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Human Resources Pro Offers Steps to Create a More Inclusive Workforce

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Aug 10, 2023


There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to building an inclusive team, but there are strategies that can be employed, Michael DeAngelo, chief people officer of back office software provider BILL, wrote in CPA Practice Advisor.

“Building an inclusive workplace helps to create a more cohesive and productive team, establish and maintain high morale, and sets up the firm for long-term growth and success,” he wrote, adding that “employees do their best work when they feel engaged, included and supported.”

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) is an essential step in creating an inclusive workforce, he wrote, but there is more to it than using a DEI strategy in hiring practices. His first tip is to “nurture the emotional connection that employees have to your firm’s mission, and to each other” and to articulate “a clear and inspiring mission helps reinforce for employees how their work is making an impact not only for the firm’s bottom line, but also in the lives of the clients they serve.”

He also advocated fostering emotional connections as a motivator. One method to achieve that is to establish employee resource groups (ERGs) to “provide a safe space for people to talk to each other about challenges or opportunities.”

DeAngelo’s second tip is to resist the generation stereotype. He suggested conducting employee engagement surveys, which “allow for employees to give feedback in an environment that is specifically seeking it.” Conducting such surveys regularly throughout the year can allow for assessment but, he cautioned, “[t]hey are … only effective when the leadership team takes them seriously and acts on the results.”

Creating opportunities for growth, his third tip, keeps employees "motivated, engaged and inspired," while continued education and training keeps them up-to-date and well credentialed. He advised managers to “[t]ake the time to learn what someone’s ultimate career goal is and provide projects, short-term assignments, or adjacent roles to help [the employee] get there.”

If a firm is known for supporting professional development, that will help to “nurture a more inclusive, collaborative and collegial work environment for all,” he wrote.

“Creating an inclusive workplace will help employees stay engaged and motivated,” DeAngelo wrote in conclusion. “Yes, you’ll still have tough days, difficult clients, workplace conflicts, and differences of opinion. But when you start with a foundation of inclusivity embedded in your values, culture and leadership, your employees and your firm will be geared for growth and success.”