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7 ways to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Changing the culture of a workplace, and making it more diverse and inclusive, can be challenging but rewarding work. 

Often, deciding where to start can feel like an impossible task, so much so, that many shy away entirely from the prospect of changing culture or simply pay lip service to committing to change without ever following through. 

But there will always be a demand for inclusive and diverse workplaces and the benefits both to your teams and your company’s bottom line are well documented!

So, what can you do to make sure your workplace is inclusive and attractive to a wide ranging, diverse candidate pool?

Here are our 7 ways to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

Inclusive Leadership 

It’s well known that leaders are the ones who set the pace for their organisations in more ways than one. Every decision that someone in a leadership position makes is a powerful reminder to the rest of the company of the values the organisation embodies. 

Many people from under-represented backgrounds are concerned about their ability to progress in their careers due to that ever-present ‘glass ceiling’. So, seeing someone they can relate to in a senior position, reassures them that your organisation is a place where they can thrive.

Hiring practices 

Ensure diversity in your hiring practices by making sure that you’re looking at talent from all backgrounds. But how do you do this? It’s simple, don’t needlessly apply barriers to entry in the hiring process, like education, location, degrees, even names etc. 

Restate your organisation’s commitment to inclusive hiring, regardless of background and disability, in the job description. It’s important to make sure that when conducting interviews, you represent diversity among the panel of interviewers as well as in potential employees. 

Employee groups 

Every employee is different, which can often lead them to feeling isolated. To foster a sense of community, you could think about providing spaces where employees can gather with other people of their background, ethnicity, and shared interests. These types of spaces are a great way to make employees feel less isolated and better represented at work.

Allyship

Ensuring that you’re taking a stand on social justice issues is really important. There’s possibly no faster way to lose the trust of your employees than by putting out a statement that isn’t reflected in their day-to-day experience. 

Take an undisputable stand against human rights issues such as racism, discrimination, sexism, prejudice, and harassment. Building an environment where people feel safe and valued means standing up for their rights.

Transparency 

Never underestimate the power of being transparent about your diversity efforts with your employees! One person can’t see and fix everything by themselves, therefore having your employees on board will be a huge bonus in the long run. 

Consider implementing regular meetings and ways of giving feedback where your team can report on what they see, what needs to be improved, and discuss in a neutral space any concerns they may have. 

Be sure you follow up by acknowledging their concerns and implementing meaningful changes.

Be vulnerable 

Have regular conversations with your employees about their thoughts and feelings about diversity and inclusivity in the workplace. Try to encourage employees to have their own individual opinions. As soon as employees just agree with their colleagues the feedback becomes less valuable.  

It may be useful to play your own devil’s advocate and discuss the pros and cons of your own ideas. It’s a great way of demonstrating that you are interested in the best idea, not just the most popular one.

Do the research 

There’s still extensive research being completed around the topic of diversity, keep up to date with what’s happening around you and share the benefits of diversity with your team. Across the board, employees are happier, healthier, stay longer, and produce more when they feel respected, valued, and included. Inclusivity builds trust within an organisation.

Diversity isn’t just a conversation for others and diverse and inclusive organisation is one that is at the forefront of innovation and social change. 

Everyone has something that makes them different. Whether it’s a unique upbringing, educational background, way of thinking, or perspective on the world, we all bring our own strengths to the table. 

 


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