s really hard to understand what it’s like. For instance, living with a particular health condition or growing up in a totally different culture or location.

Having witnessed it helps, but it will never give you the full experience because you’re not in that person’s body or mind.

Thinking you know exactly what a person thinks or feels leads to making assumptions about what they need. Which can be risky territory.

Different people can experience the same situation completely differently. That’s why listening in the workplace is so important. You get a better understanding of someone’s experiences and needs, and can suggest further ways to accommodate them.

Not paying attention to promotions

Gallup’s Women and the Workplace study found that at almost 600 companies, for every 100 men promoted, only 85 women received promotions.

Women are also more slowly promoted in the workplace than men with the same level of education and experience. Such unequal promotion rates are a strong indicator of unconscious bias at work.

Telling women to just ask for a raise

I’m sure you’ve heard this before—that women just need to more actively ask for raises.

What if I were to tell you that women do, in fact, ask for raises…we’re just less likely to get them?

That’s what research from Australia showed.

Worse still, male hiring managers are more likely to dislike women who negotiate during the hiring process. It doesn’t bother them if the candidate is male. 

Female hiring managers treat both genders the same.

Assuming someone’s role

48% of African American women, and 47% of Latina women, report having being mistaken for administrative or custodial staff. Regardless of their actual role within the business.

Female managers and CEOs have even had people assume that their employees, or even husbands, are the leader in an organization, addressing the men first or even outright ignoring the women.

Conclusion

There are many ways that unconscious bias at work holds businesses back. Knowing the signs is key to taking the steps to eradicate it.

Does your business suffer from unconscious bias at work? If so, it’s time to make some changes, for both your people, and your bottom line.

If you want an easier way to implement your new programs and track progress, Workrowd can help. Reducing unconscious bias at work is no easy task, but our all-in-one tool suite can set you up for success. From launching and managing ERGs to collecting and analyzing employee feedback, we bring everything you need under one roof.

Ready to learn more? Visit us online or send us a message at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

7 ideas for tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices

Unconscious bias is everywhere. We may not always notice it, but that doesn’t stop it from doing damage. Which is why tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices couldn’t be more important.

We’re all guilty of it. And when we think we’re not…that’s usually when we’re more likely to be guilty of it.

Picture someone in the following professions:

  • Doctor
  • Pilot
  • Soldier

Did you picture men for all three of them?

That’s unconscious bias.

What about these professions?

  • Nurse
  • Kindergarten teacher
  • Hairdresser 

Thinking of a female?

Still unconscious bias.

It seeps into our lives without us even realizing it (hence why it’s called unconscious bias).

For us to mitigate its effects, and work toward eradicating it, we have to take conscious steps to change our environment and thought processes. And make an ongoing effort to reduce it.

One of the areas that’s especially important for HR to pay attention to is tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices. 

From focusing on different skillsets based on someone’s gender, to not interviewing someone at all because of their name, there are lots of ways that bias plays a role.

So, let’s look at some tips for tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices to set you up for success:

Check job descriptions for inclusive language

Words like “ambitious” or “competitive” have very different connotations from words like “empathetic.” Even “management” can have more masculine connotations.

It’s easy to let unconscious bias slip into the language we use (it is unconscious, after all).

That’s where using a tool that can help you spot unconscious bias in your job descriptions can be useful. It’s a great starting point for tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices.

Create a more diverse hiring team

If a hiring team contains just one woman, that team is less likely to hire another woman.

With a token female onboard, the men think they have to worry less about diversity.

But the woman is afraid that if she backs a female candidate, the men will think she’s playing favorites.

So what you actually need is more representation throughout the hiring process. Have at least two females on a hiring panel, two people of color, etc. This can set you up for greater success when tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices.

Implement anonymous hiring

In an eye-opening study, male and female managers thought male candidates would be more competent in a role.

This was more likely to happen at organizations that believed their profession no longer had any gender bias.

It was mostly men who felt this way, but the women who felt this way undervalued female employees just as much as their male counterparts.

A female applicant is 30% less likely to be invited to an interview than a man who’s just as qualified.

Anonymous hiring, often called blind hiring or recruitment, removes information that could inform hiring managers about candidate characteristics such as someone’s gender, race, age, or socioeconomic status.

Studies in Europe, Canada, and the US showed that this hiring technique improved the numbers of underrepresented hires in organizations that still struggled with tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices.

Test them before you question them

When you assess someone’s skills before interviewing them, you have concrete evidence of their abilities before you ask them any questions.

This makes it easier to judge them based on the quality of their work, not traits such as their gender, race, or even their likeability.

Likeability isn’t a measure of competence but it can have an impact on which candidate hiring managers prefer. This can work against people who don’t conform to societal stereotypes or who are neurodivergent.

Ask everyone the same questions

Women are more likely to be hired for their past achievements, while men can be hired for their potential. Meaning that questions can go in different directions.

Hiring managers can also end up with different expectations because of someone’s background.

When you ask everyone the same question, it creates a fairer playing field. You then have comparable data between applicants to help you make a more informed, data-driven decision.

Relying on facts rather than feelings is crucial to tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices.

Don’t ask about gaps in employment

Many people have gaps in their employment, whether that’s because they took time off to raise a family, travel, or because of an illness. 

Asking why there’s a gap in someone’s employment makes them feel like they did something wrong by not prioritizing work, living their life, or getting sick.

There’s also then the risk of discrimination against that person because they’re a parent, they choose not to be, or they have/had a long-term illness.

Set targets

Having targets—and tracking your progress toward achieving them—keeps everyone within your business accountable. It keeps diversity initiatives front of mind instead of them becoming an afterthought during your hiring process.

This data also means that you have hard evidence to prove how well you’re really performing, rather than operating on gut instincts and overconfidence. Which helps maintain motivation toward achieving the targets.

One trackable target you could set could be quotas. While many people dislike the idea of them, they do make a difference. Especially in the early days.

Quotas weed out incompetent applicants who benefit from their societal privilege, giving more opportunities to underrepresented talent.

Conclusion

Unconscious bias is an inevitable part of being human, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t fixable. Tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices requires active work to ensure the best candidate is hired regardless of demographics.

Some of the steps businesses can take to remove bias include blind applications, setting competence tasks, and asking everyone the same set of questions so that they can be compared fairly.

It’s also important to encourage employees to network with colleagues with whom they have things in common, especially when they’re new to the organization. This creates a sense of belonging in the workplace, helping ensure underrepresented hires stick around and don’t feel isolated because they don’t fit in.

Looking for ways to maintain your gains after tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices? Workrowd has the tools you need.

From fostering genuine connections between team members, to keeping everyone informed and included, our all-in-one platform can help you overcome bias to build a more engaged and productive workplace. Plus, with real-time analytics, you always know what’s working, and where you should focus your efforts.

Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us an email at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

10 innovative ways to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace

60% of employees feel that their workplace is biased. Worse, 39% of employees say that they experience unconscious bias in the workplace at least once a month. So some employees are experiencing it really frequently.

In a world that convinces itself it’s forward-thinking and progressive, this is a saddening (and eye-opening) statistic.

But what can organizations do to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace? Especially when we don’t even notice it’s there?

Ask underrepresented team members the first question

In meetings, white men get the floor longer than anyone else. They’re also the ones most likely to speak up. And tend to be the majority in the room.

When you ask someone else the first question, it gives them the confidence to speak out more.

It also gives other underrepresented team members the confidence to speak, too.

Back up a good point, regardless of who made it

If women make up just 20% or 40% of a group, their ideas are less than half as likely as a man’s to win approval. Women are also more likely to be interrupted.

Then there’s the chance that someone else will suggest the same thing further down the line and get all the credit for their idea.

So, pay attention to who’s speaking in meetings and, if you like their idea, offer them some support.

And if someone else tries to take credit for it, point out who suggested it first.

Bad habits only change when people call others out on their behaviors. Reducing unconscious bias in the workplace requires that we step up and have these tough conversations.

Use the same adjectives to describe everyone

Unconscious bias in the workplace can show up in how we talk about people. Sometimes, we use different words to describe employees based on their backgrounds. This reinforces unconscious biases in other people, too.

So the next time you write a performance review or give feedback, ask yourself if you’d use the same language to write about an employee from a different background.

If the answer is that you would write it differently, run it through a language checker to highlight the biases in your writing. This will make you aware of how you can improve your feedback. It will also give you things to keep in mind for next time.

Praise (and criticize) everyone equally

Men often praise other men more highly, while they criticize women more harshly. So, the next time you give feedback, keep that in mind. Consider whether you’re giving feedback to everyone in the same way.

Also, be specific in the feedback that you give.

A study of 200 performance reviews in a tech company found that women were more likely to receive vague praise like “you had a great year.” In contrast, men were given developmental feedback related to business outcomes. 

When women received developmental feedback, it was often related to their personalities rather than their competence and performance. When unconscious bias in the workplace shows up in this way, it can have major impacts, like affecting promotion rates.

Create mentorship schemes

Mentoring can have huge benefits for everyone involved, opening them up to new experiences and helping them grow their careers.

It’s unusual for a male to ask for a female mentor. When they do though, it can help them understand how they’re inadvertently contributing to the authority gap. 

Mentoring also allows them to develop more “feminine” traits that make for better leaders, such as empathy.

Provide group training

Training is one of the key ways to start bringing unconscious bias in the workplace to employees’ attention. It’s a foundational step. But without the others in this list, it’s too easily dismissed.

