Other practices to promote inclusion
Table of contents
Equal recruitment practices that promote diversity are a relatively easy way to increase the diversity of personnel. As a matter of fact, developing non-discriminatory recruitment practices can be one way to start promoting inclusion.
The way an organization communicates can inadvertently reinforce stereotypes and exclude certain groups. That is why the external and internal communications of an organization should be considered and developed from the perspective of inclusion in order to make sure that no word choices or illustrations are used that are exclusive or reinforce stereotypes.
Attention should also be paid to the accessibility of communications and the clarity of language. It is also worth considering to what extent the organization should communicate in languages other than Finnish or Swedish.
Images play a key role in communications. The images used in the organization's communications (e.g. websites, brochures, marketing material, job advertisements and various presentations) should be considered in terms of how inclusive they are and how much they either reinforce or dismantle stereotypes. You should examine factors such as the kind of people who appear in the images and in which roles.
The organization should pause to consider whether there is sufficient understanding of various families and life situations. All employees should be encouraged to make use of various forms of support to help with their work-life balance. At the same time, the diversity of employees' family and life situations must also be taken into account. This means also considering situations such as adoptive families, rainbow families, foster families, single parents, families without children and family situations in which someone cares for a parent or other close relative. The supervisor should ensure that employees with immigrant backgrounds are aware of the benefits and services provided by the Finnish government to help in reconciling work and family life.
During family leave, employees should be taken into account in the manner agreed with them and their possible wish to not to be in contact with the workplace should be respected. When returning from family leave, it must be ensured that the employee returns to a position that is as challenging as the one they left. They should also be offered the opportunity to receive mentoring or other support that facilitates returning to work. Employees on family leave must also be taken into account when negotiating promotions. The impact that the use of family leave has on career development and pay should be monitored. If problems are identified, practices should be developed and any shortcomings rectified. All employees should be encouraged to make use of family leave, regardless of their gender.
It is essential that work is organized in a way that provides everyone with the opportunity to perform their duties adequately.
Consideration of religion and belief
Immigration has increased the variety of religions practised in Finland. Religion and belief form an important part of the lives and identities of many employees. Some religions and beliefs can also have practical consequences for aspects such as clothing and dietary choices.
It should be considered and clearly stated whether employees can dress the way they wish. For example, if the work requires wearing certain type of clothes, it should be clearly stated whether those clothes can be combined with the way the employee dresses. With regard to different diets, it is good to ensure that food that is suitable for everyone is available in the workplace cafeteria and/or at workplace events with catering. This is already normal practice with allergies, for example.
Workplaces can take employees' religion and belief into account by providing a space where employees can engage in religious practice or spend quiet time. This space does not need to be reserved only for representatives of a particular religion, but for anyone who wishes to engage in a spiritual practice.
An employee's religion or belief may also be one reason for job modification. In countries that are more multicultural than Finland, the religion and beliefs of employees are the most common reasons for job modification.
In Finland, many Christian holidays are national holidays. However, the most important holidays of other religions may coincide with ordinary working days. The workplace can also consider the possibility of taking into account important holidays related to other religions by adapting work and holiday arrangements and highlighting them in internal communications, among other measures.
At the same time, by taking the religion and beliefs of employees into account, the organization communicates its respect and appreciation for the diversity of the work community and the individuality and importance of its employees. Employees who belong to various religious groups should be asked for their views on how they would like their convictions to be taken into account at the workplace.
Job modification and customizations
Job modification refers to adapting the work according to the employee’s work ability. The employer is legally obligated to make reasonable job modifications. The website of the Finnish Institute for health and welfare contains information on job modification and its practices. By communicating on the possibilities of work modifications, the employer can strengthen the experience of inclusivity.
Arrangements related to premises can affect employees' experience of inclusivity in various ways. When designing premises, it is advisable to consider not only the current employees but also future employees. Investing in the inclusion of premises also affects clients using the premises.
Ways of promoting inclusion of premises include:
- Accessibility removes physical barriers for people with physical disabilities.
- Gender-neutral toilets and changing rooms take gender minorities into account.
- Non-normative paintings and other illustrations can be used to ensure that interior design does not inadvertently communicate exclusive standards or reinforce stereotypes.