Handle of Stressing Your Employees Out

The battle for the White House isn’t just taking its toll on Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump – it’s also negatively affecting American workers, new research finds.

U.S. employees say political discussions around the office are stressing them out and making them more argumentative and less productive, according to a study from the American Psychological Association.

Overall, 17 percent of those surveyed said the political rhetoric they are subjected to by colleagues has made them feel tense or stressed, with 15 percent saying it has made them more negative at work. In addition, 13 percent said talk this election season has made them less productive and 10 percent said their work quality has suffered because of it.

“The workplace brings people together from different backgrounds who might not ordinarily interact with each other,” David Ballard, director of American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence,said in a statement. “When you add politics to the mix – a deeply personal and emotional topic for many –there is potential for tension, conflict and problems for both employees and the organization.”

 The research found that men and younger workers are being negatively impacted the most by political discussions in the office. Compared with women, more than twice as many men said they had more trouble getting work done, that their work quality has suffered and that they had been less productive at work.

Similarly, employees between ages 18 and 35 were more likely than their older peers to say that political talk has negatively affected their work performance, quality of work and productivity.

Younger workers are also more likely to look at their co-workers in a more negative light because of political conversations. The study found that 26 percent said they have a more negative view of co-workers as a result of political discussions at work, while 28 percent said they avoid some co-workers because of their political views.

On the flip side, political talk has brought some co-workers closer together. Nearly one-quarter of all those surveyed said they feel more connected to their colleagues and 23 percent said they have a more positive view of their co-workers as a result of hearing their political viewpoints.

Overall, many workers say talk of the presidential campaign has been more constant this year than they previously remember. Nearly half of those surveyed said employees have been more likely this year to discuss politics at work then during past election seasons. Although 60 percent of employees said people at work are generally respectful toward others with differing political opinions, more than one-quarter said they have seen or overheard co-workers arguing about politics. In addition, 11 percent have gotten into an argument themselves.

Ballard said regardless of political identification, the heated discussions and divisive rhetoric this election season have the potential to take a toll on people’s well-being and even affect their job performance.

“While employers may not be able to limit political discussions in the workplace, they can take steps to ensure those conversations take place in a civil, respectful environment,” Ballard said. “A psychologically healthy workplace is particularly critical during challenging and polarizing times, and these survey results highlight the fact that despite conventional wisdom, people are often more alike than they are different.”

Always Equate to Increased Engagement

Employees are growing increasingly satisfied with their jobs, new research finds — but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re more engaged in their work.

A study from Gallup examined 13 different job aspects and how satisfied employees were with each of them. Despite a dip in satisfaction with health benefits, co-worker relationship and vacation time, employees are happier than they were a year ago in most of the categories, including flexibility of hours, job security, recognition at work, chances for promotion, salary and on-the job stress.

“From last year to this year, workers have become more satisfied with most aspects of their jobs,” the study’s authors wrote. “This trend coincides with a recent uptick in ‘good jobs’ — the percentage of Americans who work full time for an employer.”

However, the increase in employee happiness doesn’t always translate into more productive workers. The researchers said that while satisfaction is on the rise, two-thirds of employees are still classified as either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged.” This is much higher than the percentage of workers who are unhappy with certain aspects of their jobs.

“From an employer’s perspective, this research shows that increasing workers’ satisfaction with their workplace alone is not the formula to improve productivity, retention and output,” the study’s authors wrote. “Employers should also strive to have engaged employees — those who are not just content with their job, but who are highly involved in and enthusiastic about it.”

To increase engagement, companies need to do more than just pay employees higher salaries and offer more vacation time, the researchers said.

“Gallup finds that boosting engagement involves focused efforts on complex elements that drive day-to-day performance, including role clarity, opportunities to develop, and feedback and progress discussions,” the study’s authors wrote. “This type of focus on engagement, however, can have a powerful effect on the factors that matter most to an organization’s performance-management and human-capital strategies.”

Focusing on improving employee satisfaction and engagement pays off for most businesses. Gallup research has found that businesses with above-average numbers of highly engaged employees average 21 percent higher profitability than businesses that have fewer engaged employees.

The Gallup study was based on surveys of 521 adults employed full or part time, aged 18 and older, and living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

How to Check Email Anywhere and Everywhere

From the second employees get up in the morning until the wee hours of the night, checking email is a near round-the-clock activity, new research finds.