So, while you want employees to be aware of unconscious biases and what they look like, it’s important that you encourage and enforce the other steps, too —such as calling out unconscious bias in meetings. Training is meaningless without actionable steps.

Hold a speed networking event

If you have a large organization, a speed networking event can offer employees the opportunity to meet people they may not otherwise come across (even if it’s done virtually).

Employees get to experience the true diversity of your organization, while HR leaders can potentially spot any representation gaps in event sign-ups or your business.

Schedule the event, then have everyone sit at tables or put them into breakout rooms if you’re doing it virtually. Everyone has five minutes to talk to the person in front of them. 

Then, half the room moves on to the next table, while the other half stays seated. Keep going until you’ve reached full circle.

Encouraging employees to get to know each other better is a key step towards reducing unconscious bias in the workplace.

Host a book club

Reading, especially reading fiction, makes us more empathetic.

Men are less likely to read books written by women, yet women regularly read books written by men.

Suggesting books written by underrepresented authors introduces book club members to experiences other than their own. This allows them to see what life is like for people from different backgrounds. 

Discussing the book with their colleagues can help employees meet more people, consider other ways to interpret the story, and learn new skills.

Reading memoirs may also help, as they’re based on real-life experiences and can give employees concrete examples of biases.

Create employee groups

Employee groups enable everyone within your organization to network with people who have something in common with them. 

At the same time, these groups can also provide an opportunity to meet people who are different. 

For example, a group focused on people who want to learn leadership skills isn’t limited to employees from one demographic. 

Instead, it can provide an opportunity for everyone to share a common interest alongside experiences that impact their ability to use their leadership skills. 

How a person of color demonstrates leadership in the workplace—and how it’s received—can be different from how a white person shows and reacts to these things, for example.

Learning about these differences in a constructive environment can help reduce unconscious bias in the workplace.

Track the program’s success

No program is worth the time and effort unless you can measure its success. One of the most effective ways to do this is to monitor employee feedback. How do they really feel about your organization—and its diversity and inclusion efforts?

You can also use surveys to track levels of unconscious bias in the workplace. You can then design programming to help employees spot gaps in their own awareness.

And you can identify company-wide areas that require more training/initiatives.

Conclusion

We may not eradicate unconscious bias in the workplace during our lifetimes, but we can reduce it and set a better example for future generations. The steps in this post will help your organization decrease the impact unconscious bias has on employees without it feeling like a box-checking exercise.

Instead, you can turn diversity and inclusion into a new way of thinking, helping employees understand experiences other than their own.

Ready to start implementing some of these ideas to reduce unconscious bias in the workplace? Workrowd has the tools you need to succeed.

Our all-in-one platform makes it easy to launch employee groups, survey team members, and track your progress at a glance with automated analytics. Visit us online to learn more or email us directly at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

9 ways to build a more inclusive business in 2024

Inclusive businesses get more out of their employees. But to be a truly inclusive business, it’s important not to overlook the seemingly little things that can make a big difference.

Things like unconscious biases that require significant training to overcome; creating comfortable office environments for everyone; showing respect in meetings.

Read on to discover 9 ways to build a more inclusive business in 2024, including some that you may not have considered.

Stop talking over colleagues in meetings—and call people out when they do it

Did you know women are more likely to be talked over than men in meetings?

This can be hugely off-putting for women and result in them speaking less, even if they have great ideas. It also discredits them and damages their confidence.

In your next meeting, make a tally—or use an app like Women Interrupted—to track how many times women are interrupted in meetings compared to men. You might be surprised at the results.

This happens regardless of seniority, by the way.

Don’t believe me?

Sue Montgomery, a Quebec Councilor, knitted a scarf in meetings. She used red when men spoke and green when women spoke. Most of it was red.

And when I say “most,” I mean almost all of it. (You can see the scarf here.)

If you identify as male, it’s powerful when you speak up and tell your colleagues not to interrupt others. This is especially true if the person being interrupted is female or from another underrepresented group. It shows you respect them and their ideas—and expect their colleagues to do the same.

The more people who call others out on this behavior, the more likely it is to stop. Former interrupters may even start calling others out on it, too. It can start a chain of behavior change to create a much more inclusive business.

Adjust your office temperature based on employees’ preferences, not the 1960s

Modern office temperatures are based on a study from the 1960s. Done on white men wearing woolen suits.

Not only has clothing come a long way since then, but so has the workplace.

One of the reasons I have such huge issues with office working is because of how cold I have found every single office I’ve ever worked in. The females I worked with always felt the same but were less likely to speak out—unless I instigated it—because for them it was uncomfortable. For me it was a chronic pain trigger.

The male managers in the office always insisted they were fine. Sometimes they’d find a way to accommodate or compromise, other times we were basically told to suck it up.

