How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace: 8 tips

January 08, 2023  •  Reading Time: 7 min.

Do you wish to promote or improve diversity and inclusion in your company?

Workplace diversity and an inclusive workplace are essential to a company’s success, especially when it comes to employee engagement. Diversity, equity, and inclusion encourage creativity and innovation because each team member brings in their own set of distinctive backgrounds, experiences, and viewpoints. And that’s actually at the core of what truly makes a thriving business.

To foster an inclusive and diverse workplace culture, it’s not enough to raise awareness through just one seminar or workshop. But don’t worry: Employers and managers can definitely improve or expand their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs in a number of (quite simple) ways.

👍 We will explore a broad range of effective diversity efforts in this post.

Why is a diverse and inclusive company culture so important?

A diverse, equitable and inclusive workforce can lead to greater creativity, faster problem-solving, decision-making and overall innovation within the organization.

The reason for this is that diversity occurs at the very juncture of truly distinct people coming together. It encompasses everything from cultural diversity, gender diversity, religious diversity, linguistic diversity, different levels of education, different points of view, and unique skills.

People with diverse background working together and solving problems

To put it simply, a diverse workforce improves employee experience and gives companies a competitive advantage.

What characterizes a truly diverse and inclusive workplace?

A truly diverse and inclusive workplace actively promotes diversity and inclusion on a daily basis.

In a workplace where diversity, equity and inclusion are nurtured, employees feel comfortable and supported by the organization to be as authentic as possible. Each individual feels heard and valued by their team members and supervisors. The more included employees feel, the more likely they are to succeed in their job performance and want to grow with the business.

However, not all leaders and team members know how to best promote inclusion and diversity, so even some well-intentioned efforts could actually do damage. That’s why we’ve compiled the 8 best ways to support inclusion and diversity in the workplace.

Image showing a workplace where diversity, equity and inclusion are promoted

1. Eliminate any bias in the application and promotion progress

Expand your recruiting efforts and consider rewriting your job descriptions.

Managers and HR professionals need to learn to strip any bias from their practices. Two strategies to combat this are to rewrite job descriptions in a gender-neutral manner and to implement a blind system for reviewing resumes so that, for example, cultural background is not apparent.

Another way companies can help employees deal with their own prejudices is to provide training, for example, on unconscious bias. This so-called “unconscious bias training” can help employees recognize their own biases and challenge themselves to be more mindful of their actions and words.

📝 Note: This can best be achieved through educational seminars, informational materials, and conversations with fellow employees.

2. Encourage a company culture where every voice is valued

Create a work environment and company culture where employees with diverse backgrounds are free to speak up based on their unique perspectives.

When they believe their real selves and individuality are not acknowledged or appreciated, many people leave their positions. It is therefore vital to establish an atmosphere where they feel a sense of connectedness with the business and other employees. Only when it’s safe for them to express their worries and ideas without fear of retaliation, employees feel involved.

📝 Note: This freedom of expression truly empowers companies to actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

3. Assess whether your leadership team embodies diversity and inclusion

Your executive team sends a strong message to the rest of your staff.

A company’s management reveals a lot about its culture. Consequently, having a diverse top management is essential. So if you have the opportunity to convince your senior management of the need for diversity and inclusion, do so.

💡 Tip: Don’t hesitate to offer help to your managers to communicate authentically and transparently with employees. When doing so, make sure you provide your help in a respectful and non-judgmental way.

4. Leverage employee resource groups

Establish employee resource groups.

This can not only help managers learn from these groups in a secure environment, but it can also be a terrific method to grow and nurture talent. Employee resource groups can therefore significantly contribute to creating a culture of connection and belonging.

📝 Note: It is important to also get senior leaders on board here. Executive commitment to strengthening diversity, equality and inclusion is a sign of greater organizational engagement.

Employees chatting happily in a company that promotes diversity, equity and inclusion and where they are encouraged to be their most authentic selves

5. Design a training program and offer mentorship programs

Employees who participate in diversity training learn how cultural differences can affect how individuals interact and work.

Such training can cover everything from time management and communication methods to self-identity and dealing with conflict in a diverse group. In addition, organizations should focus on providing training that is relevant to their particular organization and workforce and is consistent with their overall diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

📝 Note: It is important that leaders make it clear why the training is taking place. This encourages employee engagement and also shows them how what they are learning relates to the company’s overall goals.

💡 Tip: Read our article “Signs of racial discrimination at work” to learn what is considered racist behavior in the workplace.

6. Shuffle your teams or employees

Learning from many perspectives, experiences, values, and cultures is also a vital component of inclusion and diversity.

Teams are more creative when they have access to a diverse pool of talent because it provides a broader perspective. If a team in your organization is made up of a very homogenous workforce, consider inviting someone who has a different gender, ethnic background, or age to contribute to an initiative or project.

📝 Note: The case for an inclusive culture is becoming much stronger these days as people recognize that there is value in experiences with different perspectives because they inspire new thinking and different approaches to problem-solving.

7. Encourage value-based behavior

Consider including a commitment to diversity, equality and inclusion in your corporate values.

Of course, this alone is not enough: Ultimately, it comes down to encouraging your employees to embody these values. To encourage your employees to live your values, you need to make it easy for them to recognize each other for embracing your company values.

📝 Note: No matter how different people’s traits and personalities are, inclusion increases when everyone shares the same values.

8. Track progress over time and facilitate feedback

Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts usually do not occur instantly.

Since cultural change takes time, businesses have to create benchmarks and monitor their progress to determine how well their initiatives are working. Companies should therefore encourage employees to share their feedback to gain a better understanding of what’s going on beneath the surface.

💡 Tip: Actively seek out opinions from staff members, especially those from underrepresented groups. In case you’ve undertaken a survey, you can quickly discover if your business is truly inclusive by analyzing the data to see if specific minority groups are having inconsistent experiences.

Workplace with a truly diverse talent pool

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace – conclusion

A diverse workforce in terms of age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity and national origin brings a wide variety of views and perspectives to an organization. However, promoting and improving diversity initiatives is only the first stage.

To achieve real organizational change, companies must build a truly inclusive culture. This means taking initiatives beyond the hiring process and ensuring equal opportunity and treatment at all touchpoints with employees and throughout the entire organization.

The endeavor is unquestionably worthwhile since workplace diversity fosters greater innovation, better decision-making, better performance, and higher revenues.

Team of diverse business people stacking hands during meeting

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace – FAQ

How can employees promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Employees can actively participate in the company’s diversity efforts to do their part to create a more inclusive workplace. For example, they could take advantage of mentorship programs or other educational opportunities, perhaps even start an employee resource group.

What are 3 ways to foster workplace diversity?

1️⃣ Hire leaders who understand the importance of workplace diversity. 2️⃣ Help employees feel comfortable expressing their opinions. 3️⃣ Create a safe space for employees’ beliefs.

What are the 5 best strategies for working with diversity?

1️⃣ Set diversity goals and take responsibility for change. 2️⃣ Actively seek out different ways of thinking and hire diverse talent. 3️⃣ Increase accountability and transparency. 4️⃣ Offer professional development opportunities for your employees. 5️⃣ Always make sure everyone is treated fairly.

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