We spend about half of our day at our workplace, which means that our co-workers are the people we tend to meet and see most often during the week. However, not all workplaces are as diverse as you would like. Diversity is very important, and now that we have just entered the new year and 2022 is starting.
Diversity and inclusiveness in the workplace have many benefits for both employers and their employees. Creating a diverse workplace is not a fad; it has tangible, direct benefits and decreases employee turnover. So, without further ado, let’s find out the importance of diversity in the workplace and what it entails.
What exactly does inclusion mean?
Inclusion has been a major topic of discussion for a few decades now, visible in many sectors, from nonprofits, universities, and research institutes to large technology companies. Inclusion in the workplace essentially means that no one is excluded intentionally or unintentionally or because of bias in hiring and other employment practices, regardless of their background.
Having an inclusive workplace doesn’t just mean hiring in POC to meet a quotient; it means reviewing your recruiting processes, ensuring you follow fair hiring practices, making unbiased promotion decisions, and treating all your staff fairly. You need to address different types of diversity to create a truly inclusive workplace, such as race, origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, class, and other cultural dimensions. However, the true scope of diversity goes much deeper.
1. Improve your “cultural skills”
Before you even think about changing attitudes in your company:
- Start by examining your knowledge.
- Familiarize yourself with the latest appropriate language for different races, religions, sexual orientations, genders, and backgrounds.
- Consult with your co-workers from these different backgrounds and find out what you can learn about their habits and beliefs and the challenges they face.
2. Be aware of and expand your company’s goals
Your company may have set goals to encourage and promote diversity and inclusion. If so, get involved and help support these initiatives: join diversity initiatives, help with event participation and find other ways to offer support. On the other hand, if “diversity and inclusion” is not yet part of the dialogue, now is the time to discuss it with HR and company management to demonstrate your interest and make these ideas a priority.
Discuss it with other employees in the company to gauge general interest. There are many ways to bring attention to these ideas, including creating a diversity and inclusion committee, reviewing hiring practices, sending out an employee engagement survey, or hosting diversity-related events.
3. Encourage diverse voices
Pay attention to who is speaking up in your team and make sure everyone’s voice is heard. You can speak up and let that person speak. This can help create a conversational environment where employees feel free to express their ideas and opinions without fear or interruption.
4. Support diverse hiring
Regardless of whether you are the hiring person or not, you can make a difference in who is hired. When your company has openings, you can recommend candidates from different backgrounds, and if you’re the hiring manager asking for referrals, let your team know that you value diverse experiences and mindsets.
5. Commit to small acts of inclusiveness
Consider the co-workers you chat with between meetings, invite to dinner, or send helpful ideas your way. Do they come from the same backgrounds as you? Challenge yourself to expand your circle of friends and be open to hearing how employees of different religions, races, or backgrounds view the world.
6. Speak out
Help support zero tolerance for bias and discrimination in the workplace. If you experience or witness such behavior, it is your responsibility to report the incident to your HR team, and yes, it is the right thing to do.
7. Listen to feedback and continue to improve
Even the most alert, aware, and open-minded individuals have areas to improve. Therefore, feedback is an important tool for progress. When others give you feedback on how you can better support or promote diversity and inclusion in your company, commit to learning and improving.
8. Practice the values you promote
Implementing change can be a significant challenge, so start by defining your goal and taking some simple, incremental, but meaningful steps to achieve it. You may choose to mentor a junior colleague who comes from a different background. You might talk with co-workers about the benefits of inclusion and diversity efforts in your workplace. And quite simply, you should always treat those around you with respect, professionalism, and kindness.
Sound off in the comments section below and tell us what you want to read next and if you want to read more about having a more inclusive workplace.