The study from Adobe revealed that white-collar employees spend an average of 7.4 hours each weekday checking their work and personal email, up 17 percent from a year ago.

In the morning, the vast majority of workers have checked their email well before sitting down at their desk for the day. The research shows that 36 percent of those surveyed check their email while still in bed in the morning; 39 percent give it a look while getting ready, eating breakfast or having coffee; and 10 percent check it as they are getting ready to leave or on their commute to work. Just 16 percent of employees wait until they get into the office to review their emails.

Once the day ends, 25 percent check their work email regularly until they go to bed, while 28 percent check it a couple times after dinner before unplugging for the night. That’s still not enough for some, as 3 percent even get up during the night to see if they have new messages. The research shows that 43 percent only check their email if they are expecting an important message.

When outside work, employees have become quite proficient at multitasking while reviewing emails. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed check email while watching television, 57 percent check it while in bed, 45 percent read them while in the bathroom and 44 check it while talking on the phone. Other popular activities workers combine with reading email include walking, commuting, having a meal with someone, working out, having a face-to-face conversation, driving and during a formal ceremony.

“This survey underpins that email is here to stay in our personal lives and in the workplace,” Kristin Naragon, director of email solutions for Adobe Campaign, said in a statement.

Knowing the frequency at which emails are checked has increased the expectations of a quick response for many workers. The study found that when at work almost one-third of the employees expect a response to their email within an hour, with 16 percent expecting a response within a few minutes. Just 16 percent are fine with not getting a reply for at least one day.

The research discovered that texting has affected the way 70 percent of employees send work emails. Of those surveyed, 37 percent said texting has contributed to them making their emails more concise and 20 percent are now making them less formal. In addition, 42 percent have used an emoji in a work email, with the “thumbs up” being the most popular one.

With so much email use, it’s only natural that some messages employees receive get on their nerves more than others. The email behaviors from colleagues workers find most annoying are when they:

  1. Use “reply all” when it’s not necessary.
  2. Send an email when an in-person conversation would have been better.
  3. Ask them to email something they have already sent.
  4. Don’t copy them on an email when they should have.
  5. Forward them emails they’ve already received.
  6. Copy their manager on an email unnecessarily.
  7. Criticize or provide negative feedback via email.

The constant email use has some employees making a concerted effort to get away from their inbox for a few days. The research shows that 45 percent of employees have tried a self-imposed email detox where they take a break from checking their emails. Of the 82 percent who stuck it out, the average detox lasted an average of 5.3 days.

Many workers saw a lot of value from their break, with 37 percent saying it made them feel liberated and 34 percent saying it relaxed them.

Nagaron said the research has important implications for email marketers.

“Marketers must adapt their approach to address email behaviors and avoid adding to the noise of the inbox,” Nagaron said. “This means fewer emails and ensuring those sent are mobile-optimized, personalized and contextual to offer the best possible digital experience.”

The Reason of Employees Hate Their Job

A job title like “chief happiness officer” sounds fun and playful, but it may actually make workers unhappy with their professional positioning.

According to a survey by Spherion Staffing Services and Research Now, 25 percent of workers consider non-traditional job titles unprofessional and are against the idea of having one. Another 23 percent agreed that these types of titles don’t accurately capture what the job entails.

Even without the creative titles, there is still room for improvement as far as job titles are concerned. The Spherion survey found that nearly 42 percent of respondents feel their job title doesn’t reflect their true roles and responsibilities, and 14 percent consider traditional job titles such as “project manager” or “specialist” too generic.

“Employees take great pride in their job titles, and in some cases, a title that is considered limiting or hard to describe can significantly impact their job satisfaction,” Sandy Mazur, Spherion division president, said in a statement.

Despite their general unhappiness with job titles, most employees feel confident in their ability to describe their job in a way others can easily understand. The survey revealed that if put on the spot, 89 percent of respondents would have no problem delivering an “elevator speech” that highlights their responsibilities. When workers do struggle to articulate their jobs, survey respondents said it is often because they consider their responsibilities too complex for those outside the industry to comprehend.

The Spherion survey uncovered several other insights into how employees perceive their roles:

Employees shape their own stories. Twenty-seven percent of workers feel their professional and personal networks would find their job boring if they accurately described it. Older workers (ages 45 and up) feel more comfortable outlining the full scope of their professional responsibilities to others, but younger workers (ages 18 to 34) feel pressure to “dumb down” their daily tasks to help others understand. The Spherion survey suggests that employees might actually make it harder on themselves to explain their jobs: 53 percent of workers give different accounts to different audiences, while another 11 percent say they occasionally lie about what they do for a living.

