It is important for every company to ensure that diversity and inclusion are core values in their workplaces. The main areas to consider when putting D&I practices in place are:
- Gender reassignment
- Marriage and civil partnerships
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Race, religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
Promoting an open, welcoming and accepting culture is more than just complying with the law. It fosters a culture of kindness, respect and compassion.
As well as encouraging greater engagement and productivity among the workforce, there are strong links between positive workplace wellbeing and diversity and inclusion. An employee who feels that they are welcoming and accepted into the workforce, that no matter what their background or beliefs, they are respected and valued as a key member of the team – that employee has a higher sense of self-worth.
Inclusive workplaces will also seek to proactively remove obstacles that might threaten an individual’s career progression, encouraging progression with greater levels of engagement and support.
Here are our five steps to encouraging greater D&I in your workplace.
Table of Contents
1. Every journey starts with a single step
Implementing a strategy to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a process that requires consistency, patience, time and understanding. Some of your workforce may have different ideas as to what D&I really means to them individually, and to you as a company as a whole. Some may already feel that their workplace is already inclusive and resent the implication that it is not. When introducing a new initiative, it is important to set out intentions and consult with everyone.
2. Clarify what diversity and inclusion means to you as a company
Consulting with your workforce about how to describe diversity and inclusion will open up the channels of communication and encourage conversations about how they should be dealt with in your workplace. Suggestions need managing in a sensitive way and a lead needs to be taken to drill down into a definition that is relevant and accessible to all.
3. Championing difference through education
Your workforce is probably made up of a wide range of personalities that come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds who all have their own thoughts and beliefs. Creating diversity and inclusion in that environment, requires understanding, respect and compassion.
Make sure that your workplace calendar observes different traditions – make a point of celebrating them if appropriate to increase awareness and education among the rest of the workforce. It doesn’t just have to be religious festivals, such as Christmas and Eid. There can be a whole raft of other ‘fun’ cultural activities such as the German Oktoberfest, or the Tomatina tomato throwing festival in Spain, or the Chinese new year…
Creating a culturally diverse social calendar will encourage all employees to approach diversity with fun and laughter and a sense of belonging.
4. A top down, bottom up approach
No matter how many parties and activities you organise, if the leadership team doesn’t get involved, then any momentum and enthusiasm will soon fizzle out. Changing the culture of a company requires time, effort and energy on a consistent level.
5. Keep track of the data
Although D&I is an emotive topic, it can be split into measurable components. Working together with HR in how to create diversity and inclusion in the workplace you can establish a set of values and barometers that relate specifically to your company, its demographics, its sector, and build up a series of goals that are achievable and measurable. Without these benchmarks and metrics, you will not get that valuable insight into the effect these initiatives have had on workplace wellbeing, performance and productivity.