Diversity, equity, and inclusion are focal points for businesses working to improve opportunities and foster enhanced productivity and employee engagement. Welcoming new hires from various cultural backgrounds is just the initial step in the multifaceted process to create actual progress to bring inclusion into the workplace.
Hiring for diverse backgrounds and promoting diversity initiatives is only a first step. To experience genuine social upliftment, organizations need to create a truly inclusive work culture.
How important is it to invest in company culture? Kevin Miller, the Co-Founder and CEO of the SEO marketing agency GR0 was awarded a Glassdoor Employees’ Choice Award as a top CEO, along with a100% approval rating from voluntary and anonymous staff members who left reviews on Glassdoor.
If you feel like your business has to room for improvement in the diversity department, here are more beneficial ways to promote equity and inclusion to develop a diverse company culture.
Identify unconscious bias
Understanding bias and building awareness is the first step towards real change. Even if bias appears invisible to you and not as blatant, unconscious bias can involve associations and passive-aggressive behaviors that isolate particular individuals.
When feelings of bias exist in a hidden capacity beneath the surface of management’s watchful eye, there can be cases of employees feeling threatened by others or even bad behavior that has been normalized over time that compromises an individual for the benefit of other employees.
Unconscious biases get tricky because they can take place outside of the boundaries of the conscious beliefs of those partaking in these divisive activities, especially when the culprits excuse their behavior by saying and thinking that, “It is just a joke.”
When biases are at the expense of an individual’s comfort and right to feel safe and respected as a member of the team and as a human being, a line is being crossed, even if that wasn’t the intention.
Encourage each employee to review and analyze their own personal biases.
Teams with a diverse cross-section
It is a great idea to make sure that you mix up your team’s cultural and gender makeup of the employee teams. Diversity requires learning and understanding the various values and experiences of employees.
Whenever possible, include a cross-section of talent, not just from different races and genders, but from various age groups so that you don’t keep having the same homogeneous perspective.
Diversity in teams tends to positively impact innovation due to the wealth of having multiple perspectives, experiences, and points of view involved in problem-solving.
Promoting and commitment to paying equity is a sure-fire way to provide a fair opportunity for all employees. Then, leverage analytics to identify employees that may be wrongfully underpaid.
Addressing pay equity helps to show immediate change is taking place and helps to make employees feel appreciated and accepted as equals. There would be leftover pay problems for new management staff that stem from previous supervisors and may fall into new hands now.
Build up the trust and faith that employees have in the company that they work for.
When it comes to combating problems associated with diversity, equity, and inclusion, these messes take time to clean up. So have a system to track and quantify how much progress is being made over extended periods.
Structural changes to workforce strategies take many months, requiring benchmarks to be set and tracked to know what is working and what is not.
Holidays for all cultures
Instead of only accommodating the holidays for one religious group, acknowledge the celebrations for all cultures that your company employs. Team meetings and a company’s internal intranet can be used to announce upcoming cultural holidays for greater inclusivity and a feeling that everyone belongs.
Take a deep look into your company’s policies to assess sections of the business where discrimination may occur, such as in areas of interpersonal interaction, which can lead to employees wanting to quit as soon as they can.
If need be, rethink your policies, address and eliminate negative processes that can be deemed as sexist or racist to make the workplace more equitable for everyone.
Strategic training programs for diversity helps employees realize how cultural differences can impact people in the work environment, including interactions, communication styles, conflict resolution, and how workers prefer to be identified.
Focus on training that directly applies to your employees and your organization’s unique needs. You can use internal resources or outsource this to a consultant to ensure that you have customized training programs.
Clarify to your staff why diversity training is occurring, the issues that you all hope to resolve together, and the next steps after the training have been completed that tie back to the company’s wider goals.
Take feedback seriously
Make it possible and comfortable for feedback to be given, received, discussed, and, whenever necessary—put into action.
Organizations can’t function properly if the top brass remains in the dark about uncomfortable issues taking place behind the closed doors of their company.
Deploying anonymous surveys across the workforce empowers management with the vital information needed to make wiser choices to decrease and eradicate biases and patterns of discrimination that may otherwise continue to operate under the surface.
When it is all said and done, working for a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company helps that business attract talented employees who are already in dialogue with their family and friends about problematic issues revolving around systemic discrimination and bias.
Nobody wants to bring the negative horseplay and discriminatory proceedings of another day at work home with them when they open their domestic door.
There needs to be a means of communication that doesn’t further embarrass the one filing the complaint or present a feeling that further threats will come their way.
Plus, maintaining a soothing social environment at work further incentivizes the current staff to want to stay and dedicate their time and skills to the company’s greater good and its customers.