Pop culture perceptions matter. Just over 30 percent of workers feel that pop culture significantly shapes others’ perceptions of their job, as friends and family may equate them with someone they’ve seen in mainstream media. Workers 18 to 34 tend to find greater merit in these comparisons than older workers, with 45 percent of survey respondents in this age range agreeing with pop culture perceptions.

Creativity and culture don’t tell the whole story. Younger workers (18 to 34) tend to believe creative job titles showcase their company’s creativity and culture, but 45 percent of workers from the same age range also feel that their job title does not accurately summarize what they do.

So how can employers make workers value their job titles and responsibilities? According to Spherion, the best thing you can do is find out how they feel now.

“As businesses face greater pressure to retain and recruit top workers, re-examining how different titles are perceived and applied can make a big difference in building morale and positioning a company as a favorable place to work,” Mazur said.

Keep Political Talk Civil

The 2016 election is getting closer, and most people have their personal opinions about political leaders’ social and policy stances. When the election comes up in the workplace, it can sometimes lead to heated discussions and possibly altercations among co-workers.

The race to the White House is already taking a toll on American workers. According to a study from the American Psychological Association, U.S. employees say political discussions around the office are stressing them out and making them more argumentative and less productive.

But it doesn’t have to be that way: There are plenty of ways for people to embrace political activity at work that can lead to a stronger company culture, rather than a divisive one, said Jacqueline Breslin, human capital director atTriNet, an HR outsourcing company.

With so many people feeling stress about November and beyond, here’s how to diffuse any tense situations that may arise from political discussions at work.

Set guidelines and boundaries

As an employer, setting boundaries is a great way to avoid any issues that may arise from election-related conversations.

“Employers should provide clear guidelines for how to discuss politics in the workplace and how to display political affiliations,” Breslin said. “While you want to support your employees’ rights to express themselves, you also should set clear policies outlining how to do so professionally.”

She recommended that managers or the HR department post guidelines on what is appropriate and inappropriate political behavior. This post should be in places all co-workers can access, such as the break room, the company’s intranet or an email sent to all employees.

HR is a great resource in heated political moments. Remind employees to approach their managers or HR if someone else’s politics ever interfere with their comfort in the workplace. The problem should be reported to de-escalate any uncomfortable situation.

Understand when you can and can’t step in

According to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), an employer may not interfere with political speech where there is a “direct nexus between employment-related concerns and the specific issues that are the subject of the advocacy.”

“For example,” Breslin said, “employees are generally protected if they say something to the effect of, ‘Support Bernie Sanders because he will raise the minimum wage.’ On the flip side, employees would not be protected if they said something like, ‘Support Donald Trump because he will make America great again.'”

This is because the minimum wage could affect an employee’s working conditions, while the statement about making America great doesn’t directly affect work

If there is a complaint filed and the conversation is determined to be protected activity, the NLRB will then generally look to your policies regarding employee conduct during work hours and in working areas to determine employees’ ability to engage in that activity, she added.

How to Recognize The Report

Workplace harassment comes in many forms. It can happen online or in person, and be verbal, physical or sexual in nature.

Regardless of its incarnation, abusive behavior creates a toxic work environment, but many workers feel uncomfortable reporting harassment to their bosses or HR managers.

“If you are being harassed or think you may be but are too scared to go forward, educating yourself on the facts is a great way to gain confidence to stand up for yourself,” said Becca Garvin, executive HR recruiter at Find Great People International. “The sooner you act on it, the easier it will be to put an end to it.”

Broaching the subject at work is understandably nerve-wracking. This nervousness is a normal feeling, said Brian McClusky, human resources director at InkHouse PR.

“Nervousness is probably the main reason employees don’t bring these issues forward,” he told Business News Daily. “If they are not comfortable addressing the issue with their harasser [there are some instances when it may not be safe to do so], HR is a neutral, safe, third-party resource.

“Employees should be reassured that their issue will be taken seriously, addressed quickly and thoroughly, and with as much discretion as possible,” he added.

