Diversity and Inclusion
7 WAYS TO CULTURE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN THE WORKPLACE
Presently, every employee in the workplace wants to feel part of the company’s culture. Importantly, inclusion promotes diversity; however, without appropriate policies and discussions that cultivate an inclusive environment, all efforts and resources used to recruit a diverse workforce are as good as wasted. But why is it that most employers hire a diverse workforce but do not manage to keep them long enough? It has everything to with their failure to uniquely combine diversity and inclusion in a manner that models an engaged and motivated workforce. The following insights and best practices can work well to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
HAVE A TOP EXECUTIVE/MANAGEMENT THAT IS DIVERSE
As many would agree, the top management of a company speaks volumes about its culture. It is the basis for initial judgment from the perspective of outsiders interested in the company. As such, it is essential to have top management that is diverse. For instance, have men and women equally represented. Include people from various races and different cultural and religious backgrounds as part of the team. The current situation concerning diversity and inclusion demands more attention. Moreover, it is among the primary reasons to preach the gospel of diversity and inclusion widely. According to a survey report by the BCG, among the Fortune 500 companies, only 24 CEOs are women representing 5% of the total number of CEO’s. The same report pointed out that out of the 500 CEOs, only three are black, another three are openly gay, and one identifies as a lesbian. Overall, these are worrying statistics regarding diversity and indicate the need for prompt action.
ACKNOWLEDGE ALL RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL BACKGROUNDS
As a good gesture of support for inclusion and diversity, institutions can introduce a policy for honoring cultural and religious holidays through celebrations. An example of such a policy could be an offer to "designate your holiday" days to your employees. Consequently, actualizing such an offer makes employees feel that their cultures and religious backgrounds are respected and appreciated. In reciprocation, such employees become more productive and feel satisfied with their work environment. In the long run, the company benefits from high employee retention.
FOSTER CULTURE WHERE EVERY VOICE IS WELCOME, HEARD AND RESPECTED
Employees feel included when they receive equal and fair treatment, which also ensures that they feel respected regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical conditions, cultural background or country of origin. It is crucial to encourage the participation of employees without favoritism and paying special attention to non-discrimination and basic courtesy. Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the company and its people. Also, worth noting is the fact that employees get a sense of inclusion when they feel ‘safe’ to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also brings a sense of empowerment and cultures' diversity in thinking.
COMMUNICATE GENDER PAY INEQUALITY
Workforce trust and ultimate sense of inclusion are built around a company’s transparency in its policies. For companies that have gender pay imbalance, it is important to make employees understand the statistics around the same. Open the communication channels so that employees can give their feelings and opinions on the same. Additionally, present to them with clarity, the strategy the company is or will be using to address the gap. That way, they will feel safe knowing that the company is up-in-arms in bridging the gender pay gap. It is crucial to avoid being defensive in presenting data. If data is skewed for a variety of factors such as maternity leave vs. untaken paternity leave, explain to the employees in simple terms that they understand.
HAVE A MULTILINGUAL WORKFORCE
Imagine being part of an environment where individuals speak languages foreign to you? It prompts the need to build a workforce where everyone feels included. For instance, it will be helpful to bring the workers into conversations where translators are involved and encourage their input and ideas. Culture professionalism to the extent that individual employees do not show hostility towards those unable to speak specific languages. As a long term approach, having a multilingual workforce may call for educational opportunities for workers to learn other languages. As this may sound expensive for an employer, it is an investment that yields returns in due time. It is also a good idea to consider applicants' language skills during the recruitment process. For example, with the same qualifications, it makes more sense to hire an individual who speaks more than language than the other who speaks only one.
CULTURE DIVERSITY IN THINKING
Why should one consider fostering a culture of diversity of thinking? It is important for two reasons. One, it helps to make a strong case about a company’s culture of diversity as it reflects on peoples’ intersectional complexity. This is because it goes beyond the normal demographics (age, gender, etc.). Secondly, it is a resource useful in generating ideas and getting useful feedback while at the same time creating an environment where everyone feels relevant and part of a shared mission.
BUILD A MULTIGENERATIONAL WORKFORCE.
Today, millennials make up the vast majority of the workforce. Having a workforce that is accommodative of all generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. For instance, millennials are known to be tech-savvy. They grew up in an environment that applied and still applies technology to all aspects of life. Therefore, an accommodative workforce would take that into account.
- Set up a nursing room for mothers
- Include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during events.
- Encourage a gender-neutral language throughout the company
- Have gender-friendly bathrooms and restrooms.
- Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies
- Train employees and managers to mitigate biases
- Eliminate bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities.