Diversity is an essential facet of the modern workplace. Gone are the days when certain individuals don’t get the chance to be part of a company only because they possess qualities they have no control over. Giving equal employment opportunities to people regardless of race, gender, and similar attributes allows for new ideas and perspectives.
However, diversity is only half of the equation. Given the plethora of cultures melding in the workplace, a company must also make sure one group doesn’t feel left out. It must promote inclusion, which means the workplace should welcome individuals of various demographics. Diversity and inclusion (D&I) is an approach enabling anyone to work for a company without feeling alienated.
Most entrepreneurs use the terms ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ interchangeably, but they are, in fact, different. It’s one thing to open your company to a broader range of groups, but it’s another to make sure they’re not disaffected. This guide will go into the various ways you can promote an inclusive culture in the workplace.
Hire Via Special Channels
Experts don’t deny the benefits D&I brings to any workplace, from enabling the creation of fresh ideas to increasing revenue. But they also acknowledge the hurdles the business may have to face in order to achieve it. For one, companies might end up hiring ill-suited talent, which can be detrimental to their productivity.
When looking to promote D&I, a lot of things must change—including the recruitment process. Employers must branch out to a wider range of talents and expand their sources instead of relying on the ones they’ve been using for years.
Consider recruiting via special channels for that purpose. For instance, providers of disability employment services can help employers hiring people with or without disabilities find the right talent. At the same time, they assist their referrals in managing their current jobs or switching to new ones.
Create Safe Spaces
Safety in the workplace should always be a priority. The company is responsible for any negative occurrence in the business. However, in terms of inclusion, it’s more than just keeping workers out of physical harm’s way.
As gender identities have become widely talked about in recent years, some companies are moving to incorporate gender-neutral features in their workplaces. Among them are gender-neutral restrooms, which are becoming a lot more common these days. They accommodate not only cisgender males and females but also all others in the gender spectrum.
As mentioned earlier, you don’t want anyone to feel like they’re being left out. Simple changes in the workplace can send a clear message about your company and its resolve in promoting D&I. They show that you respect your workers through and through, making them feel at ease.
Commit To A Good Cause
Following the death of George Floyd in 2020, the U.S. finally had a serious talk about workplace bias. A Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) survey revealed that 42% of Blacks, 26% of Asians, and 21% of Latinos disclosed unfair treatment in the workplace. Their employers have paid dearly for this by as much as USD$200 billion in overall losses over five years.
Such was the uproar that major corporations practicing inclusive leadership have begun pledging millions to support advocacies promoting D&I. Netflix has committed to funding more diversity in films. Boeing has joined the fight against Asian-American hate crimes. Bank of America has promised to help small businesses.
If measures such as installing gender-neutral restrooms send a clear message, committing to a good cause makes a company’s D&I intentions even more evident. You don’t have to donate a large sum, but you don’t want the amount to be insignificant, either. Also, you have to set an example in your workplace when it comes to fighting against unfair and discriminatory behavior.
Above all else, you shouldn’t wait for problems such as workplace bullying to rear their heads. If left to escalate further, they can lead to a hostile work environment and spell disaster for your business in the form of lawsuits or resignations. Be aware of the risks and take action before issues can worsen.
Establish a mechanism or protocol that will allow you to safely and appropriately address predicaments in the workplace. Make your employees aware of what constitutes harassment and that you won’t tolerate such behavior. With this approach, you can clear up a lot of misunderstandings before they turn into bigger problems.
Having employees from different walks of life isn’t enough. The members of your staff must also be able to work out their differences in order to grow as a team, all under the guidance of an employer dedicated to promoting D&I. It’s not easy, but it’s not impossible, either.