You’re never going to please everyone, but if more than half of your team is complaining about the office temperature, and it’s bad for people with disabilities, it’s time to do something about it. You never know how many people are suffering silently because you haven’t created an inclusive business.

Provide space and support for new mothers

Going back to work after having a baby is tough. Breastfeeding can make it even more complicated.

For mothers who are still feeding their babies breastmilk, having a safe, private space to pump at the office can make life a lot less stressful.

While the law requires this in many places, a lot of workplaces still haven’t caught up. And often won’t until someone explicitly threatens to make an issue of it.

Don’t put new moms at your organization in this position. Build a more inclusive business and give them time and space to pump before they have to ask.

Listen

Just because you don’t see something as a problem, that doesn’t mean it isn’t. (See above examples.)

Everyone experiences the world—and the workplace—differently.

So, if an employee comes to you with something, pay attention to them. Don’t dismiss their queries or concerns just because you’ve never considered something an issue before. 

We’re all unique, and what impacts one person may not impact another. That doesn’t mean it isn’t a problem that needs solving.

Offer fidget toys

Fidget toys can help employees focus during meetings or when working on tedious tasks. They come in all shapes and sizes, from stress balls to pens to cubes.

I’ve been using fidget toys for just over a year now, often when I’m editing or on a call. They’re grounding, and help employees retain information in meetings. Allowing their use is a small way to ensure you’re cultivating an inclusive business.

Have a quiet hour

We’re constantly bombarded with notifications. It’s not great for our concentration levels or mental health. Especially if we’re doing a task that requires concentration. It can take us twenty minutes to get into a state of focus again. Is twenty minutes of quiet even possible in the modern world?

Allowing employees time and space where they can switch off and do some deep work helps them be more productive. 

It also creates a calmer work environment where more focused work gets done without the added stress of constant notifications and interruptions.

Captions in meetings

Many video tools now auto-generate closed captions in real time. This can make meetings more accessible to people who are hard of hearing or who have difficulty processing auditory information.

Turning on this option supports a more inclusive business environment and ensures everyone can get the most out of meetings. And you can get the most out of them as employees.

Put the PowerPoints and GIFs away

Did you know that busy PowerPoint presentations with too many slides, or excessive GIFs, can be distracting for some neurodivergent people?

Too much visual information can lead to sensory overload. Which means any neurodivergent people watching your presentation may feel too overwhelmed to focus on what you’re actually talking about.

So if you want a more inclusive business, use slides to show your key points and avoid flashing images.

Let employees work when they’re the most productive

The traditional nine-to-five doesn’t work for everyone.

I spoke to someone the other day who wakes up at 4:30am and goes to bed at 5pm. That works for her.

I get up around 9am and start work after lunch. That works for me.

Forcing myself to do work that requires deep focus first thing in the morning makes it harder for me to concentrate and means tasks take longer.

Leaning into our most productive times helps us get more done and fulfill our potential.

Conclusion

These are just a handful of ways you can show employees you appreciate them, attract top talent, and truly build a more inclusive business.

If you’re looking to step up your inclusion work this year and ensure every employee is set up for success, Workrowd can help. Our all-in-one tool suite enables you to launch new inclusive business initiatives with ease, and measure the results in real-time.

Sound useful? Visit us online to learn more or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

6 challenges women face in the workplace and how you can help

Female leaders are leaving companies at the highest rate ever. For every female director who gets promoted to the next level, two female directors leave. It’s not all that surprising when you consider the wide array of challenges women face in the workplace.

These challenges don’t just hold women back, though. They can have a major negative impact on your bottom line as well. Let’s take a look at some of the challenges women face in the workplace, and what you can do about them:

We’re outnumbered

Just one in four C-suite leaders is female. And only one in 20 is a woman of color.

For every 100 men who are promoted from entry-level roles to manager positions, only 87 women are promoted, and only 82 women of color are promoted.

As a result, men significantly outnumber women at the manager level—and women can never catch up. Uneven promotion rates are often both a component and result of challenges women face in the workplace.

We’re perceived as less qualified

Women in leadership are more likely than men to have a colleague imply they’re not qualified.

And they’re twice as likely as male leaders to have someone mistake them for a more junior employee.

And they’re more likely to report that a personal characteristic—like being female or a parent—has played a role in them being denied or passed over for a raise, promotion, or chance to get ahead. Having multiple intersecting identities only adds to the challenges women face in the workplace.

Our DEI work is ignored

Women leaders do more to support employee wellbeing and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).

But 40% of them don’t feel the organization acknowledges this work in performance reviews. That’s a lot of time and energy spent on work that no one recognizes. And this is one of the challenges women face in the workplace that could make it harder to advance.

Women are also 1.5 times as likely as men at their level to have left a previous job because they wanted to work for a company with a stronger commitment to DEI. Given the stats, it’s hardly surprising.

