Promoting Diversity And Inclusion At The Workplace

Inclusion refers to being included within a group, and diversity is selecting people for a team with different backgrounds and abilities to be a strong and effective team. Inclusion means making sure that the opinions and contributions of those different people are heard and valued to the performance.

It’s the employee experience that the leader creates that will make or break the D&I initiatives of any organisation.

Why does inclusion and diversity matter now more than ever?

D&I is at a greater risk of becoming a casualty as businesses are rebuilt in this crisis. One example that best explains this situation is: Though women represent just 39% of the global workforce, they have accounted for 54% of worldwide job losses during COVID.

Benefits of inclusion and diversity in crisis

  1. Inclusive practices have decreased due to the new digital workspace. But diversity and inclusion can enhance the problem-solving necessary to rethink businesses and reimagine services in the face of current unprecedented times.
  2. Remote work can widen talent pools, providing a chance to hire diverse talent promotes a more productive, quick-adapting, inclusive work culture.
  3. Diverse teams are more innovative—stronger at anticipating shifts in consumer needs and consumption patterns that make new products and services possible, potentially generating a competitive edge.
  4. Increases employee engagement and trust among employees, which has been a key concern in this crisis.
  5. More diverse teams are better at predicting consumer needs and their buying patterns, which can lead to more rapid product and service innovation which is very much needed in this crisis.

Common diversity and inclusion mistakes organisations make

Believing they're one and same:

They aren't; they're both very different and equally crucial. Diversity is all about the gap that individuals contribute and bring is all about ensuring that a culture is made that exerts that gap and brings the very best from every person.

Believing it is merely an HR intiative 

It should not only be an HR initiative, but it ought to be a company-wide focus. It is not the situation. Placing a policy in place is a wonderful first step, but you can not just talk the talk: you need to also place it in actions.

Considering diversity before inclusion:

It is useless to keep fixing the diversity of their organization. The roots of workplace policies have to be tackled first. Once inclusive foundations are set up, then you are prepared to focus on diversity.

Not making data-driven decisions:

Employee surveys are a very important resource when determining areas to focus on while planning for your diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. And almost all companies have experience gaps among different demographics within the workplace.

You're searching for a"culture fit":

After hiring, many businesses seek out candidates who are a"culture fit" -- an odd, often immeasurable feature that means"somebody who is like us. Among the biggest problems accompanying D&I is the subconscious prejudice that resides in most people.

A method to overcome this unconscious prejudice is by engaging a diverse set of men and women in the hiring and interviewing process. It decreases the unconscious bias which may come through during the interview and also assists in understanding your client base better. But it ought to be a company-wide focus. Just placing a policy in place is a wonderful first step, but you can not just talk the talk: you need to also place it in actions.

Negative effects caused in the workplace due to lack of diversity and inclusion

  • When your employees feel that they need to conceal the very core parts because they feel insecure and unsure, it may take a toll on inspiration and decrease employee engagement.
  • Leads to miscommunication, obstacles between employees, and dysfunctional adaptation behaviours.
  • Greater differences in a workplace generate more conflict among employees because people who come from different cultural backgrounds have different viewpoints on handling concerns or issues that arise.
  • If your company does not score high on inclusion, you risk alienating some part of your workforce.

... and all the above effects (ultimately) reduce employee retention, employee engagement and turnover rates.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

The top management of a company speaks volumes about your culture.

The top management of a company speaks volumes about your culture. Accordingly, it is essential to have diversity among top management that is diverse. What about people from various cultural and religious backgrounds? Are they equally represented? When diversity and inclusion are followed in top management, it follows in the bottom line as well.

Foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected.

Employees often quit jobs when they feel their authentic self and uniqueness are not valued enough or appreciated. Therefore, it is essential to create an environment where they feel a sense of bonding to the business and its people.

Ensure your employees do not hesitate to express themselves based on their distinctive viewpoints but feel included and respected irrespective of their cultural background.

If you truly want everyone to feel included, make sure you consider language barriers and preferences. Global companies constantly cope with this type of thing; they encourage those teams to participate in a virtual event. And the remote world in the current crisis opens more doors to this process.

Foster diverse thinking.

When you make an effort to hire for diversity, make sure you account for inclusivity for the diverse viewpoints to stick.

It is important as people from different backgrounds and generations sometimes have different perspectives on all sorts of issues, from what they choose to wear to work, their tone of communication, to what kinds of ideas they pitch in meetings. Embracing diverse thinking is useful in generating different ideas and getting useful feedback while at the same time creating an environment where everyone feels relevant and part of a shared mission.

Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies 

A Harvard Business Review survey found that 75% of respondents found that superficial policies and language were insufficient to bring true change. Leadership commitment and strengthening anti-discriminatory policies are critical to making sense of success in diversity and inclusion.

Eliminate bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities. 

Research shows that the hiring process is unfair and full of bias. Seeing is believing… Suppose we don’t see male or female engineers. In that case, we don’t naturally associate women and men with those jobs, and we apply different standards when we hire, promote, and evaluate job performance. “Managers have to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures.” 

 Some strategies to combat bias include:

  • Rewriting job descriptions, so they are gender-neutral and use words that strike a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs

  • Create a blind system of reviewing resumes so you don’t see “demographic characteristics.”

Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups.

The annual survey is common among companies, but many neglects to segment that data based on gender, generation, ethnicity, geography, etc. By only looking at numbers in total, HRs may miss the big picture and an opportunity to identify specific issues of those communities. Focus groups are a good way to collect qualitative data and gain deeper insights into employees.

Personalize one-on-one discussions.

It is one of the best methods to learn what employees care about. One-on-one talks with their manager can be made more effective when managers encourage an “open door” policy. Employees need to feel comfortable in speaking their mind honestly and openly.

When managers show they too are human with empathy and honesty, employees will feel comfortable speaking up and trusting their leadership.

Maximize joy and bonding between employees, minimize fear

People react with fear and distrust when their beliefs are challenged. Fear makes people narrow their perspective and creates the opposite desired effect of an inclusive workplace. Elevating the power of shared experiences and storytelling creates strong potential for positive change.

The main philosophy that lies in D&I is rooted in two main concepts: They are a sense of connection and a sense of belonging with their team. These elements must be followed hand-in-hand by leaders and employees in the workplace to truly make an impact.

With few initiatives to improve team bonding and deeper peer-to-peer connection, employers can also support the wellbeing of their remote teams and reap the benefits while boosting employee engagement in the virtual workspace.

Here’s a bonus!

Download our Free E-book on "5 Virtual Team Building Activities For Remote Employees" that has helped employees from various organizations to work better and bond together in a virtual workspace. Plus, they are ultimately fun and impactful!

Click here to download it for FREE

Find what's more! A unique team experience anytime, anywhere.