Diversity, equity, and inclusion are much more than buzzwords. They are of crucial importance in the workplace and can make and break whether employees feel comfortable and able to work with your organisation. Most organisations have policies and procedures in place, but how does this translate into day-to-day working life?
The media has shown us time and again that there is real belief in and appetite for a world which is fairer and more equal. Campaigns like #MeToo and #BlackLivesMatter have brought diversity to the forefront, and this is no different in the workplace. Building a diversity-first approach to work and embracing diversity throughout organisations and teams is essential rather than something nice to consider, the priority should be ensuring all workplaces are inclusive and you can start with your own.
Steps towards a More Inclusive Workplace
Diversity and inclusion are key policies within many companies, but the next step is needed in most instances, to put policies into action. Here our five considerations and steps companies can take to make the workplace more inclusive:
1. Business Importance of Diversity and Inclusion
Companies should employ a leadership team which is both diverse and representative and reflective of the business landscape they work in. Workplace teams should reflect the target customer and when they do, consumers are much more likely to be satisfied or impressed by the level of service they receive. A diverse team can connect more easily with a wider demographic of customers.
2. Empathetic Leadership Practices
Considering diversity, equity and inclusion as a single policy separate from the rest of the workplace and the responsibility solely of human resources. A company which really supports inclusion will practice it at all levels, leadership downwards and a commitment to belonging as a core business value is essential to this.
3. Proactivity against Unconscious Bias
Unconscious bias happens when the human brain makes quick judgements and assessments without our conscious input. These biases are often unintentional but can impact and impede diversity and inclusive workplace cultures. Training in unconscious bias can help employees understand and check themselves, moving to a more inclusivity-first mindset.
4. Push for More Diversity
Positive discrimination has become an uncomfortable and unwanted term but accelerating the progress of underrepresented groups in the workplace is possible through mentorship and support programmes. Providing underrepresented and minority employees with opportunities to grow is essential to create the diverse leadership teams of the future.
5. Listen and Learn
Employee resource groups or even anonymous questionnaires and feedback surveys can help you get a better handle on diversity in your workplace. Feedback can help you see where gaps and issues may lie. If you want to provide a workplace which is more diverse and inclusive, listen to those impacted by a lack of diversity and educate yourself in their wants and needs for a better environment.
A company which ignores the importance of diversity and inclusion sends a poor message to their customers, as well as potential employees. Promoting inclusion is not something you should consider optional and doing all you can to have an open and inclusive work environment should be considered a priority.