How to foster inclusive communication in the workplace

Jun 9, 2022
min read

From the first moment potential hires interact with your company through to their departure, they should feel and reflect your workplace values – they should also feel safe and included in the process. 

Inclusive communication is the foundation of a strong, collaborative, diverse workplace that strengthens individuals and teams to do great work together. So, we’re breaking down how to do it right in this blog. 

What Is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity (DEI)?


Diversity involves the differences in the lived experiences and perspectives, and reality of people that may include race, ethnicity, colour, ancestry, place of origin, political belief, religion, marital status, family status, physical disability, mental disability, sex, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, class, and/or socio-economic situations.


Equity refers to achieving parity in policy, process, treatment and outcomes for underrepresented and marginalized people and groups while accounting for differences. It considers power, privilege, access, opportunities, treatment, impacts, and outcomes, in several areas including representational equity, resource equity, and equity-mindedness.


Inclusion is an active, intentional, and continuous process to address inequities in power and privilege, and build a respectful community that ensures all diverse people and groups feel valued, respected and welcomed.

Diversity is only the first step – the importance of inclusivity

Part of the problem many companies have in rolling out a successful DEI strategy is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be interchangeable. It’s easy to measure diversity – but without doing the work to create a strong sense of connection and belonging, true, meaningful change isn’t possible. 

How to create an inclusive culture at work

Hiring: inclusive communication begins on day one

69% of employees are more likely to stay with a company for three years if they had a good onboarding experience

Are you making a conscious effort to ask what the new employee’s preferred name and pronouns are? Do you have a welcome box with company swag and some personalized items prior to their first day? Have you worked with the hiring manager to map out a strategic onboarding plan to get them up to speed on your business and their role? Your People Operations team should work hard to help new employees feel valued and welcomed from the very beginning.

An open door policy (and an open mind policy)

There isn’t a point to doing the work without checking in with those directly impacted by your efforts, so ask. Psychological safety and honest takes centre stage here, where your team feels comfortable asking questions, and expressing their thoughts and ideas. 

Ensure there is a safe space created for feedback where your people don’t feel judged. Whether this be via employee check ins or anonymous surveys, work with your employees to figure out how to facilitate an honest dialogue. 

Be prepared to listen

It’s easy to think we’re doing everything right when we’re not prepared to listen to our people. Especially when it comes to creating spaces where all people in your organization feel safe and included, it’s important to keep an open mind, and act on suggestions and feedback from your people – your workplace culture relies on this.  

Be prepared to speak up

We recommend having an DEI champion spearhead your strategy, but in order to accomplish that ideal culture, senior leaders need to speak up for change. Along with leveraging the guidance of the DEI leader, senior leadership and HR should work together to ensure your DEI strategy guides everything your business does. It’s when DEI becomes embedded in your culture that a truly equitable, diverse, and inclusive workplace is created and felt. 

Formalize inclusive communication

The words you use, and the way you use them, can have a significant impact on your team. Assessing phrases and words that usually go unchallenged is pivotal in ensuring everyone feels safe and comfortable at work. Inclusive language means using language that is free from stereotyped, prejudiced, or discriminatory words, phrases and tones. Buffer has an excellent resource specific to startups and tech. 

Open doors for your employees

To truly prioritize diversity and inclusion, Coach Carey said it best in our webinar, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: How to Create Sustainable Change, when she emphasized the need to invest in our diverse hires: 

“So if someone says, okay, I recognize that you may not have, as some people, as many qualifications, but can I invest in you, and we're also going to be covering the cost of this course… that person feels included and belonging – because the company is now believing in them and investing in them, and the chances of that person leaving that company within the first two years decreases significantly.”

While a certain candidate may sound perfect on paper, prioritizing diversity means making that extra effort to provide the right toolkit for diverse talent to succeed. That way, enhanced creativity and innovation in a comfortable, safe workplace is possible. 

Get started with Humi

Did you know you can add pronouns to your Humi profile? It’s just one small way we’re helping you improve inclusivity and belonging at your company. Speak with our team to learn more.

Learn more with Humi

We have plenty of resources to help you foster a workplace of inclusivity and belonging. Check them out here:

One way to keep your people satisfied and committed to the success of your company long-term is through supporting employee growth and professional development initiatives. Let us tell you how in this blog

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