“Ultimately, America’s answer to the intolerant man is diversity.” – Robert Kennedy
America’s past, including its most recent, is littered with conflict, division, and segregation. But this country has also long been a bastion of freedom and diversity. Many people, including Robert Kennedy as mentioned earlier, believe the only way to move past the conflict and division so rampant in this country is through an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
And as a business owner or operator, diversity is as relevant to your success as it is to the success of our country. Luckily, there is a multitude of methods your company can employ to improve its levels of diversity and inclusion. In this article, we’ll detail seven means you can use to boost diversity and inclusion in the workplace. And stay tuned for part 2 of this article when we’ll cover what positive effects this increased diversity can bring your business.
How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Here we’ll tell you about seven different strategies your business can use to increase your levels of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
1. Address Unconscious Bias
On its face, unconscious bias is something beyond our control. In reality, unconscious bias is very much something you can change and is one of the keys to enhancing your levels of diversity and inclusion. Unconscious bias, the deeply ingrained stereotypes that are unintentional, can have powerful, adverse consequences if not adequately addressed.
Contrary to its name, there are actions you can take to reign in the effects of unconscious bias. There are many highly regarded training programs which offer a variety of approaches to help employees identify and understand their unconscious bias. Though, it’s vital to note these programs carry a chance of angering some employees (particularly white males) and make them defensive about their biases.
So, it’s vital your plan takes care to frame unconscious bias as a universal challenge, rather than a divisive one that’s unique to each individual. Make sure your training program explains unconscious bias as a human challenge with a shared opportunity to make the world a collectively better place.
2. Promote from Within
Another vital step to boost your company’s diversity and inclusion is to promote from within your organization rather than from outside talent. LinkedIn, according to BenefitsPro, has found employees with a change in job responsibilities due to a promotion or lateral movement within the past two years were much less likely to leave.
When diverse candidates climb the corporate ladder, not only do they feel more valued, other diverse candidates gain a boost of confidence, and believe they too are valued by the organization. Internal promotions and hires give diverse candidates the belief they have a chance to grow within the company. Additionally, promoting from within creates potential mentors for younger candidates. These mentors can provide a real-life example for how your hiring and promoting process is inclusive.
3. Empower Your Existing Employees
Employees drive a company’s culture. Thus, to create a culture of diversity and inclusion, your firm must empower existing employees to embrace and champion diversity and inclusion. It’s critical your business communicates key initiatives, progress made through these measures, and what employees can do to take part in these initiatives.
Communicating even small wins reinforces the importance of diversity in your workplace and creates a level of transparency, which furthers your firm’s inclusion. Use internal communication methods such as a company intranet to share when and how your diversity and inclusion programs are working.
4. Evaluate Your Recruitment/Hiring Tactics
To boost your company’s diversity and inclusion it’s imperative to place emphasis on equality in your hiring and recruitment procedures. If your candidate pool doesn’t accurately reflect the region, you’re in or service, you may need to scrutinize your hiring practices. The more your employees look like their community or their clients, the better able they are to serve them.
Similarly, if your employee base is too homogeneous, it weakens the overall effectiveness of your work teams. Diversity brings numerous potential benefits to your company, which we’ll cover later in this article. In the meantime, realize if your staff doesn’t match the diversity of your service area, there’s a real likelihood it’s costing your business.
5. Align Diversity Programs with Strategic Plans
Each of your diversity goals should align with the business-related goals your company has. Form your diversity programs the same way you would any other business plan. Every organization should ask itself:
– What is the goal of diversity at your company?
– How broad is our diversity focus?
– What steps will we take to achieve greater diversity?
– How will we measure success?
Each company must create a diversity strategy that helps them accomplish their business plan. But, to achieve this, these two plans need to align. So, when creating your diversity program, ask yourself these questions and
6. Start With Onboarding
To increase the effectiveness of your diversity and inclusion plan, start at the beginning. Your onboarding process needs to include diversity and inclusion training to get the best results of this kind of program. Including diversity and inclusion education in the onboarding process ensures your employees understand the importance of these factors in their workplace and what to expect out of your company.
If done well, a diversity and inclusion program integrated into your onboarding process can make the workplace more comfortable for dissimilar employees who would otherwise struggle to fit in. A Glassdoor report found a robust onboarding process can improve new hire retention by 82 percent and improve productivity by more than 70 percent.
7. Incorporate into Your Benefits
The final method your firm can use to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace is to incorporate these programs into your employee benefits plan. Make sure to customize your benefits plan as much as possible to meet the needs of your diverse staff. For example, your retirement plan should include education about the savings gap between white, black, and Hispanic households.
White households, according to the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, hold approximately six times as much wealth and earn almost twice as much as minority households. Similarly, 48 percent of white households are at risk of falling short in retirement. This percentage is much better than the 54 and 61 percent of black and Hispanic households who are at the same risk.
These numbers demonstrate the tangible impact race can have on your employees’ future. They also show why your firm should integrate diversity and inclusion into as many of your employee benefits as possible.
As a business owner or operator, you should constantly be on the lookout for a chance to improve recruitment and retention, boost productivity, or drive employee engagement. Well, we have a solution that could help you do all three. Use the above seven strategies to promote diversity and inclusion within your business and reap its many rewards.