How to Champion Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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Companies that embrace diverse hiring practices enjoy several key benefits. The numbers speak for themselves. Research revealed that a truly diverse work environment results in innovative thinking, better job candidates, and increased profitability.

Nevertheless, these benefits are just the tip of the iceberg.

Companies with a diverse workforce are twice as likely to meet and exceed financial targets. An inclusive culture also allows companies to be six times more likely to anticipate change and respond effectively.

Diversity directly impacts employee engagement and productivity, particularly among millennials. A report stated that 83% of millennials said they would engage their organization more if it had an inclusive culture.

You would think that these findings were enough to overhaul the approach to human resources. However, it is apparent that the incredible value of diversity and inclusion alone cannot change biases. What is needed is genuine self-reflection and the desire for genuine change.

Take Time to Learn About Diversity and Inclusion 

Before you can apply diversity, you have to first define diversity. Diversity in the workplace means having a group of different people based on gender, religion, race, generation, sexual orientation, and much more.

Diversity and inclusion refer to almost the same thing. One company sums it up as “diversity is the mix of people; inclusion is getting the mix to work well together.”

To leverage the advantages of diversity, senior leaders have to change the intentional and unintentional biases of hiring and promotion.

Put Diverse Employees in Leadership Positions

Making diverse employees visible and ranking members of an organization helps change the biases that have become ingrained in company culture. Homogeneous organizations are limited by their narrow composition, missing out on fresh perspectives and the competitive advantages it brings with it.

A phenomenon known as “intentional invisibility,” where women take a risk-averse approach that avoids conflicts to navigate unequal workplaces, should stop.

As more women and other minorities get promoted to leadership positions, they should gain the authority to apply their inherent strengths to company management.

Empower Women and Minorities

The first step to empowering women and minorities is to be transparent about diversity and inclusion programs. This includes asking about the work experience of women and calling out “mansplaining,” a real barrier to a truly inclusive culture.

Closing the pay gap is another clear sign that shows a company is committed to diversity. This tangible step shows sincerity in rewarding the important contributions made by women and other minorities.

When you reward employees equitably, you can motivate them to bring even more to the table.

Expand your Definition of “Diverse”

To boost diversity, you must go beyond the simplistic view of gender and racial diversity. A diverse team is composed of people of different ages, appearances, religions, sexual orientations, education, and political beliefs.

Diversity also encompasses different values, motivations, personalities, passions, and culture.

Diversity is about celebrating differences. If you do not know where to begin, you can start by considering a personal difference you may have. If this difference can affect the way individuals relate with one another, then it is worth considering in your diversity and inclusion efforts.

Embrace the Unique Traits Employees Bring

Diversity is anchored on the idea that differences make a company culture stronger. People from different backgrounds have different priorities and value systems that should both be explored and respected.

Understanding and learning about the people around you leads to higher personal respect and fosters better relationships for more effective collaboration.

Challenge the Status Quo

Changing mindsets is not done overnight. There is no one single solution to it but there are ways you can challenge the status quo today.

The Harvard Business School published some concrete steps to increase diversity and inclusion that actually work.

Involve Managers from the Start

A one-size-fits-all strategy cannot work for diversity and inclusion. Organizations and companies have different internal logistics and cultures, so it would be more effective to include managers to add context.

Experts usually design programs which are then deployed to managers. To have more effective diversity and inclusion programs, it would be wise to get the side of managers from the start.

This has the advantage of increasing buy-in and helps to make interventions more sustainable and long-lasting.

Increase Representation

When minorities are seriously underrepresented in the organization, they may be subjected to stereotyped evaluations and tokenism. These biases can then result in negative consequences for both the workers and the larger organization, resulting in limited progress.

In addition to increasing the representation of these groups, companies can improve visibility in other ways. For example, companies can have their less represented members lead internal presentations and represent the company at conferences.

Take Online Courses

You can also educate yourself on the nuances of diversity with online courses. These courses are not only free, but they also offer you a way to broaden your mind and break down biases.

Diversity And Inclusion in the Workplace 

This course by Coursera explores the contradiction of diversity. To benefit from diversity, we need to hear and see things that are different from our own belief systems. However, hearing and seeing different opinions triggers a reflex of discrimination.

The course teaches us the dynamics of diversity, how to manage it, and how to channel it into improved work performance and innovation.

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion

This is another free resource by FutureLearn. Diverse talent is much more than just being ethnically diverse, so this course helps you develop your understanding of diversity that encompasses other criteria too.

The course also teaches the impact of age, religion, and many others to diversity. It also equips you with the skills to create a more inclusive and open environment that is welcoming to all.

Diversity and Inclusion Microlearning Library

Grovo by Cornerstone offers a free sample of their five-minute micro-courses. These cover topics such as unconscious bias, learning to call out discrimination, and information on why diversity is an important asset.


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