There are many ways to improve and nurture inclusion & equality in the workplace, and there are countless benefits to getting it right. Embracing the correct policies, executing on the key initiatives, and using the right tools will lead to a diverse and prosperous workplace, where employees feel included, appreciated, and understood. In this article, we will dive into a number of ways to promote an inclusive and diverse workplace, as well as demonstrating the benefits of implementing these things correctly.
Promoting Diversity and Equality
- Start at the top
Take some time to examine your directors, high-level managers, and other members of the executive team. How much diversity is there in that top-level management? If the answer is “none” or “minimal”, the task of promoting diversity and equality is going to be incredibly difficult, especially to do it with a level of empathy and trust. Make strives to ensure the executive team understands the need for diversity and equality, and work on this at the same time as working on it in the rest of the company and communicate these efforts well. High-level management should also be actively involved in promoting diversity and equality – if it is only coming from HR, the trust that the company fully embraces the concepts will be lost.
- Company culture
Create a company culture that welcomes and promotes all employees having an equal voice that makes them feel safe to express their opinions and concerns in an environment without fear of being victimized. When this type of culture is embraced it makes employees feel a much greater sense of connection both with the company and with their fellow colleagues.
- Garner trust with an open dialogue
Always attempt to maintain an open and honest dialogue about diversity and equality issues. Creating a dialogue about gender equality where equal pay is concerned, for example, shows that you have transparency on an issue that is at the forefront of many people’s minds. If gender pay gaps do exist, show that you are working to combat these differences, or explain why they might exist. Being open and transparent leads to greater workplace trust, and a greater feeling of inclusion.
- Embrace diverse ideas
A more diverse workplace has the benefit of creating more diverse ideas, which if nurtured in the right way could be of enormous benefit to your company. Of course, diverse ideas are nothing without embracing inclusivity in the first place, and understanding the ways in which people from diverse backgrounds might wish to express these ideas and viewpoints. Knowing that some people may prefer one-on-one brainstorming sessions, others may prefer to submit ideas more formally – create an inclusive workplace, embrace its diversity and it will pay dividends for everybody involved.
- Think about generational inclusivity
An often overlooked area of inclusivity is pushing to have a multigenerational workforce. Along with this inclusivity comes the importance of understanding the difference between the various generations, and sometimes within the same generation. Understand that some generations have more comfort with certain technology, and adapt to these changes. A much younger generation will be much more open to chat/IM communication tools, whereas an older generation may be more comfortable with emails or verbal communications. Try to embrace all of these to get the most out of your multigenerational workforce.
The Benefits of Promoting Diversity and Equality
As mentioned above, diverse ideas can pay huge dividends for a company. The main reason behind this is that there is an increased amount of innovation that comes from having teams with a diversity of backgrounds. Collaboration between team members with diverse backgrounds, diverse thought processes, and different personality traits will lead to more innovative ideas.
- Understanding differing markets
Having a workforce that prides itself in its diversity and equality gives a company benefits in understanding different markets. Understanding social, political, and cultural differences in markets you may be trying to break into is crucial to avoid coming across as culturally insensitive. Having a culturally diverse workforce allows you to be ahead of the curve and avoid such pitfalls.
- A welcoming workplace with a positive reputation
Creating an open and inclusive work environment leads to greater employee satisfaction, which leads to a more productive work environment. Also, externally the reputation of your company is boosted with the knowledge that you are striving for and succeeding in making a workplace that embraces diversity and equality.