Feb 02, 2022

How Inclusion and Diversity Can Make Your Business Better

Diversity and inclusion are no longer just HR buzzwords, nor are they debatable. They are vital to setting up a healthy workplace and organizational culture. Having a strong diversity, equity and inclusion program in your organization creates a real sense of belonging in the company culture. Not only that, being diverse in your hiring can massively help improve your business and it eliminates any toxic cultures that might exist in your organization.

What does it mean to be diverse and inclusive in your workplace? Diversity can go beyond race, religious beliefs, gender, age, sexual orientation, or nationality. It means that your organization consists of individuals who bring new perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds to the table. Inclusion means that everyone in the diverse mix feels involved, respected, treated fairly, and feels embedded into your culture. It is extremely important to empower your employees and recognize their special talents to create an organizational culture that’s based upon inclusivity. Diversity without being inclusive can create a toxic culture, and inclusion without diversity can create a stagnant and uncreative culture.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

There are a great many ways to foster diversity and inclusion in your workplace, let’s take a look at some diversity and inclusion in the workplace examples.

1. Base your organization standards on objective criteria Having objective criteria reduces the chances of bias or prejudice in the organization. Build collaborative action plans together as a team by meeting frequently to avoid unconscious bias. Gain buy-in from every team member and lead by example to call attention to what you’re attempting to do and why you’re doing it.

2. Recognize and reward your employees frequently Appreciating employees and recognizing them publicly for the great work that they do create a sense of belonging and also shows that you’re creating a culture of empathy in the organization. Recognitions also offers company-wide visibility and gives the employees a chance to celebrate their peer’s uniqueness and strengths. Recognition is a great way to build a supportive and inclusive workplace. Recognition tools should be used to promote your company values, especially the ones that promote your diversity and inclusion initiatives. Some of the company value examples that surround diversity and inclusion are to embrace cross-cultural diversity, committing to equality and demonstrate respect.

3. Hire and promote diversely When it comes to hiring practices, it is important to hire the most qualified person, and leave any potential bias behind while doing so. The best way to cut down on any bias while making hiring decisions is to have a diverse hiring panel. Look at your existing hiring team and evaluate how diverse the members are, whether the team is lacking in gender perspective etc. This also applies to when you’re looking to promote internally. Keep a close eye on the employees who are rising through the ranks in your company and ensure that you’re creating a well-rounded management team by removing any bias while promoting internally.

4. Listen to employee feedback Sending out surveys and having one-on-one meetings with your employees is a great opportunity to hear information directly from your employees and course correct if necessary. Ask specific questions related to diversity and inclusion to get your employees’ thoughts on how you can build a more inclusive environment. Do remember to act on this feedback as this will be critical to how employees will provide you with feedback in the future.

5. Talk about it! Spread the word about your company culture by talking about it and highlighting your diversity and inclusion efforts on social media or your company website. Be open about how diverse your hiring process is and walk the talk by posting your open positions to diversity focused job boards.

6. Document D&I best practices and policies A company’s best practices and code of conduct should be always visible to all employees, and the code of conduct should be updated regularly to outline the company’s approach to diversity and non-discrimination. Add a non-discrimination module to your annual employee training sessions to reinforce the importance of diversity and inclusion in your company culture.

7. Implement and practice pay equity Instead of merely talking about the importance of pay equality in the organization, practice spreading the wealth and creating greater appreciation to encourage a more cohesive work environment. Any discrepancies in salaries can drive a wedge between your employees, so make sure that you remember to reward and recognize every group of employees to avoid this scenario.

8. Demolish the age barrier We know that with age comes wisdom and experience, but should that be a barrier in making your hiring decisions? The answer would be a big “NO!”. Everyone has something of value to offer, and when it comes to hiring decisions, make sure that you hire people across all ages as it will give varying perspectives to the project and add tremendous value.

9. Hire globally With remote work becoming the norm, globalization has become more important than ever and has rapidly changed the way we conduct business. When you hire globally, you’re able to find a team member who can speak the local language or be able to grow authentic relationships in their communities which is a great asset for your business.

10. Train your team to recognize unconscious bias Recognizing and then eliminating unconscious bias will go a long way in ensuring that you’re making the right hiring decisions for your organization. Train your hiring managers on what unconscious bias is, and what can’t be asked during an interview such as talking about a candidate’s religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or personal life. Apply this to your existing employees and ensure that every employee in the company should be open and conscious of any bias they might bring to a group or one-on-one meetings with a colleague.

Not only is diversity and inclusion a move in the right direction morally, but it is also a smart move from a recruiting and company growth standpoint. More than 60% of employees believe that their companies should improve diversity among the internal workforce, especially among the top management. So, start practicing a culture of diversity and inclusion and watch it create an environment of openness, motivation, and engagement.