How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace


 — November 3rd, 2021

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) are vital elements of an organization’s success. While many companies have been putting diversity, equity, and inclusion into greater focus over the last few years, there is still significant room for improvement.

According to Deloitte, diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee. Another study by Gartner found that inclusive teams improve team performance by up to 30 percent in high-diversity environments.

This is because diverse teams promote employee engagement and productivity and they allow for enhanced problem-solving abilities. Having numerous perspectives in the mix can allow for business challenges to be approached in new and effective ways.

Reaching beyond HQ: Communicating effectively with a diverse workforce

When it comes to promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, here are some things companies should consider:

1) Educate managers on the benefits of diversity in the workplace

Firstly, it’s important to not assume managers understand the prominent role workplace diversity plays in overall company success. Likewise, there is no guarantee that managers will be equipped with the know-how and skills to manage a diverse group of employees.

Offering training to managers is a simple but effective way of helping them develop the knowledge needed to manage a diverse team. By offering cultural and other sensitivity training sessions, managers will be inspired to oversee and guide diverse groups of employees.

Having an employee feedback system is an excellent way to assess the performance of managers when it comes to these issues. Giving employees a voice of their own will allow for the easy assessment of what is going right and what needs to change.

2) Bigger talent pool

According to a Glassdoor survey, 72 percent of women, 89 percent of black respondents, 80 percent of Asians, and 70 percent of Latinos said workforce diversity was important to them. A significant number of white participants held the same view.

Further studies indicated that people with ‘ethnic’ names need to send out a greater number of resumes before they get a call back from employers, compared to other applicants. Furthermore, applications with female names are rated lower than males, even if the resumes themselves are equal.

This is often attributed to something called ‘culture fit’ which operates on the premise that certain candidates will not be a good fit for a company’s culture. However, what this is truly indicating is a lack of diversity within the company. If businesses are going to create a ‘culture fit’ then it should be one that incorporates greater diversity and creates opportunities for building inclusion in the workplace.

3) Develop a strategic training program

As leaders commit to improving D&I within their organizations, there should be an awareness of the important role education and training plays. Diversity and inclusion training are great ways to improve equality in the workplace as they are a way to openly address biases and prejudices.

The best way businesses can ensure the training is successful is to tailor it to their specific set of needs. It’s important to reflect on the reasons why you’re creating the program in the first place and clearly outline what changes you are hoping to make.

It is also useful to utilize a variety of teaching methods such as lectures, group discussions, and interactive exercises, to keep employees engaged throughout.

This is something that companies should adapt and grow over time to meet evolving D&I needs. To be most useful, bias and diversity training cannot be a once-a-year event that checks off the box for corporate compliance.

4) Celebrate differences to make everyone feel included

To create a business that fosters an atmosphere of inclusion and belonging, employees should be encouraged by business leaders to share their own personal culture and traditions with the rest of the workforce. This can be achieved through a number of inclusive at-the-office activities including:

  • Being an ally during special times of the year that are important to certain workers such as Black History Month or Pride Month.
  • Ensuring that every individual has an equal say in the organization's decision-making process.
  • Organizing a potluck lunch day where people bring food unique to their culture for their co-workers to try.
  • Ensuring clear and concise communication at all times.

5) Create mixed teams

Teams made up of a diverse group of employees encourage members to learn about one another’s experiences, cultures, and values. This mixing of workers also allows for the blending of different minds which ultimately leads to the generation of new and unique ideas, different approaches to problem-solving and increased innovation.

If there is no possibility for diversity within the team then an option is for companies to enlist a third party from a different background, culture, age, or sex to lend their expertise to the project.

The innovation and creativity that come from such teams will have many benefits for employers. This is why inclusivity within an organization is so important when it comes to ensuring its success.

Reaching beyond HQ: Communicating effectively with a diverse workforce

Key Takeaway

Creating diverse teams not only allows for equal opportunities for employees but offers a host of benefits to employers. Diversity in an organization leads to better teams, greater creativity, and more efficient decision-making

However, diversity on its own is not the answer. Making sure new hires from various backgrounds feel included, supported, and understood among their co-workers and managers is the thing that will make them want to stay at the company.

The solution lies in embracing diversity and understanding inclusion not just in the HR department but throughout the organization. If a business is able to implement at least a couple of the strategies outlined above, they’ll be equipped with one of today’s biggest competitive advantages.

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