What makes a workplace inclusive?

In 2017, the Be Inclusive team vetted the accessibility of Chinatown with users from our inclusivity mobile app.

In 2017, the Be Inclusive team vetted the accessibility of Chinatown with users from our inclusivity mobile app.

Si Min from the Be Inclusive team tackles the most frequently asked questions since the launch of our Job Network.

How does Be Inclusive define inclusion?

An inclusive world is one where everyone is welcome and finds belonging. That is why our approach to inclusion is comprehensive and encompasses all perspectives, across races, ages, abilities, genders, sexual orientations, gender identities, backgrounds and cultures.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

- Martin Luther King Jr.

We believe a comprehensive approach to inclusion is the gold standard. Anything less leads to inequity and continued fragmentation in the community.

Establishments such as nightclubs are often held as inclusive, safe spaces for disadvantaged groups, but are these places welcoming to  all  communities? (Image: Queer Tours of London)

Establishments such as nightclubs are often held as inclusive, safe spaces for disadvantaged groups, but are these places welcoming to all communities? (Image: Queer Tours of London)

How does an inclusive workplace look like?

Be Inclusive defines inclusive companies as those whose places of business are safe, accessible and welcoming of all employees and customers regardless of age, race, gender, disability, medical history, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion or cultural background.

The essential starting point for all inclusive companies is pledging the following commitments:

  1. Providing safeguards against harassment at the place of business.

  2. Upholding protection from discrimination at the place of business.

  3. Providing accommodations that enable people of diverse needs to access their place of business with dignity.

We believe that everyone should have the right to show up at work as their authentic selves everyday.

An example of safeguards against harassment will be a written policy for employees of all genders to seek redress for harassment-related issues.

An example of safeguards against harassment will be a written policy for employees of all genders to seek redress for harassment-related issues.

How can a company be registered as inclusive?

Companies must complete a three-step process to register as an inclusive company,

1) Complete an online pledge that their workplaces are safe, accessible and welcoming to all.

2) Catalogue the amenities that make their place of business accessible to diverse groups of employees and/or customers using our registration tool where international best practices are used as a guide.

3) Complete the cataloguing within 30 days of their pledge.

Data that a company shares via this registration process include accessible entrances and bathrooms, broad anti-discrimination policies and community engagement at their place of business. These information will enhance their company’s profile and any job ad they share throughout the Be Inclusive Job Network.

Be Inclusive’s registration framework is built upon local building codes from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), international best practice such as Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index and Australian Workplace Equality Index. Our framework is vetted by a coalition of community partners across women, disability, age, LGBT and other diversity pillars.

Only companies who have completed the cataloguing can be registered as an inclusive company with Be Inclusive.

The quality of wheelchair accessible ramps, restrooms accessible to transgender people, safeguards against harassment are examples of data we gather. (Image: International Business Times)

The quality of wheelchair accessible ramps, restrooms accessible to transgender people, safeguards against harassment are examples of data we gather. (Image: International Business Times)

What if a company is not 100% inclusive?

From our conversations with the local business community, we acknowledge that implementing change is rarely easy. For example businesses in heritage-listed shophouses are sometimes unable to implement wheelchair accessible entrances or restrooms. Conversely, for some business owners the decision on making structural changes are out of their hand because the landlord has the final say.

Whatever the situation, we assure companies that being inclusive is a journey and very few companies are perfect. As a starting point, we urge companies to share the facts about their place of business. By doing so, would-be employees and visitors (such as yourself!) know what to expect on arrival.

Ultimately we encourage business leaders to always strive for improvement and invest in the soft skills that ultimately make people feel welcome at their company, regardless of the building structure. An example would be Ah Wee from Tong Ah Eating House, who welcomed customers in wheelchairs despite not having a ramp access on his premises.

A common sight in Singapore’s historic areas, shophouses abide by a strict set of building codes that can prohibit business owners from making structural changes such as installing ramp or lift access. (Image: Tripzilla)

A common sight in Singapore’s historic areas, shophouses abide by a strict set of building codes that can prohibit business owners from making structural changes such as installing ramp or lift access. (Image: Tripzilla)

How can I land a job at an inclusive company?

You can seek help in three ways:

  • Subscribe to our Be Inclusive Job Network to receive relevant career tips and job leads from inclusive companies.

  • Opt in to our 1-on-1 support to navigate and advance your career with job placement and other services.

  • If you’re on Facebook, join our diverse jobseeker support group and gain a safe space for asking all your burning questions about working at inclusive companies.

Si Min Chong