Creating a diverse and inclusive work environment is easier said than done. Many firms prioritize it, particularly startups and small businesses, but it isn’t that simple to yield results.
Fortunately, it isn’t difficult to understand how to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It only takes some knowledge, taking a decision and acting on it.
If you want to improve your business (and the world), you ought to learn how to make your workplace more diverse and inclusive. This article will show you how to start making the changes your company needs.
How to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Measure instead of guessing
You can’t simply go into a room full of people and judge whether or not it’s diverse and inclusive. Diversity and inclusion aren’t merely subjective measures; they require hard statistics.
Conduct anonymous company surveys to determine how your employees feel about diversity, inclusiveness, and corporate culture. Repeat the poll regularly to check if you’re making progress and set objectives for where you’d like to be in a year time or longer.
Customer research can also help you understand more about your hiring requirements.
Hold yourself accountable to the objectives you want to establish and make them public.
Set check-in dates and prevent the initiative from being forgotten if the results aren’t as expected.
Make a company-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion. Executives, team leads, recruiting managers, recruiters, and front-line employees (who are busy referring all of their friends) should all be involved.
Don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. Recognizing the issue, committing to a goal, devising a strategy and carrying it out to the best of your ability is half the battle won. Diversity and inclusion are more of a journey than a destination.
Make Inclusivity a Core Value in Your Organization
Your company’s values usually represent your culture and how you think, behave, and treat people. Unfortunately, diversity and inclusion are frequently left out of these ideals and lumped into the “other” category.
Include inclusion in your company’s fundamental principles. That includes reinforcing (and working toward) your values during all-hands meetings, events, team meetings, and even calls with possible investors, not simply in an onboarding brochure or on your website’s employment page.
Request assistance from your staff in revising your values. What do they want your company’s inclusiveness to look like, and how will they know whether you’re making progress? What kind of vocabulary do they use? Let them comment, provide feedback, and polish your company’s new values to perfection.
Consider your word choices more carefully
To be inclusive, you must make a conscious effort to eliminate toxic terminologies from your company’s common lexicon. It isn’t just what you say on your website or in Google Docs; it’s how you communicate in meetings, corridors, and corporate events.
Your industry may use language that is objectionable to some races or groups. Some industries, for example, utilize words such as allowlist, blocklist, main bedroom, and wife beater. These terms have the potential to be disrespectful. Find new words to describe these more inclusive objects.
When you make a mistake (which we all do at some point), apologize swiftly and truly. We’re not perfect, and inclusivity isn’t something that can be turned on or off. Make a conscious effort to avoid making the same mistake again.
Create a supportive space for everyone
The average person works for at least 90,000 hours, or one-third of their lives. It’s a different debate whether we should work that much or not. However, the takeaway is that people should feel at ease and protected where they spend most of their time.
Consider how you can make your office (both physical and virtual) more accessible to everyone. Here are some suggestions:
∙ Wheelchair Ramps: Wheelchair ramps aren’t just for disabled employees. Some employees prefer walking the stairs, while others are more likely to bring disabled friends and family to corporate functions.
∙ Nursing Rooms: Provide a safe, quiet room at your workplace for working mums (or aspiring moms). It doesn’t have to be nice but it shouldn’t be filthy, it should have a lockable door, comfortable chairs, a mini-fridge, and a sink.
∙ Gender-Neutral Bathrooms: Not everyone identifies as a guy or a girl. Provide a safe space for those employees to do their business. Single-person, gender-neutral bathrooms are a simple solution.
∙ Quiet Areas: Not everyone thrives in “collaborative” environments. Some employees like to work in calm, secluded areas. They aren’t necessarily introverted or antisocial; they just operate better in that environment.
∙ Personal Time (Remote): Slack messages, emails, texts, and Zoom meetings are continuously bombarding remote employees. Allow employees to schedule an “off the grid” time and not reply to communications on their calendars.
∙ Prayer Rooms: Some religions have prayer rooms open during the week and on weekends. Providing a dedicated worship place in your office makes their lives easier and shows that you care.
Hire with Purpose
Your current employees and the people you hire next define diversity and inclusion at your company.
When hiring new employees, fight the impulse to hire people who are exactly like you. While this makes connections more accessible and reduces discomfort, your company necessitates a wide range of abilities, perspectives, attitudes, and actions.
Consider what your team might be missing. If you have an all-male marketing team, it would be beneficial to hire some females. If most of your leadership team is of a single race or ethnicity, consider diversifying your hiring to gain more viewpoints in critical decision-making.
Remember, building diverse and inclusive teams is not about being politically correct. It all comes down to making your employees feel better, happier, safer, more engaged, and more productive.
Everyone comes on top.
Increase the number of inclusive company vacations
Examine your company’s typical holidays and consider how you may make them more inclusive of diverse cultures, beliefs, faiths, and people. Thanksgiving may be unimportant to some of your coworkers, but Juneteenth may have a significant meaning for them. That is something to keep in mind while selecting days for company vacations.
It is tricky territory to negotiate. Making everyone happy is challenging since taking time off for every holiday is impossible—no one would work, and you’d eventually shut down.
Consider offering a diverse range of more inclusive business holidays to your current and future employees.
Encourage the formation of employee interest groups
Our social areas are shrinking, and our friends and social groups are spilling over into the workplace. That can be wonderful because it also allows like-minded coworkers to get together and meet both within and outside the office.
Encourage your employees to join groups and clubs at work to help them make new acquaintances and expand their networks.
Assist your human resources department in learning about these groups to guide new hires to the right resources.
Inclusivity of the host Training and Special Events
Our cultures, relationships, and upbringing shape our inclusivity, but not necessarily for the better. In many cases, being more inclusive involves more than a conscious decision—it necessitates training and repetition.
Inform your employees (and yourself) about ways to be more inclusive. Invite guest speakers or experienced trainers to instruct your team at sessions and events. Make this a regular element of your week-to-week and month-to-month personal and professional development.
Bring it up in conversation
If you sweep diversity and inclusion under the rug, things will never improve. Bring them out into the open. Discuss them in executive sessions, team meetings, and one-on-ones throughout the year, not just during Pride Month, Ramadan or the yearly goal-planning.
Be honest and open with your staff. If you don’t like what you hear, ask for comments, and don’t get defensive.
Remember that workplace diversity and inclusion is a journey, not a destination. It doesn’t matter where you start your journey as long as you know where you’re going.
Find out what works (and what doesn’t) for other managers, founders, and CEOs. Their knowledge could assist you in better catering to your local demographics and avoid costly errors and insensitivities.
More discussion and awareness will never harm the situation; on the contrary, they will only improve it.
Bottom line on How to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Learning to encourage diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing process, not a one-time event.
Make sure to relate to your managers and employees in order to understand their concerns.
Authored by Afifa Maryam Siddiqui
Edited by Yara Fakhoury
“Fujn fuses learning with earning in a fun way. Fujn is made by women for women. Ladies, dare to reimagine your possibilities! Check us out at www.Fujn.us, Fusion spelled F. U. J. N.”