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Embracing and Improving Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

Group of diverse business people in a modern office

As there are more active job seekers than ever, we see a growing importance for business diversity and inclusivity. In fact, it ranks highly along with flexibility, financial wellness, opportunities for growth and a focus on mental health. This is not going unnoticed by business as a substantial number of them have taken the initiative to openly promote and improve diversity and inclusion.

Now diversity and inclusivity should be happening regardless of it becoming a top reason candidates would choose that business, but diversity offers incredible benefits to employee morale and businesses as a whole. These benefits include:

  • Better problem solving abilities due to different perspectives
  • Powers innovation
  • Improves profit
  • Improve overall workplace culture
  • Increase business reputation
  • Better hiring results
  • Higher employee engagement
  • Increased creativity

So how powerful is it to achieve a more diverse workforce? Let us take a second to look at these statistics provided by EXUDE, that prove that diversity and inclusion are paramount for maintaining business.

  • Corporations are 35% more likely to outperform competitors when identified as more diverse
  • Diverse management teams can lead up to 19% higher revenue
  • 41% of businesses with clear gender diversity are more likely to produce high revenue
  • 3 out of 4 potential job candidates seek business with diverse workforces
  • 32% of potential job candidates would not apply to a business that lacks diversity
  • 74% of millennial employees believe that inclusivity equals innovation
Group of business people brainstorming using a glass wall

14 Ways to Foster Workplace Diversity

Knowing the importance of diversity is one thing but implementing or improving on it in a workplace is another. Once an organization recognizes where they stand with diversity and inclusion, they can build on it from there. Some businesses completely lack it, some offer little diversity, and some have embraced it completely. Once a business knows where it stands, there are several ways to improve upon it.

Revisit interviews and hiring process or conduct blind interview/hiring – to help minimize any unconscious bias that can happen in the interview process, be sure to offer training or revisit interview process HR processes and be aware and address any potential bias.

Introduce diversity and inclusion early in the employee life cycle – during the interviewing, hiring, and training process clearly communicate how your organization defines, cares and fosters diversity

Highlight diversity – on your business page or social media include a diversity statement and any current or future initiates that are meant to improve upon inclusion.

Offer diversity training – for leaders and employees alike, it is important for the entire organization to take this training if an organization is truly focused on improving on inclusion. Making sure everyone is on the same page and there is no unconscious or conscious bias happening on any level.

Form an inclusion council – made up of several leaders or top employees, who should be diverse themselves and who are committed to fostering diversity and inclusion with the goal of meeting regularly to create strategies that help improve diversity.

Foster a diverse business culture – employees should be able to feel like their authentic self while also feeling welcomed, heard, and respected regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, physical conditions, or sexual orientation.

Revisit benefits and programs to ensure inclusion – this includes flexible work schedules, caregiver resources and any other way to balance work and home needs. This is important because there are more than 53 million people who are caregivers for their family members. Also consider establishing a parental leave policy, providing an increased parental leave and financial model to help make the workplace more inclusive for parents.

Group of diverse business people having a meeting

Make leaders accountable – most initiatives start at the top and employees expect leaders to guide them, but typically only follow when they believe their leaders are going to be changemakers alongside them.

Revisit and strengthen anti-discriminatory policies – make sure the language and initiatives in a business’ anti-discriminatory policies use the right language and are sufficient to drive diversity and inclusion.

Ban “culture fit” as a reason to not hire a candidate – this is a prime example of unconscious bias. If an interviewer continually uses this excuse, challenge them to articulate a more specific explanation to help uncover hidden biases. If you find this to be a repeated pattern, consider a new interviewer and offer them better training or more knowledge on your organization’s hiring process priorities.

Commit to continued improvement – usually there is always room for improvement in all areas of business, organizations who continually improve diversity can see more successful hiring, improve employee retention, and have access to top, diverse talent.

Conduct pay equity reviews – to help ensure equal pay and inclusion. Conduct formal reviews regularly of a business’s pay structure to ensure fair pay regardless of race or gender.

Update workplace policies to promote diversity – business policies should reflect your business’ stance on diversity and updating them to match this can increase the satisfaction of not only new hires but a workplace as whole. You can incorporate inclusive practices in policies such as dress code, day care options, holidays, hiring, and work schedules.

Create diverse mentorship programs – to help ensure everyone has an opportunity to advance and find growth within the organization. All employees, regardless of age, race, or sex, should be offered mentors to get opportunities to support professional development, continue education, and improve employee morale.

Start Somewhere, As Long As You Start

Without a doubt, improving diversity and inclusion in the workplace is incredibly beneficial to everyone in that business and as a whole. Even after implementing better and more diverse practices, be sure to always revisit and improve upon policies and processes to help continued growth for inclusion. While it may seem overwhelming to adapt and improve on all your business’ processes, policies, and overall culture, it is necessary and can be taken one step at a time because continued growth and a focus on diversity is more important than implementing it hastily. Finding where your business stands on diversity and inclusion and building from there is one the best places to start.