A diverse workforce is an integral part of any organisation. However, retaining such a workforce is extremely difficult in a competitive environment. This is where the notion of inclusion comes into play, which refers to your attempts to make employees feel that they are an essential part of diverse teams, regardless of their differences.
Diversity appears to be worthless without any inclusive initiatives. Therefore, as an employer, manager, or CEO, diversity and inclusion should be at the forefront of your talent management strategy.
However, not everyone is aware of the best practices for promoting inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Even well-intentioned initiatives might be detrimental to a company in the long term.
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Ways to promote inclusion and diversity in your workplace
Based on a discussion by eight experts from the Young Entrepreneur Council, here are six effective ways to promote diversity and inclusion.
1. Make diversity and inclusion an ongoing process and make it part of your core business strategy.
You need to develop diversity into a process to ensure that you are constantly changing and creating new momentum with your teams to strengthen the company in the long run.
A better approach would be to incorporate diversity into your core business strategies. For instance:
- Providing recreation areas where employees can de-stress.
- Encouraging the use of gender-neutral pronouns such as "they" in all official papers and rules.
2. Hire accountable top executives and leaders who appreciate the significance of diversity and inclusion.
To foster inclusivity and diversity at work, you must have leaders who share these values. You can't expect a friendly corporate culture if you choose managers and executives who don't care about establishing a safe environment for employees from all walks of life.
It is critical to attract many views and perspectives for the company to thrive. You will establish stronger bonds with individuals you understand, and employees will be motivated to be their most authentic selves.
Ultimately, this can lead to a more productive and open-minded workforce as your employees feel accepted in their environment.
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3. Always keep an open mind
What is the point of maintaining an open mind here? As you participate in every meeting with new employees from different departments and all walks of life, pay attention to the new perspectives they present. Not only does it give you a broader mindset and worldview, but it also accelerates the decision-making process.
4. Help employees feel comfortable expressing themselves
It is critical to foster an environment in which employees can freely express themselves and their unique viewpoints. To effectively promote diversity, managers should not engage in discriminatory practices against employees because they have the freedom to voice their opinions and express their feelings without fear. From there, businesses will have more diverse perspectives.
5. Invite diversity of discussion
Your business culture should invite a variety of discussions and strive to make everyone feel welcome. For example, look for opportunities to network with diverse businesses and expand your pool of potential hires. Look for seminars and presentations given by a more diverse range of speakers to inform your business decisions. If you are constantly engaged in ongoing discussions, you will find it easy to foster an authentically diverse work and team culture.
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6. Acknowledge and honour different cultural and religious practices
This is a great way to show that your organisation values diversity and inclusion, especially for its global remote workforce. You can organise and promote a regular culture day event or activity inspired by your employees' cultures.
Not only do these activities enable employees to share their cultures, but they also promote cultural diversity and make all employees feel more inclusive. This paves the way for a modern workplace that is culturally vibrant, and employees feel more respected.
In a more realistic view, most employers make every effort to engage in diversity and inclusion efforts. It does, in fact, contribute to a happy workplace.
According to the Harvard Business Review, organisations with greater diversity generate 19% more income than the norm.
Diversity and inclusion activities to try out at your company
1. Discussion about respect
A simple activity you can consider is to encourage endless robust and in-depth discussions.
Start with asking employees (preferably those that do not often communicate with each other) to introduce themselves and share what respect means to them. They should also give examples of how to show that respect in the workplace.
The purpose here is not just to explore the notion of respect from a variety of perspectives but also to evaluate how others may see one's behaviour through the prism of their own experience. This is an excellent method to urge your staff to pause and reflect on how they connect with one another.
2. Company happy hours
Create the perfect opportunity for your employees to connect, order a few drinks, or organise a small after-hours party so that employees can get to know each other better and have conversations that go beyond happy hour.
3. Employee engagement
A workplace rich with diversity is due to the company's knowledge of multicultural holidays and celebrations, rather than just celebrating the Christmas holiday. Start by following a diversity calendar because that calendar can reap the best benefits of diversity.
Read more: Why Your Employees Are Leaving You (Besides Salary)
4. Small events
Utilise common areas in the office, such as the cafeteria or lounge area, to host small events and presentations on different cultures.
These discussions on different topics appreciate diversity in the workplace, encourage participants to ask questions, share feedback, and inspire others to speak out in defence of their rights.
Such possibilities may spark interesting and open conversations, which can further strengthen diversity and inclusion efforts.
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