We’re stretched thinner

Female leaders are more overloaded than men in leadership. 43% of them experience burnout compared to 31% of men at the same level.

We get less support

Women of color get less support, but are more ambitious. 41% of them want to be top executives, despite the challenges women face in the workplace. That’s compared to 27% of white women.

We want more workplace flexibility 

Just 10% of women want to work primarily on-site. As a result, women are more likely to stay at, or join, a company that offers remote or hybrid work options.

Working remotely some or all of the time isn’t just about the flexibility, though.

Women who work this way experience fewer microaggressions and higher psychological safety. This decrease is even more significant for women of color, LGBTQ+ women, and women with disabilities.

So, what can you do?

Those stats are pretty upsetting, right? So, what can you do?

To overcome the challenges women face in the workplace, it requires a team effort. Everyone has to do their part, regardless of gender. Or seniority.

Leaders must set an example. Everything from how they talk about diversity, equity, and inclusion, to if they challenge their own unconscious biases, can impact the behavior of their employees.

Challenge the stigma

It’s only when people step up and challenge stigmas that others notice their unconscious biases. It’s not always a comfortable conversation, but it’s an important one.

Can you hold unconscious bias training?

Or get a senior leader to talk about their experience facing bias?

The stories told by senior leadership can stick with employees. Especially when you factor in that we process—and remember—stories better than statistics.

When leaders share their challenges, it makes them feel more accessible to employees. It can also turn their problems from abstract concepts that happen to someone else, into tangible problems that employees should look out for.

Encourage DEI initiatives (and recognize those who run them)

What do your DEI programs look like? Really?

And, more importantly, do you recognize the hard work put in by the people who run them?

It’s important to recognize any extra work done by employees, whether that’s overtime, running an employee group, organizing charity work, or something else. This makes them feel valued and appreciated—and means they’re more likely to stay.

Consider a quota

I know, quotas sound questionable. But they work. And they don’t mean that incompetent women get in; in fact, they weed out incompetent men.

So, if you’re serious about helping eliminate the challenges women face in the workplace, is it worth giving quotas a go? Even if only temporarily?

Provide support (and listen to your employees)

Do you listen to employees when they give you feedback? Or do you collect it then forget it?

It’s important to act on the feedback employees give you, particularly if there are recurring patterns.

Making employees feel heard, and reducing the sources of their stress, can help prevent burnout.

Which, over time, can also reduce the money you lose to sick leave and employee churn.

Offer flexible working

Flexible working is more inclusive regardless of what your DEI goals are. It can also help address a number of the challenges women face in the workplace with one change.

Could you offer more flexible hours? A hybrid approach? Or even remote work opportunities?

Watch your words

The language we use creates a particular narrative in our minds.

If we spend a lot of time with someone, or we’re in a position of power, those words can also influence how people see us, themselves, and the rest of the world.

So, while you may feel fine using a word like “master” when you talk about “mastering a craft” consider the masculine undertones and the associations with slavery. Because while you may not notice them, words like that can and do affect your workplace culture. 

Conclusion 

The only way talented women will stop leaving companies en masse is if something changes.

That requires businesses to wake up to the challenges women face in the workplace and start supporting them how they want, not how businesses want.

Changes like offering flexible working and using inclusive language show employees you’re committed to making a difference in this area. This can change how they do things, too. But it has to start at the top.

If you’re ready to build a more equitable workplace, you need the right tools. Workrowd empowers you to target challenges women face in the workplace with training, ERGs, resources, and more.

Plus, our real-time analytics ensure you can track your progress over time, as you benefit from a more diverse and inclusive workforce.

Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Your return to office policy is hurting your DEI efforts – here’s why

Back in the dark pandemic days most of us would rather forget, those of us who dislike office-based working rejoiced when jobs moved out of the office and into the home. We were blissfully unaware at that point what a battle the return to office conversation would become.

Back then, we all thought that the transition to remote work would mean a massive shift in how businesses operated. We thought they’d finally understand the importance of remote working for employees’ mental and physical health, diversity, and business success.

After all, working from home doesn’t make employees less productive. It makes them more productive.

I recently spoke to a former colleague who said that the company now works mostly remotely, with occasional in-office time.

Why?

Because they found employees worked better when they worked remotely. At the same time, they did still need some people around for face-to-face interactions. In this situation, hybrid working was the perfect compromise.

So then, why is there a mass return to office going on? 

Even Zoom, the very company that enabled so many of us to work remotely during the pandemic, has mandated a return to office. 

There seems to be a discrepancy between what employees want, and how much managers trust them. 

But if managers don’t trust their employees, why did they hire them in the first place? 

I mean, I know places like this still exist. But do they have to make it so obvious? It’s not going to help their future hiring efforts with so many people now wanting to work remotely.

