Here’s what you need to know about diversity and inclusion best practices this year.
Here's what you need to know:
- Diversity and inclusion training in the workplace is vital
- Hire and promote people from different backgrounds
- Every employee should feel safe and welcome
- Companies with greater diversity are more successful
- Add diversity and inclusion training into your employee onboarding
- Embrace a mindset that acknowledges and celebrates all employees
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) are often linked with business success. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to get both correct because there are no easy answers for diversity and inclusion.
The pros of having a diverse and inclusive workplace include a working environment filled with diverse backgrounds, skills, and knowledge, which can significantly affect business goals and expansion.
Diversity and Inclusion training in the workplace is as necessary as your mission statement or code of ethics. Don’t believe it? Last year, 32% of companies required DEI training for employees.
Every person should feel safe, welcome, and a part of something bigger.
Representation matters, so recruiting people from various races, genders, nationalities, political preferences, religions, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical abilities, and socioeconomic status is key to having a truly diverse workplace.
On the other hand, inclusion is how well all employees can participate in your organization’s development opportunities and decision-making processes. Every person should feel safe, welcome, and a part of something bigger.
So how can you get diversity and inclusion right at your company this year? First, embrace diversity and inclusion — hire and promote people from different backgrounds and invite them to participate equally in company activities at all levels.
Here are some other suggestions to get the ball rolling.
Establish company values that reflect diversity and inclusion
Whether you’re just starting or a well-established business, create company values that guide your decisions and foster a culture that attracts employees from all walks of life.
Your values are the company’s foundation and shape how your employees act and behave.
Maintain a culture that keeps them engaged. Some examples include focusing on equal opportunities for all employees and creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels welcome.
Your values are the company’s foundation and shape how your employees act and behave. They ensure everyone in the company is treated fairly and respectfully.
They can also set expectations for what is necessary within the company and help align your values with your employees’ values. Your inclusion and diversity values may evolve, so don’t forget to review them.
No matter what approach you take, it’s essential to make sure that your company values reflect your beliefs and the beliefs of your team. You should prepare to communicate these values to potential employees during the hiring process. Setting the tone early on can create a positive work environment that supports your diversity and inclusion value statement.
Don’t subscribe to the ”diversity equals deficiency” myth
As a business owner, you might frequently hear “whether to hire the best candidate or the diverse one.” This cringe-worthy question implies that diverse candidates are considered deficient because they aren’t like the majority. On the contrary, having a diverse and inclusive workforce is good for business.
Companies with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion see a 2.3 times higher cash increase for every employee and a 19% increase in income compared to those that are less diverse. Revenue and innovation are at the heart of business success, and it would be unwise to think that diversity would make your company any less competitive.
As far as gender diversity in management is concerned, companies in the top quarter are 20% more likely to be profitable and have a 33% greater chance of increased profitability over time than the more homogeneous bottom quartile.
Regardless, even with the knowledge of the growing importance of diversity and inclusion, many companies are not doing what is necessary to bridge the gap, as only 13% of companies currently have a diversity and inclusion mission statement.
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Adopt a mindset that works for all employees, not just a few
Your goal here should be to create a consistent, high-trust workplace experience for everyone, regardless of their position in the company. Morale is better when everyday experiences give people a sense of belonging and ownership — where peers and management address everyone’s unique talents and individual needs.
When your company embraces kindness, acknowledgment, inclusion, dignity, and compassion, that is the essence of creating an environment that values all people. Workplaces today are globally connected and diverse. Management must learn to tap into the intelligence of employees as a team to realize every person’s potential.
Morale is better when everyday experiences give people a sense of belonging and ownership — where peers and management address everyone’s unique talents and individual needs.
As technology and social constructs continue to shift and inspire changes in every industry, your company will need a diversity of human judgment, empathy, and creativity from all employees. You’ll need this to understand and take advantage of emerging and new technology.
If you don’t adapt, you will fail. Organizations stuck in the past that only work for the few risk losing earnings and falling behind the competition.
On the other hand, companies that embrace a mindset that acknowledges and celebrates all employees will cultivate value from their people. These companies will find themselves ahead of the pack.
Accept that your organization will be criticized — no matter what
People will always criticize you for your diversity and inclusion policies. Your company should accept this reality and strive to improve your diversity and inclusion programs. There are ways to minimize the negative impacts of criticism, but ultimately no one is immune.
Here are some things to keep in mind when struggling with criticism:
- Don’t take the criticism personally
- Remember that not everyone shares the same views on these topics, and that’s ok
- Don’t try to avoid it or pretend that it doesn’t exist
A rising tide may lift all boats, but embracing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can sometimes draw criticsm. The same critical people of your organization may support the exact causes you believe in, so keep an open mind and try to understand their differing opinions.
Add diversity and inclusion to your onboarding and training
If you intend to improve the lives of your employees and the strength of your business, infusing diversity and equity training into your employee onboarding may do the trick. Shifting your focus will require changes at every level, and that catalyst for change is education. But, employees should first accept that your company may not be as diverse as you or they thought.
Cultural diversity can offer fresh perspectives not considered by the majority. Diversity informs employees of bias, which could prevent ill decisions.
Conversely, DEI leads to a more robust field of choices and commendations. Teams with diverse populations outperform individual decision-makers 87% of the time.
Your younger employees are often aware of and involved in social issues. Building a culturally diverse team can improve the working environment by creating a sense of social justice in the office and instilling a feeling that the company is adhering to your mission statement.
Employees want to feel like they are a part of something and their voices are heard. By 2025, 75% of workers will be Millennials, and many Millennials are looking for a more socially-conscious workplace. Diversity and inclusion are top of mind for 76% of younger job seekers when deciding on accepting a job. Your policies on diversity and inclusion can be a significant attractor.
Don’t forget the holidays
Not everyone celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah, and one way to ensure everyone feels included is to invite employees to share their holiday rituals and customs. At the end of the year, why not ask your employees to tell stories and traditions in a company-wide bulletin or newsletter?
If you can, find out which holidays your employees celebrate and give them time off so they can celebrate. Make a holiday card for your employees. Show your appreciation and let them know you’re thinking of them. Include a personal message or thank-you note, which shows that you’re not just a boss or manager but also a human being.
When you acknowledge all holidays, you bring the workforce together and help your employees appreciate and understand different ways of celebrating. No one feels joyful in the winter season if their holidays are not recognized or overlooked, so create opportunities for every employee to enjoy their holiday and share it with the crowd.
Budgeting for a party celebrating all holidays is a great way to show how much you appreciate your employees. Go all out and make sure everyone has a good time. You’ll be rewarded with a night to remember and gratitude from your employees.
Find your center that challenges the status quo
Being better than the status quo is something that we can all achieve by finding that center within ourselves. Here are some final takeaways you might keep in mind:
- Make an effort to be aware of your personal biases
- Be proactive in recruiting a diverse workforce
- Celebrate diversity
- Listen to and learn from employees
Diversity and inclusion are key to creating a more equitable and inclusive society. We must all work together to make this a reality.
You can indeed create a welcoming and respectful workplace for all members of the community, not just your company. So let’s continue to break down barriers and build a world where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.