Share this post

Good Workplaces Blog - Equality, diversity and inclusion

5 questions to consider when fostering equality, diversity and inclusion

“Remember none of us are perfect at this but we all have a role to play in being allies. This means creating a psychologically safe working environment that enables people to feel confident that their voices will be heard and respected.”

How inclusive is your work culture?

Diversity needs to be fostered at all levels; this is not a numbers game. How can we help people to feel a sense of belonging and thrive?

T – Team - feel like one of the team

H - Happy to speak out

R - Respect and support are given to all

I - Invited to contribute

V - Verify fairness in the judgement of work

E - Equal opportunity to progress

Do you consider THRIVE to be a ‘nice to have’?

If so, think again! An inclusive culture will support not only the health of the individual but also the wellbeing of your whole team impacting physiology, cognition, self-esteem, mental health, performance, and goal directed behaviour.

  • Offensive or demeaning language
  • Unfair expectations
  • Less frequent recognition and praise
  • Fewer invitations to offer expertise
  • Barred or discouraged from employment or opportunity
  • Absence of adjustments e.g., access for disabled

The interesting thing is these behaviours are not always deliberate, they can be unconscious. Which may bring up the question: Does inappropriate behaviour look the same in everyone’s eyes

“Ralf refers to the female members of his team as ‘the girls’

The simple answer is no, we all have different perspectives and views on inappropriate behaviour. What’s key to remember here is that if someone finds it inappropriate, it IS. For that individual it counts, it has impacted them, and we need to respect that.

Have you considered your micro behaviours and how they influence inclusion? 

Our behaviours, whether we realise it or not, signal inclusion or rejection.

They might feel small or unimportant but collectively, and if experienced by others day in and day out, it can have a huge impact on the psychological safety and inclusion of teammates.

These might look like:

-            Not being listened to

-            Not credited for ideas or input

-            Avoiding eye contact

-            Not getting to know specific individuals

-            Reluctance to show praise

I think we have all been there thinking – are they really ignoring me? These small and ambiguous acts can be powerful and can hijack our thoughts, leading to worry and sometimes sleepless nights. 

It’s time to take action!

We have all been in the position of a bystander, witnessing inappropriate behaviour but not feeling able to speak up. This can be due to confidence, not knowing what to say or thinking that it’s someone else's job.

The worrying thing is, it only takes a couple of times witnessing poor behaviour before it is normalised and becomes acceptable within a team. We can also end up copying the behaviour and joining in, sometimes without even realising.

So, it’s important to be aware of the toxic triangle:

-            The uninhibited perpetrator

-            The conducive environment

-            The silence of the receiver

Are there rules set up in your practice to help curb the spread of the toxic triangle? It’s important to create a safe space where colleagues feel comfortable and confident enough to challenge one another when inappropriate behaviour happens.

Do you feel psychologically safe in practice?

Psychological safety is a shared belief that the team has a safe environment to put oneself at risk. This can be in the form of encouraging teammates’ suggestions pr challenging things you don’t agree with to avoid blame, convey trust and show care and concern for others.

The assertive challenge technique uses the “’I” statement to minimise a comment escalating into a conflict by making it personal to you. It’s about conveying how it feels on the receiving end.

1.          Refer to a specific behaviour and the impact it had

2.          Describe what behaviour would have been preferred instead,

3.          Avoid pointing blame or criticism of the person or over generalising

Remember no-one is perfect but we all have a role to play in being allies. Creating a psychologically safe working environment that enables people to feel confident allows their voices to be heard and respected. This may involve taking criticisms at times but, when done right, it will allow the team to create an inclusive environment for everyone.

About VDS Training
VDS Training are passionate about developing all members of the veterinary team, to help you overcome the personal and professional challenges you face on a daily basis, and to build practical skills and techniques to make a real difference to you and your life.