Identifying harassment

Understanding what is happening to you may help when approaching the issue. According to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, offensive conduct may include, but is not limited to, offensive jokes, slurs, epithets or name calling, physical assaults or threats, intimidation, ridicule or mockery, insults or put-downs, offensive objects or pictures, and interference with work performance.

Harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, a supervisor in another area, an agent of the employer, a co-worker or a nonemployee.
  • The victim does not have to be the person harassed, but can be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
  • Unlawful harassment may occur without economic injury to, or discharge of, the victim.

“First and foremost, know that if you are being harassed at work, it’s illegal and you are protected by law. Not only are you protected from the person(s) harassing you, [but] you are also protected from your employer failing to protect you,” Garvin said. “If you know someone who is being harassed at work, you cannot lose your job by reporting it yourself.”

Online harassment

Harassment online can include hateful speech in emails, instant messages, tweets or other social platforms. It can range from name-calling to threatening behavior.

“People tend to be braver, which unfortunately includes being meaner, behind a screen,” Garvin said. “The good news about online harassment: It is documentable and easily proved. This helps so much with reporting and proving it.”

To monitor the situation, Garvin suggested taking screenshots, saving emails on your personal computer and keeping a file of everything that makes you uncomfortable.

Who the employee that network together

Getting your employees to network more with their co-workers, instead of with professionals from outside the workplace, could be the key to keeping them around, new research found.

Internal networking boosts job satisfaction and job embeddedness, according to the new study recently published in the journal Personnel Psychology. The researchers define “embeddedness” as a feeling of wanting to remain in a job, both because of ties to co-workers and concerns about losing real or perceived benefits.

Overall, the research revealed that getting co-workers to network with each other reduces the likelihood of turnover by 140 percent.

Caitlin Porter, one of the study’s authors and an assistant professor at the University of Houston, said that while work used to be a major source of friendships, that’s no longer the case.

“That gives people less reason to stay,” Porter said in a statement. “So giving people the opportunity to build their relationships could help with retention.”

In general, the researchers said that networking is defined as a set of behaviors performed with professional contacts, including the mutually beneficial exchange of resources, such as news about job openings and advice on how to better perform a job.

In external networking, professionals get together with people from outside their organizations, often facilitated by professional groups or trade associations. Internal networking, by contrast, can be a little more casual.

The study’s authors said that internal networking can be as simple as gathering for coffee and doughnuts before a meeting. Porter said both types of networking provide the opportunity to ask for advice, offer support and talk about common issues.

For the study, researchers examined data collected from a group of industrial organizational psychologists who were followed for two years. The study elaborated on earlier work that found a correlation between networking and job turnover, the authors of the new research said. The previous study reached its conclusions by distinguishing between internal and external networking to determine why and how each factor contributes to employee decisions to leave a job.

The researchers discovered that while internal networking dramatically lowers the likelihood of turnover, external networking significantly increases the chances of an employee leaving. Specifically, external networking increased the likelihood of turnover by 114 percent. That percentage was even higher if opportunities for internal networking were reduced.

“This study reveals that internal networking behaviors are associated with a reduced likelihood of voluntary turnover, and external networking behaviors are associated with an increased likelihood of voluntary turnover,” the study’s authors wrote. “Employee networking, in general, functions as a double-edged sword by simultaneously exerting opposing influences upon one’s desire and ability to leave the organization.”

Porter said that while employers can’t forbid employees from networking outside of the office, bosses can increase the opportunities for internal networking.

“Everything can’t just be work all the time,” Porter said. “People need to interact with each other.”

Find the Songs to Motivate You

The office is a distracting place. There’s constant chatter, ringing phones, notifications and other sounds throughout the course of a workday that can throw off your productivity.

For many workers, music is the key to regaining that focus. According to producer and composer Michael Tyrell, the right playlist can help you concentrate on the task at hand by allowing your brain to follow along with the rhythms being played.

“[Playlists] decrease the amount of random distracting thoughts that would typically derail you during the course of the workday and allow you to deeply focus on the task at hand, giving you the boost you need to power through your work,” Tyrell said.

“I often find myself needing music to drown out the noise of a busy office,” added Mitchell Kwitek, an SEO specialist at Geek Powered Studios. “When … it is hard to find a quiet place, I plug in my headphones and dive deep into chillwave.”

The case for music in the office

Teresa Lesiuk, assistant professor and program director of the music therapy program at the University of Miami, focuses her research on how music affects workplace performance. In one study, Lesiuk found that those who listened to music completed their tasks more quickly and came up with better ideas than those who didn’t, because the music improved their mood, the New York Times reported.