This is especially true when it comes to hiring talent from underrepresented communities. Here’s why mandating a return to office can be especially harmful to your diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Not everyone works well in an office

There are very few people who concentrate better in an office. Those people make up around 3% of the population.

There are some parts of office-based work—like the background noise, or the overhead lights, or even using the wrong equipment—that we may not consciously realize impact our productivity. Especially if we’re used to blocking them out or just sucking it up.

But, over time, the impact compounds. It reduces how much employees can concentrate, and therefore how much work they get done.

When you force a return to office where everyone has to work in the same environment, sacrifices and compromises have to be made. 

Which means that there’s a high chance some employees will leave. 

For many people now, remote or hybrid working is a non-negotiable requirement when they job hunt. Which means if they already work for you and you change the rules, they’re not going to think twice about leaving you in their rear-view mirror.

It’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s needs in an office

Health and safety regulations, while important to follow, are based on what fits most people, not everyone.

We all have unique needs from our work environment. It’s the same way that some of us have different dietary requirements.

I once had a colleague who got relentless migraines because of how bright the new LED lights were. But HR insisted that the white lights were better for our long-term eye health. His migraines begged to differ.

Truth is, it’s impossible to accommodate everyone’s needs, especially in a larger business. Some people will always slip through the cracks for one reason or another. Which isn’t fair on anyone, and makes return to office a bad approach if you want to maintain and increase diversity.

Underrepresented talent is at a disadvantage in an office

When I asked Workrowd CEO Rachel Goor her thoughts on the current mass return to office, she said:

While it’s often overlooked in return to office discussions, where employees work actually has huge implications for DEI progress. For example, being in the office creates more pressure to conform with racially biased workplace expectations. It disadvantages caregivers who have to juggle commuting and being away from home on top of their familial responsibilities. It makes it more difficult for people with disabilities to access the necessary accommodations to thrive. Bottom line: if you want to recruit and retain talent from underrepresented communities, don’t mandate a return to office.

Offices can be rife with judgment and cliques. Whether this is conscious or not, it reduces psychological safety and makes the environment less welcoming for everyone. Societal pressures take up a lot of subconscious headspace that can have long-term impacts on someone’s emotional health.

Offering training around these issues can help. Ultimately though, employees need to want to understand and improve for it to make a difference.

Forcing employees to work in an office shrinks your talent pool

If you only hire people who can commute into the office, you significantly shrink your talent pool. Not just in terms of location, but in terms of skill set and experience, too. 

That means your competitors who accommodate remote work are more likely to find the best person for the job. 

After all, what are the odds the best candidate lives just down the road from you? Pretty slim.

Many candidates from underrepresented communities can’t, or don’t want to, work in an office. A single parent may struggle to be in the office by nine in the morning, but they could drop their children off at school and still get back to their desk at home on time.

With the average commute at around an hour, that’s a big chunk of someone’s day dedicated to traveling.

Office-based work simply introduces more variables

People want a better work-life. Remote or hybrid working provides that in a way a full-scale return to office never could.

A wheelchair user might not fit in your elevator, or be able to climb the stairs. If they work in their own space though, they can still get to their desk to work.

Spray air fresheners, or employees’ excessive uses of deodorant or perfume, may be unsuitable for someone with asthma or COPD. At home though, they have control of the atmosphere and what is (and isn’t) sprayed in it. Without you having to put policies in place to enable them to breathe.

I could go on, but you probably get my point. There are so many variables you have to juggle in an office. It’s never going to be as inclusive or as welcoming as allowing someone to work in their own space.

Conclusion

Some jobs, like manufacturing, require employees to be in a physical location. Office-type work generally doesn’t. And most people don’t like it either.

Foregoing your physical office space saves you money that you can spend on other areas of your business. This could include growing your DEI efforts through hiring, training, and employee engagement.

So why not boost your employer brand by giving employees what they want? If you’re ready to overcome misguided notions about return to office and build an engaged and inclusive hybrid and remote culture, Workrowd can help.

With a one-stop shop for all your employee programs, groups, and events, you can drive real belonging from day one, no matter where or when people work. Organizing your resources and announcements through a central hub saves time and ensures everyone is always on the same page.

Plus, real-time analytics empower you with the data you need to maximize your resources. Sound interesting? Visit us online to learn more, or drop us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Family-friendly workplace policies to drive inclusion for your team

While it would certainly make life easier if the only thing your employees had to worry about was their job responsibilities, that’s rarely the case. Team members have hobbies, friends, and perhaps most importantly, families to think of, too. Accordingly, it’s never too early to start implementing some family-friendly workplace policies.

Caregivers, whether parents or those supporting older relatives, bring a unique set of skills to the table. They’re great problem solvers, negotiators, and communicators.

However, family commitments can make it harder for these individuals to find a job. They’re often not offered the flexibility they need to succeed at work.

