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30 Ideas On How To Improve Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace

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Diversity and inclusion (D&I) have become an integral part of corporate culture ever since the widespread protests against police brutality, systematic racism, and discrimination based on gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, culture, etc. As a result, businesses are trying to figure out how to make their workplace initiatives more inclusive and diverse- questioning how to improve diversity and inclusion programs and policies.

It is indeed a challenging task because it focuses on creating a culture that’s equitable and supportive, and free from discrimination and workplace harassment for every employee.

Are you also thinking about how to improve diversity and inclusion programs as a part of your company culture? But, not sure how to get started? Honestly, there is a lot you need to do if you haven’t implemented a successful D&I policy. We suggest you must just start now. The longer you wait, the harder it gets to build a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture.

There are innumerous ways to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and this article mentions 30 ideas to help you get started. These ideas are impactful steps you must take up right away, regardless of your budget, headcount, and bandwidth.

But first, let’s take a quick glimpse at:

What is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

Diversity, equity, and inclusion, often referred to as DEI, are imperative for an organization to ensure a successful employee experience to achieve optimum employee engagement.

Diversity is the celebration of differences. Whether your workforce comes from a different cultural background, practices other religions, or belongs to the LGBTQIA+ community, as a company, you must recognize them and give them equal opportunities.

Also Read: 7 Types Of Diversity Modern Workplace Must Focus On

On the other hand, inclusion makes employees feel safe and creates a sense of belonging and trust towards your company. It is the assurance of safety, equality, and respect. Creating a safe and equitable workplace enhances employee productivity and eradicates differences ensuring innovation in the workplace and equal participation without inhibitions.

On the other hand, workplace equity ensures fair opportunities for every employee despite their age, race, culture, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, etc. You must level the playing field for every employee. In any workplace, equality refers to equal rights to every opportunity and exemption from any sort of discrimination.

As a result, an amalgamation of DEI ensures the successful implementation of Diversity and Inclusion programs and policies in an organization.

Also Read: 7 Ways To Promote Workplace Equity Alongside Diversity And Inclusion

This was a glimpse of DEI, now; let’s have a look at the 30 unique ideas on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Ensuring an impactful D&I requires a balance of vital initiatives and giving importance to details. Usually, we only hear about significant activities but not about day-to-day work. So, instead of looking at D&I as “this or that,” you can gradually start by tackling smaller initiatives from the list of ideas on how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

  1. Consider using gender-neutral language on all job descriptions- you must ensure a fair hiring process, and the job description is an essential part of it. Check for uses of “he/him/she/her” as the default, and make sure to change them into gender-neutral pronouns like “they/them.”

  2. Conduct blind screenings and reduce unconscious biases during the process of resume review- usually, people with stereotypical “ethnic” names tend to send out more resumes before they get a callback, and resumes with female names receive less attention compared to men.

  3. Ban “culture fit” as a criterion to reject a candidate- Unconscious bias often comes into existence when interviewers want to reject someone based on “culture fit.” Train your interviewers to articulate their explanation for rejection with more empathy to uncover hidden biases.

  4. Encourage a diverse range of referrals- Let your employees think beyond the obvious. Ask them to refer people or their close ones to the company. All employees can help in the process of diversity by bringing in their acquaintances to an organization. Even if they don’t fit the “traditional” profile, you must give them a chance.

  5. Make your job descriptions results-based- Studies have proven, if men apply for a job when they meet 60 percent of the qualification, women apply when they meet 100 percent. Instead of merely creating a checklist of skills, your job descriptions must focus on your new hires’ expectations.

  6. Ensure a structured interview process and training- You must follow a script for the interviews. Candidates naturally share essential things in a conversational flow, but structured interviews result in fair hiring, reducing biases. Following a structure allows recruiters to learn and improve their talent acquisition skills.

Also Read: Diversity Hiring: 7 Effective Ways For Recruiting Diverse Employees

  1. Make sure to include underrepresented employees in your interviews- But make sure not to appoint too many of them! Candidates want to see more diverse faces, but if you appoint only one particular female manager in every interview panel, it will not do justice. Instead, try to create a forum that includes people from various backgrounds and gender identities.

  2. Introduce diversity and inclusion in the early stage- During employee onboarding, you must communicate your concern towards D&I, how you define it, and what policies you follow. Your new hires will have questions, and you must prepare yourself to answer them.

  3. Keep a check on bathroom stock and sanitary requirements- It is a small yet essential task. If you have a coke and beer budget, you must also keep a check on tampon stocks and other toiletries.

  4. Create a D&I channel as a part of your communication tool- You can create a Slack or Skype channel meant for D&I where employees can share news, blogs, and articles. It will normalize talking about sensitive and gender issues in the workplace.

  5. Celebrate important events for underrepresented groups- Take equal participation and show your solidarity towards events like Black History Month, Juneteenth, Pride Month, and LGBT Parades.

