Embracing Inclusion

Is your business bias-free? Do your interactions embrace full inclusion? Do the principles of accepting diversity weave throughout your services?

Most of us believe we are not bias or intolerant. I remember creating a document that I believed was well-written and inspiring to the reader. In it, I used the term “AHA” to capture the big message I was trying to convey. Sharing it with an engaged learner in my classroom, she humbly asked “excuse me Professor, what is AHA?”

New to Canada, this older woman, well-educated from her country of origin, had never heard the term that has coined much of my blogging, coaching and facilitation habits. It was a great reminder to always be looking for the pathways to build connection in all relationships.

Being more intentional with inclusive practice in life or business is essential. It weaves and is a required integration to everything we create, present or produce. How do you do that? I got you!

Here are my top ten tips for becoming more intentionally inclusive in your business or life:

1.       Developing countries is the most inclusive way to describe countries that are not as blessed as Canada with freedoms, or are lacking the blessings we experience due to politics, materialistic or environmental factors.

2.       Call children “children” rather than “Kids” when discussing them, marketing for them, or working with them. Children is a term used when they ARE your child, or when they in a stage of life prior to puberty. Labelling anyone as “Kids” is a common term, a slang, with many perceived definitions. Avoid it in business and writing.

3.       Anxiety and mental health are a real thing, and despite the ease we use or abuse these terms, and how often social media makes light of it, it is part of our work and lives. Be sensitive to create an increased understanding of the impact of stress and the truths about anxiety and depression. Support the mental health of your employees, customers and connections. You never know how you enhance or harm another’s day. Does your business emulate the values of positivity and serenity to support the mental health of each connection you make?

4.       Are you having difficulty getting everything accomplished or written up that you need? Switch up your View! One thing that bonds us all is nature, and creating spaces and opportunities to engage with nature unites us all. Be willing to ask about another’s view and find the commonalities to enhance your connection.

5.       Use the term Elderly instead of Old people to describe people in their later stages of life. Elders are wise. Calling an elder an old man or woman doesn't showcase the beauty and wisdom of this time of life. Something "old" as a visual is not an uplifting term for this significant and beautiful stage of life. Are you trying to market to those in that special stage of life? Give those in the latter stages of life the respect they deserve, the deserve it and are ready to offer their wisdom of experience.

6.       Full inclusion means everyone can play. What does this mean? Whether it be dealing with a colleague, employee or customer, focusing our energy and feedback into what they can do, not what they can't do is essential. We ALL have diverse abilities (an inclusive term to describe any person with a delay or challenge, significant or mild), varying levels of what makes us unique, that showcases our strengths and challenges.

7.       Always wear your hat for all humanity, not on gender. The pronouns we use are essential to our work in all personal and professional relationships. Many workplaces support gender neutral events, facilities management and marketing material to include every gender to participate. If you are comfortable with every he, she or they in your work or writing, you are modelling and showcasing a bias-free business. Are you doing your part to be equitable to support all gender?

8.       Beware of ageism! Ageism means we have created assumptions about different age groups that impact our bias-free work. We need to be careful to not set generalizations about different age groups, as our image needs to be protected and positive! EVERY person is rich in potential and able to experience happiness and success. If you work with someone in a different age sector than yourself, be aware of ageism. Be accepting of all to showcase the integrity and character and values of you and your business. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

9.       People fall under different socio-economic groups: affluent, middle-class, working class or in poverty. All-inclusive means all can participate and all can engage regardless of socio-economic class. Aim to speak to all. Aim to showcase an understanding and ability to meet everyone where they are. Be careful of being bias about socio-economic status. Everyone deserves the same view. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

10. Be sensitive to creating work that allows every person feel they are familiar and connected to the routines and habitual parts of their culture or race. It is so easy to use language that we know from a familiar source. We have to be aware and sensitive to traditions or habits that impact our interactions and ability to communicate. When marketing your business or writing for others, writing content of any source, know that it has the capacity to be understood by all who read it, regardless of race, language or culture.⠀⠀⠀⠀

Kim Hussey