So, if you’d like to make your organization more welcoming to this rich talent pool, here are some tips for implementing more family-friendly workplace policies:

How to create more family-friendly workplace policies

Ask your employees what they want

The scope of a team member’s caregiving role will influence what they need, and can provide, at work. The best way to find out what those needs are is to ask your employees. 

You could create a survey, do a focus group, or even ask in Slack or on Workrowd.

The more places you ask, the more information you can get. Of course, as a result, the better your future family-friendly workplace policies will be.

Research what others are doing 

You do research to find out what your competitors are doing and what the key to their success is. So, why not do the same for family-friendly workplace policies?

You need to know what others are doing—and if it’s working. That way, you can streamline your own processes and avoid the pitfalls others have faced.

Bring in a consulting firm

Another way to streamline creating family-friendly workplace policies is to bring in a company that specializes in helping businesses implement effective practices.

This is more expensive than doing the research yourself, so it may not be suitable for a smaller company. That said, it can save larger companies a lot of time and effort that they could use on other things.

Trust your employees

Creating more inclusive and family-friendly workplace policies requires trusting your employees to do their jobs.

Since everyone works in different ways, the more rigid company rules are, the less likely you are to find someone who’s compatible with that way of working. And the less likely you are to benefit from increased company diversity.

To implement things like flexible working or remote working, you need to trust your employees.

You need to trust them to not let you down, to perform at their best, and to be upfront and honest with you.

For that to happen you need a culture where employees feel trusted and where they trust you.

Trust and respect work both ways. If employees have even the slightest whiff of something being off, or feel like they’ll get judged for something, then they’re not going to be as open with you or their colleagues and it will negatively impact your company culture.

Ways to make your workplace more family friendly

Implement flexible working…yesterday

There’s no better way to say you’re a family-friendly company than with a flexible working policy. 

It tells caregivers that you don’t mind if they need to come in later or leave earlier because of caring responsibilities. So long as they get the work done, that’s what matters.

Trust your employees to work remotely

Do you allow employees to work remotely?

Flexible work is one thing. Allowing employees to work at home, or where they’re most productive that isn’t the office, can make a huge difference to how inclusive your workplace is—and how much money you lose to your employees’ childcare and other responsibilities.

Remote work allows caregivers more time to spend with their children or relatives. Being able to work from home means they’re not losing an hour or more each day to their commute. 

They can use their lunch break for quality time with family members when they’re home. Or, even for a little bit of much-needed time to themselves.

Update your parental leave policy

Does your parental leave policy only cover new mothers? Or does it cover new fathers, too? What about trans or non-binary individuals?

Your parental leave policy should be inclusive and not make assumptions about who will return to work first. It should also consider parents’ needs as well as legal requirements.

Consider, too, your policies for parents of newly adopted children. What do they need? How can you help them?

Offer family healthcare

When employees know that their family’s healthcare is covered as well as their own, it can make things a lot less stressful if someone gets sick or even just needs a new pair of glasses. 

Family healthcare is a simple way to show employees that you don’t just view them as someone who produces for your company, but you value them and their family’s long-term health as well.

Provide family medical leave

Sometimes someone gets sick and it’s not possible to work remotely and care for them at the same time.

Offering some sort of family medical leave, where people can look after their relative without worrying about work, or using up their paid time off, gives them the head space they need to help their relative.

Subsidize childcare

Childcare can get expensive really fast.

I live and work in the UK. Some of our friends struggle to work even though they want to because childcare is just so expensive.

If you can subsidize employees’ childcare costs, so that their child can enjoy educational and fun activities while they’re at work, or when they need a break, it helps your employees focus, and it benefits the next generation.

Conclusion

Family-friendly workplace policies make your business more inclusive. This attracts a wider range of candidates and means you get to benefit from the unique assets caregivers can bring to your business.

Being family-friendly could even be a differentiator for your business that you use to grow your employer brand and customer base.

If you’re ready to better support parents and other caregivers with more family-friendly workplace policies, having a central hub for employee info is a great place to start. With Workrowd, it’s easy to ensure employees always have the information they need to make the best choices for themselves and their families.

Plus, the platform offers an easy way to manage and measure employee resource groups for parents and caregivers and other effective support initiatives. Want to learn more? Visit us online or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.

Categories
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

8 employee event ideas to deepen belonging for your workforce

You know that keeping employees engaged and connected can go a long way towards driving retention. Events are obviously a great way to do this, but who has time to constantly come up with new employee event ideas?

40% of people feel isolated at work. I’ve been there, and it’s a horrible feeling that doesn’t just impact your working life, but your home life, too. Your mental health. Your physical health. And even your ability to enjoy your hobbies when you’re not at work.

