Inclusive workplaces have been proven to boost revenue and keep employees happy. But inclusion is more than hiring diverse employees. Here are 4 tips you need to know.
At first glance, inclusion may read like diversity. While the two terms are often seen together, they mean vastly different things. Diversity is having employees from all walks of life. Inclusion, meanwhile, is engaging those diverse employees. Recruiting can boost your diversity, but cultivating an inclusive work culture will keep them.
The best part? Recent studies show that inclusion works. Here are just four highlights:
- Racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform the competition.
- Diverse teams are 87% better than individuals when it comes to making decisions.
- Inclusive companies have a 2.3x higher cash flow per employee over a 3-year period.
- Diverse management teams have a 19 percentage point lead on average innovation revenue than companies with less diversity.
The answer is clear: Both big and small businesses alike can get a boost from diversifying their hires. But recruiting for an inclusive workplace is only step 1. Crafting an inclusive company culture will help you to retain your new hires.
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace
Before we get started on our main tips, we need to talk about what diversity and inclusion look like in the workplace.
Reporting harassment and discrimination is one well-known method of protecting diverse employees. But it is so much more.
At heart, diversity and inclusion are based on fostering respect and appreciating differences. This means that a real movement for inclusion should be embedded in your company culture.
Here are our top 4 ways to create an inclusive workplace:
1. Design a mentorship program
Creating a mentoring program may seem like a lot to handle. But you will also reap rewards. According to a 2017 study, women and ethnic minorities were more likely to say that mentorship programs were significant in their careers.
Matching women, ethnic minorities, and differently-abled employees with executives or management can help them create connections and improve their skills.
Designing a mentorship program takes some considerable work on the front end, but its effect on retention and performance is worth it.
2. Create awareness
Workshops and awareness training offer employees from every background to examine their bias in the workplace and make your diverse hires feel valued. However, mandatory and rule-based workshops can create friction rather than cohesiveness. It’s even worse if only 1 department or segment of employees are forced to attend these meetings.
Punitive mandatory training can seem like a punishment and put employees on the defensive. Rather than begin your diversity training when things go wrong, it’s better to set up a preemptive awareness exercise so that things go right, and all employees are open to the experience.
3. Foster career development
Despite the fact that companies are open to inclusive hiring at the ground level, promoting them to executive positions has been almost static. This means that your business might be losing talent thought a lack of professional development.
Inclusive workplace policies can be amended through regular reassessments. Some questions to consider are:
- Is there a policy that makes the work environment unfriendly?
- Do your diverse hires tend to get stuck in a certain department or position?
- Are your company events geared to include all of your employees?
- Are reviews and promotions crafted to eliminate or reduce bias?
4. Communicate clearly and regularly
Internal and external communication is essential so that every employee feels valued. When it comes to inclusion, this means listening and providing a platform for your employees. This can take the form of not interrupting minority employees when they speak or taking ideas seriously.
You can also use tools like social media to highlight your employees and workspace. This is critical, not for the company image, but for employees who should be valued as the face of their work community.