Four tips for fostering inclusion and diversity
Inclusion and diversity matter more than ever as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic - it can be a true differentiator in supporting employees’ sense of belonging, resilience and empowerment. The business case has been proven - there is no debate, and the topic has received much focus over recent years, but the challenge of truly building this into a culture remains a key stumbling block for many. There are inherent traps that are sometimes overlooked including biases, blind spots, misunderstandings and ignorance.
Höegh Autoliners has been in the ocean transportation industry for decades and we rely heavily on our people to continue the efficiency of our operations. One of the benefits of being a truly global company is that diversity is a given. We attract people who consciously seek a diverse working environment, who enjoy learning about different cultures and respect that there are different perspectives on all matters. This is a good foundation but not enough on its own. We still need to work hard to implement a systematic and conscious approach to embedding inclusion and diversity practices and realizing the benefits of a diverse and inclusive culture.
So how do we effectively manage people with different backgrounds, nationalities, skills and mindsets? There is no simple answer to this question, but here are some of our tips:
1. Start with attraction and recruitment. Hiring a diverse group of people may sound simple, but it requires a conscious effort to reduce unconscious bias. Training recruiting leaders, carefully evaluating the process for potential biases, and recruiting for skills and learning potential are some of the tips to achieving a more diverse team. .
2. Create inclusive policies and practices. Focusing on what your people experience should be and embedding this into all policies, processes and practices is a positive and insightful way to build an inclusive culture. With global teams in many parts of our business, our policies support our focus on creating positive experiences for all our people.
3. Facilitate meaningful communication. One of the biggest challenges of any company with a diverse workforce is achieving effective communication. Language barriers may be a big hindrance but providing a safe environment and using technology to encourage and support dialogue, particularly now, builds relations and fosters collaboration.
4. Promote teamwork. Just like any other sport, a lone star player cannot win the game. Effective teams and collaboration are the core of our success at Höegh Autoliners. Every one of us has a specific role to play, and this is valued by all. Our focus on the team extends to our engagement work, training and communications.
We believe that if you make it easy for people to be themselves at work then attracting and retaining a diverse workforce comes more easily and is a competitive advantage. We strive to create safe workplaces where everyone feels empowered to bring their full, authentic selves to work.
Learn more about how Höegh Autoliners creates a safe and inclusive place for our people to grow below.