How to be an inclusive leader – from EPIC Assist’s Senior Leadership Team

Thursday, 22 March 2018

We pride ourselves on being a wholly inclusive organisation. A leader in disability employment and recruitment, EPIC’s inclusive workplace culture is vital to us. An inclusive workplace ensures that every staff member feels valued.

Diverse workforces increase morale, productivity and creativity. Teams of employees with a variety of backgrounds, provide a wider range of perspectives.

EPIC Assist’s senior leadership team have shared their top 10 tips on how to be an inclusive leader.


Clear and frequent communication within the team can help guarantee that no individual is left confused about a task, or struggling to complete it.


Team members work more cohesively when they understand fully what each individual’s goal is, and what the team’s goal is. This could be for a task, long-term project, or why they all follow their chosen career. Make it clear what they are all working to achieve, as a team.

Responsibility/ accountability

Each team member should be clear on what their responsibilities are. Autonomy is important for efficiency and productivity.

Identify any staff who may have been ‘pigeon-holed’ unintentionally, give them space to demonstrate their variety of skills and talents. Allocate new responsibilities based on these skills.

Allow team members to pick up new responsibilities based on demonstrated skills, without having a crossover which could lead to confusion. Encourage team members to take on more senior duties, to ‘share the load’.

“We have regular team meetings where each member of the team talks about their main goals for the week. These are recorded as “action points”, which are completed by the following meeting. In this way, everyone knows what the team is working on for the week. We don’t overload each other with extra tasks,” said Rick Staveley, Marketing and Communications Manager.

Round table/open-door policy

Each member of the team is of equal importance. Allowing all staff members to have equal say, to voice their concerns and solutions provides an open forum.

When a team feels that only certain members can voice their opinions, individuals with the best solutions may not speak up. This puts the whole team at a disadvantage.

Encourage every staff member to share their ideas, so that many different angles can be considered.

Above all, listen to the concerns and ideas of employees when they draw attention to them. If they feel it’s important enough to say, it’s important for you to know.

Check back with them with regards to their progress, make it clear that you are all one team.

Solution focus

Promote a workplace culture that is solution focussed. Employers who are able to learn, and accept changes will encourage alike thinking in their employees. When someone voices a concern, ask them to consider how to fix it.

Solution focussed workplaces are more productive than those which focus only on what doesn’t work.

Reinforce standards

Build confidence and pride within a team through healthy competition and realising what excellent customer service requires. Demonstrate what exceptional service is, and show that anything less is unacceptable.

Staff should feel good for providing customers with exceptional service, and be able to spot unacceptable service easily.

Encourage them to back each other up, reinforcing standards within the team so that it is not always coming from management.

Mentor/coaching/buddy system

A diverse team will bring a wide range of experience to the table. Pro-active sharing of these experiences will allow all team members to work more effectively, further encouraging them to support each other.

New staff members should have an experienced staff member in a similar role assigned as a “buddy”. This person will help them settle in and report back to the team leader/manager on their progress.

A buddy system shouldn’t be a formal process, it ensures that the newest member has someone they feel comfortable asking questions about the basics of the team’s operation.

“I always push for my team to actively back up any individual who looks like they’re overwhelmed or have too much on their plate by supporting each other. New staff members are provided adequate training so as to handle given tasks,” said Prem Nair, Chief Financial Officer.


A well-rested member of staff is far more productive than one who hasn’t taken regular leave when they should. Make sure that employees take their leave when they’ve accrued enough, so they can have a well-deserved rest. If one team member hasn’t taken any leave in a long period of time, their productivity and quality of work may drop. Keep your team working at their optimum by ensuring they take regular time off.

Recognise individual skills/strengths

This relates back to responsibilities. Each team member will have a range of skills; make sure that they are able to demonstrate the skills they excel in.

Recognise a team member who has produced excellent work, despite a lack of skills when they first began a project. This will encourage them to continue developing their new skills, which serves to widen the skills of your team as a whole.

Lead by example

Promote inclusion within your team by proving that you are an inclusive leader. Be proactive. Learn about the abilities of each employee, and ensure that all of their abilities are put to good use. This will encourage them to learn more about each other’s capabilities, and learn new skills from each other.

A wholly inclusive team will produce a highly-skilled, productive and solution focussed workforce.