“When you’re stressed, you might make a decision more hastily; you have a very narrow focus of attention,” she told the Times. “When you’re in a positive mood, you’re able to take in more options.”

Depending on where you work, some bosses allow headphones in the office. Other companies take it one step further: According to Zachary Chastaine, a technical writer at engineering firm SGW Designworks, his office holds an annual Metal Day on Nov. 11.

The event began when the employees, many of whom came from corporate environments, wanted to emphasize activities you can only do in a very small business.

“The one thing they could never do before starting their own business was blast hard-core metal at work — all day,” Chastaine said. “The Metal Day mandate is to put together a playlist, bring in big speakers and … vintage equipment, and play the list too loud for the entire day.”

Though Metal Day may be a bit extreme for your office, entrepreneurs from a number of professions weighed in on the music that inspires their day. Below, we’ve compiled these songs into a Spotify playlist to get you motivated.

1. “Harder Better Faster Stronger” by Daft Punk. “I know this is such a cliché answer … but it provides a nice metronome that gets you through your day. The message is driven into you over and over, which keeps me motivated and encourages me to stay focused.” – David Blue, vice president and co-founder,Blue Moon Estate Sales

2. “If I Can’t” by 50 Cent. “This song helps me stay on the grind and get things done. And if I can’t do it, then it can’t be done. When it comes to starting a business and being a rapper, there are a lot of parallels. If you don’t stay on the grind, you’ll never make it.” – David Waring, co-founder, Fit Small Business

3. “The Nights” by Avicii. “I listen to this song every morning during my run. It’s a motivational song and the lyrics really speak to me.  It’s all about being proud of what you accomplish in life. For me, it’s an important reminder to always strive for the best, and happy with the life you lead.” – Josh Cohen, CEO and founder, Junkluggers and Luggers Moving

4. “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. “It’s a song about self-reflection and seeing how a person fits into the community surrounding them. It reminds me that no matter what, it’s important to remember where you came from.” – Gus Shamieh, president and co-founder, CREAM

5. “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor. “Who isn’t motivated by ‘Eye of the Tiger?’ You can’t beat the classics and it’s the ultimate motivational song. Plus, I live in Philly and everyone knows this is one of Rocky’s favorite songs.” – Steve Vicario, COO, Cherry Blow Dry Bar

6. “Primal Scream” by Motley Crue. “In the song, there is a lyric that states: ‘If you want to live life on your own terms/you gotta be willing to crash and burn,’ followed by a killer drum pounding. This reminds me every day that you take the chances necessary to push through obstacles and get over yourself.” – Mel O, CFP, Hot Moon Financial

Workplace Competition Friendly

Competition can be healthy because it encourages people to excel in their work, and it can even make your job more exciting. But sometimes, rivalries can get out of hand and cause turmoil in the office.

In an article for Psychology Today, clinical psychologist Lisa Firestone noted that most people are uncomfortable with competitiveness.

“Because these feelings often feel unacceptable to us, we tend to ward them off or disguise them in ways that can be hurtful to ourselves and to others,” Firestone said. “When we suppress these feelings, we leave them to fester and impact us in a variety of negative ways.”

When competition goes sour

According to a 2014 study from Monster, the majority of U.S. workers say the competition they have with co-workers or bosses has hurt their job performance. Of those surveyed, 55 percent of those who have a workplace rivalry said it has created undue stress and reduced their productivity, and 20 percent said it has gotten them into trouble with management.

Just 6 percent of those surveyed said competing with someone in the office inspires them to do their best work.

Some rivalries get so bad that employees look for work elsewhere. Nearly 30 percent of those surveyed have considered leaving their jobs because of office rivals, the study found.

Because companies work hard to hire the best talent available, rivalries are bound to occur when similarly skilled and motivated individuals work together, said Mary Ellen Slayter, a career advice expert for Monster. However, identifying what motivates employees and fostering healthier competition may help managers curb the negative feelings that may arise from people who get overly competitive.

“Balance is key,” Slayter said. “Let workplace competition motivate you to perform your best, but don’t get distracted by jealousy.”

A healthy dose of motivation

There are ways to encourage healthy competition among employees. Of those surveyed by Monster, employees named a few ways they deal with a workplace rival who causes them stress, including working hard and focusing on their goals, talking about the situation with their managers, and learning new skills to outshine the competition.

