Murray Pullen
Written by
Murray Pullen

This week is National Inclusion Week – a week dedicated to celebrating diversity in the workplace and recognizing inclusion in all its forms.

Inclusion matters 

It is well reported that organizations that create psychologically safe, diverse, and inclusive cultures benefit from:

  • Increased employee engagement, performance and productivity
  • Enhanced creativity, innovation and cultural awareness
  • Lower absenteeism and rates of employee attrition

An inclusive culture starts with an inclusive leadership

However many organizations are still falling short of their DEI promises with leaders failing to cultivate inclusivity within their teams. And an inclusive culture starts with inclusive leadership.

So how can leaders increase representation and cultivate inclusivity in their workplaces?

10 tips to improve inclusion and diversity in the workplace

In this article for HR Drive, Cadient Talent share 10 initiatives for leaders looking to improve inclusivity and diversity in their workplace.

From the article:

Awareness and Acknowledgement

The first step is to take an honest inventory of your organization and recognize a lack of diversity and inclusion. To change things, you must be aware that the problem exists in the first place and then acknowledge the need for change. Talk to your employees about diversity, equity and inclusion so you can better understand and create a plan to meet their individual needs.

Accept and value all differences

Recognize and value the abilities of all employees regardless of differences. An easy way to show employees you appreciate them daily is by simply engaging in a conversation and listening to them. Get to know your employees on a personal basis. When employees feel valued and accepted, they will go above and beyond.

Change your language

Make it clear to employees and candidates that your company values diversity and focuses on creating a diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace. Communicate your diversity and inclusion goals everywhere, including employee manuals, employment contracts, hiring, and onboarding materials and other company documents.

Establish diversity policies.

Diversity and inclusion policies come in all shapes and sizes. Must-haves include gender, sexual harassment, mobility, disabilities, race, religion, and sexual orientation. Here’s an example of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy from SHRM.

Pay attention to pay equity

Pay attention to pay equity when you determine compensation, promotions, or raises—address pay disparity.  Don’t ask for salary history, as doing so can perpetuate wage gaps, enabling them to grow over time.

Hiring through referrals.

Referrals can be a great way to attract diverse candidates. If you have a diverse workforce, encourage your current employees to recruit their friends. Communicate your goals to hire a more diverse workforce for employees. Research shows that referrals are a great source of hires.

For more information on the benefits of an employee referral program, click here to read “The Value of an Employee Referral Program.”

Meetings

Restructure meetings to include a diverse group of participants.  By being intentional with your invitations, you can ensure a wide range of voices gets heard. Examine attendee lists from past meetings to see who was/wasn’t invited. Start distributing agenda and discussion points before your meetings. Make sure all attendees are allowed to speak during meetings.

Develop Diversity & Inclusion Training Programs

Provide diversity and inclusion training for all levels of your organization, starting at the top. It’s important to have buy-in from your leadership – start by asking them to help develop your training curriculum.

Training should include increasing awareness of unconscious bias and reducing bias that can negatively influence management practices. Consider making diversity training a voluntary activity. Just be sure it’s widely available and widely promoted across your organization.

Establish an employee-led D&I committee

Create an employee-led resource group focused on improving diversity and inclusion policies and practices in your workplace. Providing a supportive and accepting environment will encourage employee engagement and collaboration.

Institute flexible working arrangements

Create a flexible leave policy. Offer flexible holiday time off so employees can celebrate holidays and events that are important to them. Some employers set a number of paid holiday hours instead of sticking to pre-determined holidays. You can also celebrate holidays and events for underrepresented groups like Black History Month, Juneteenth, and Pride in the office.

In conclusion

Becoming a more diverse and inclusive workplace is a long, continual process for most organizations. Everyone takes a different path, and no one reaches their goals overnight.

Maintain your momentum for your new diversity and inclusion programs by keeping them top of mind for your leadership and team. Share your diversity and inclusion efforts and successes often and in as many places as possible, such as meetings, websites, newsletters, and onboarding materials. Communicate your progress and show how these programs are changing your organization for the better.

Keep at it. You’ll get there as long as you keep a close eye on your data and measure progress and areas for improvement as you go.

Read the full article, here.

Are you an inspiring leader? Do you know an inspiring leader? Then register here for Inspiring Leaders 2022.

And for more articles on Wellbeing, Culture, and Experience & Engagement be sure to visit the Inspiring Workplaces website.

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