When employees feel like they belong in the workplace, it can lead to a 56% increase in job performance, a 50% decrease in turnover risk, and a 75% reduction in sick days. 75%!

For a company with 10,000 employees, this would result in an annual savings of over $52 million.

Just let those numbers sink in for a moment.

$52 million.

All from employees feeling like they belong where they work, instead of feeling like an outsider in the place where they spend most of their time. Coming up with employee event ideas seems like a pretty small lift when you consider that kind of payoff, right?

The relationship between employee events and diversity and inclusion

Businesses in the US spend almost $8 billion per year on diversity and inclusion initiatives. Unfortunately, they often fail to include one key element in these efforts: belonging.

To fully reach your DEI goals, you need to create an environment where employees of all backgrounds and identities feel included.

There’s no point educating employees on what diversity looks like if you don’t take steps to make your workplace more inclusive. This could include offering ramps and elevators as well as stairs to your office, or transcripts for video meetings. Small changes like these can add up to make a big difference to your employee experience.

As many businesses embrace remote or hybrid working, it’s important to find alternative ways to ensure employees can connect with their colleagues.

One simple option for fostering connection and increasing employee belonging is with these employee event ideas.

Employee event ideas to drive deeper belonging for your workforce

Here are some employee event ideas you could try in your business:

ERGs

Employee resource groups (ERGs) offer a simple, employee-led way for team members to connect with coworkers who share their interests or backgrounds. 

When people have someone at work who shares commonalities with them, they’ll feel more connected to what they’re doing and their place of work. They’ll feel less like an outsider and more like they’re a part of something. They’ll also have someone to go to with concerns that may be related to their disability, race, gender, religion, etc.

Of course, your organization’s employee resource groups can also be a great source of employee event ideas if you’re stuck. Don’t hesitate to consult and partner with them!

Team retreats

When working remotely, having the opportunity to meet up with colleagues every few months can re-engage employees and help generate new ideas.

I’ve seen some businesses organize retreats in different places every time. This allows employees to experience different cultures while getting to know their colleagues. It’s a great way to introduce them to other ways of working, scenery, culture, and even food!

Hackathons

A hackathon is a challenge for a group of employees where they have to put together a product or service in a set amount of time. There’s usually a theme of some sort, whether it’s vague like “time” or something more specific, like a scheduling app.

Internal or external hackathons test employees’ skills in a fun way. They also appeal to people’s creative and competitive sides.

Hackathons can be an effective way for teams to bond outside of their day-to-day tasks. Or for new teams to form and get to know each other.

You can also reward employees for their hard work with prizes at the end. Hackathons are one of those employee event ideas that’s often overlooked, but can make a big impact.

Escape rooms

Escape rooms build team bonds, develop problem-solving abilities, and play to people’s strengths. They can even help employees discover new skills along the way!

Movie nights

Pop culture is a really good way to bond with other people. You’ll never find a movie that everyone loves, but watching something together can spark conversations and new connections.

Sometimes people’s tastes might surprise you, too, or you might introduce them to a whole new genre.

Volunteer days

Employee volunteering programs are becoming increasingly popular. They’re a good way to boost employee morale and engagement.

If you have several employees who live near each other, you could organize for them to all volunteer at the same place on the same day. That way they’ll get to know each other while working together for a common cause.

Partnering with community-based organizations is a great way to tap into a steady stream of new employee event ideas to engage your team.

Classes 

Whether it’s a lunch and learn, or an afternoon during a team retreat, offering classes is a great way to encourage employee bonding and teach people something new.

Some options include:

  • Poetry or spoken word
  • Painting 
  • Pottery

Go for something that has a low barrier to entry and is accessible to as many employees as possible.

And remind them that it’s meant to be fun—no perfectionism or pressure required! 

Team meals

Meals are a great, low-effort way to get to know someone. If you don’t know what to talk about, just talk about the food!

When booking somewhere, look for a restaurant that can cater to individuals’ nutritional needs or preferences. There’s nothing worse than turning up to a restaurant to find that their only vegan option is a side of fries, or they don’t even know what gluten-free means.

Part of creating a culture of belonging means considering people’s dietary needs, too, even if you don’t have any requirements yourself.

Conclusion

Effective employee event ideas come in many forms. The common factor though, is that they help employees of all backgrounds feel appreciated and included in the workplace. 

This has huge benefits for businesses of all sizes, reducing sick time and increasing profits. 

It also increases the impact of any diversity and inclusion initiatives, because it’s not just talking about diversity and inclusion, it’s actively creating it.

If you’re ready to free up more time for dreaming up awesome employee event ideas, and spend less time juggling all the logistics, Workrowd has your back. With all the tools you need to market, manage, and measure your events and programs, you and your employees can enjoy the ease of having everything in one place.

Sound interesting? Drop by our site to learn more, or send us a note at hello@workrowd.com.