  6. Give necessary rewards and recognition- When employees go above and beyond, you must recognize them and appreciate their hard work irrespective of their gender and cultural identity. This also enhances your work culture and makes it a great place to work.

Vantage Circle is dedicated to providing the best employee engagement and benefits for corporate employees. If you want to implement a successful and seamless reward and recognition program for your workforce to improve diversity and inclusion, get in touch with our experts. Schedule a free demo today!

  1. Allow workplace flexibility- You must learn to trust your employees and give them the freedom to plan their work hours. People might have personal restrictions and situations (like dropping their kids to school, going to the therapist, working women who manage household chores and their jobs simultaneously, etc.) that might restrict them from working a strict 9 to 5 job. Lack of flexible work hours might leave an employee stressed and frustrated and can result in attrition.

  2. Check the office temperature- The temperature in many office buildings is set as per men’s comfortability. It is a possibility, many employees would feel uncomfortable wearing sweaters and jackets on the office premises during work hours, and you must not ignore that.

  3. Keep a check on the reading materials in your lobby- If your company provides magazines, ensure they’re related to the industry or line of business instead of subscribing to gendered topics. Unless your line of business focuses on fashion and lifestyle, GQ will not be a relevant read.

  4. Make inclusive bathrooms and signs- Do not just use the symbols “he/she,” instead hang signs that say “for those who identify as” above the gender signifier on bathroom doors. This will help transgender and genderfluid people to feel comfortable using the bathroom without being judged. Also, everyone wants to enter a bathroom that fits their gender identity.

  5. Introduce a mother’s room- New mothers and nursing women usually have a tough time finding a space to pump breast milk. This is not only an ethical and moral thing to do but also is a legal essential depending on your work location.

  6. Plan team-building activities during the day- If you keep all the fun team-bonding activities to happen at 5 in the evening, many won’t participate. Working parents, caretakers, millennials with vivid lifestyles might not turn up, and you must ensure everybody’s equal participation to improve diversity and inclusion in the team.

  7. Make inclusive merchandise- Do not make gender-specific merchandise or office gifts. Invest in unisex or non-binary products, and this will exempt you from being gender bias.

  8. Organize team lunches and potluck- As managers and leaders, invest a little in team lunches, outings, and potlucks. When employees come together in potlucks, they bring their ethnicity and culture along with their food. This enhances employee engagement and develops healthy relationships amongst colleagues.

  9. Take a look at your UI- From your website to apps to career pages, make sure to check the demographics you represent in the photos and in your leadership bios. Candidates might interpret a non-diverse interface as a sign of non-inclusive work culture.

  10. Start writing- To showcase your interest in diversity and inclusion, you must start blogging. Leaders must publicly share their ideas on diversity issues. You can also write an educative email sharing the historical significance of special events like pride month, Juneteenth, Black history month, and others. Or share inspiring stories related to these events. Consider incorporating your employees’ participation, especially the underrepresented groups. Encourage them to write about their personal experiences; after all, diversity attracts diversity.

  11. Invite guest speakers from the D&I community- If you’re continually holding HR and technical workshops, consider inviting an expert from the D&I to give a talk. From your leadership and management talks, remember to keep a couple of slots for D&I as well.

  12. Imply Round Robin Meetings- Here, you get to ask every worker present in the meeting and encourage equal discussion. People can share ideas by ensuring everyone gets a chance to keep their point of view.

  13. Organize CSR events- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of improving diversity and inclusion. When you show compassion towards the underrepresented and underprivileged people- you gain respect, love, and support from everyone.

  14. Provide learning and development opportunities- Organizing learning and development workshops will help workers enhance their skills and perform their best. When you focus on knowledge enhancement, you attract an inclusive workforce.

  15. Update the sick leave policy- When you allow employees to take sick leaves every month, consider adding mental break along with it. This shows your priority and concern towards employee mental health. A small change that results in lesser burnout and eradicates loss of productivity.

  16. Introduce a book club- Literature can teach you so much in life and helps to reckon predicaments. Hosting a book club is a way to get your employees connected. Literature has a lot to offer in D&I as it enhances communication and encourages a diverse voice of perspectives. Consider focusing on black, queer, and postcolonial literature as it speaks about subjugation, oppression, and the fight for equal human rights.

  17. Host a movie night- If you think finishing a whole book is tedious, movie night is another way to stimulate conversations amongst the team members. You can choose movies directed by black or female directors that have made an impact on society.

  18. Finally, make sure you hear out your employees- ensure to lend a helping hand to your employees when they’re down and actively hear them out with diligence and patience. Empathy is the key to a successful D&I program.

Wrapping Up

If you want to enhance your company culture and attract a diverse talent pool but do not know how to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, take help from these 30 unique ideas.

Do let us know if these ideas helped you to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace!

This article is written by Gautam Gayan. He works as a Content Marketer at Vantage Circle. Apart from being a passionate content creator for HR services and employee engagement, Gautam is a theatre enthusiast, an avid reader and an aspiring poet. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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