“Research tells us that people are less motivated by extrinsic factors [competition, cash rewards] and more motivated by intrinsic factors,” Gal Rimon, founder and CEO of GamEffective, a gamification company,”Additionally, extrinsic factors may create a sudden spike in performance, but intrinsic factors are more likely to generate a long-term behavioral change.”

Rimon noted that this type of influence contributed to the success of 2014’s viral ALS ice bucket challenge. “The challenge isn’t an outright competition,” he said, “but it certainly is a case where people are influenced by others.”

To encourage healthy competition, Rimon suggested having employees set goals for themselves. People will compare their performance to a “benchmarked” performance of someone at their level. It’s sort of like how fitness trackers may encourage people to move more.

“If you count steps, you’re going to walk more,” Rimon said. “So if you get real-time feedback about your job performance, you are going to do better. The same drive can be leveraged by having managers set goals that employees can track in real time, relative to themselves, channeling that intrinsic drive.”

If there are still negative feelings and a toxic atmosphere? Slayter advised employees to counter competitive tensions by finding common ground through sports, shared hobbies or just having a drink after hours.

“If you can’t get the tension under control, find ways to distance yourself from your adversary,” Slater said. “Explore your options — from switching desks to switching companies — and remember that living, and working, well is the best revenge.”

Communication and Involvement On Promoting

download-16Having an inclusive workplace is more than hiring diverse staff members. To promote inclusivity, small business owners can get involved with business development in their surrounding communities and improve their overall communication strategies.

Entrepreneurs from marginalized backgrounds — including but not limited to race, socioeconomic class and gender — face more difficulties even when starting their own business, before they can afford to hire employees. This is especially true in less diverse areas of the country like the Midwest.

Supporting business-oriented community organizations

Fortunately, there are organizations, like Omaha Small Business Network(OSBN), dedicated to underserved populations through business development.

In an interview with Business News Daily, Julia Parker, the executive director, explained how OSBN serves local small business owners, entrepreneurs and nonprofits by providing practical tools for success.

Her organization recognizes the importance of funding historically marginalized entrepreneurs in areas with a strong potential for business growth. OSBN provides commercial office space in the heart of north Omaha, technical support, microloans up to $50,000, and other business assistance services.

Small business owners outside of underserved communities can get involved by participating in events and donating to organizations like OSBN.

Changing the conversation in the workplace

As a small business owner, you can make a difference by starting small in your own office. Consider educating your employees on inclusive communication.

Using her background in marketing and advertising, Omaha entrepreneur and activist Morgann Freeman runs an inclusive communications consulting business to improve how companies interact with their employees and clients.

“I focus on changing the way we approach how we talk to and interact with, verbally and nonverbally, with one another in personal, organizational and global contexts,” Freeman said.

For instance, Fortune reports microaggressions — subtle and unintentional insults, such as asking an American person of color where they’re “really” from — can diminish the happiness of your human capital and drive away talent. Despite employees’ intentions, these comments can create a tense and exclusive environment not welcoming to those from marginalized backgrounds.

To reduce microaggressions in your business, you can invest in company education to discuss diversity in a productive atmosphere. Businesses like Freeman’s offer diversity and inclusion workshops and trainings, which help a company understand diversity through daily interactions. Rather than providing textbook definitions to complicated concepts, she helps business leaders understand better listening and speaking techniques.

Inclusive communication relates back to customer service, Freeman said, so businesses should also consider how they interact with audiences over social media. How will your business respond to comments on Facebook or mentions on Twitter?

Additionally, Forbes recommends some calls-to-action for inclusive communication strategies. For instance, employees should acknowledge their unconscious biases, refrain from speaking to genuinely listen, and remove preconceived notions. By understanding cultural biases and altering their language, employees can better understand and communicate with those from different backgrounds, especially for the benefit of the company and its services.

“Stripping away… the ‘us’ versus ‘them’ mentality allows your team to really build an empathetic understanding of diverse identities,” Freeman said on her website.

If you can improve your communications, your business has the potential to increase and expand audiences, while maintaining customer satisfaction from existing clients. These techniques can also improve employee happiness, boost office morale and improve the quality of staff relationships.

“True progress happens by changing the way you talk about things,” Freeman added. “You cannot be an inclusive organization when you use exclusionary language.”