How to Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Published: Aug 17, 2021

Diversity is the intersection of people with different backgrounds and experiences. This includes cultural diversity, gender diversity, religious diversity, language diversity, varying levels of education, unique abilities, and differing viewpoints. When you involve people who think, act and look differently to solve problems in your workplace, you promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

Unfortunately, many organizations start strong with a hiring process that prioritizes diversity and inclusion. However, once their employees are hired, these crucial topics are no longer front of mind. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to promote diversity in your workplace. Let’s get started.

1. Educate managers on the benefits of diversity Managers are a crucial touchpoint within the workplace. They communicate with both lower-level employees as well as executives. If your managers don’t understand the importance of workplace diversity, then it will be difficult to promote in your workplace. Schedule cultural sensitivity and diversity training for your managers to ensure everyone is on the same page. This empowers management with the appropriate resources to create change in the workplace.

2. Offer implicit bias training for everyone Implicit bias describes the attitudes and stereotypes we have toward people without our unconscious knowledge. Every day we have experiences that help us form opinions and make judgments. This has been happening since the earliest days of our socialization. However, these implicit biases can create issues with the way we act toward others. Offering implicit bias training for all employees can help to raise awareness of unconscious behaviors and attitudes and teach the tools to change those actions.

3. Reflect on your actions When you’re a leader within a company, it’s especially important that you take a step back and reflect on your own actions. Why are you making the decisions you’re making? As everyone is susceptible to implicit bias, this process can help you to hold yourself accountable and allow you to realize that you’re making decisions based on unfair factors.

For example, next time you’re preparing to hire, fire, or promote someone, ask yourself “Would I still be doing this if their social identities were different?” While this is an uncomfortable question on the surface, it can serve as a double-check to ensure you’re making the decision for the right reasons. Take the affinity bias for example. This is the tendency of people to connect with others who share similar interests, experiences, and backgrounds. If you’re only engaging with people who are similar to you, then that certainly isn’t boosting diversity and inclusion at your organization.

4. Create more inclusive work policiesTake a look at your current workplace practices and evaluate whether your work policies are inclusive. Here are some examples of what you can look for and implement if they are not already available.

. Can you create online diversity training for your employees?

· Are job descriptions written without gendered language?

· Are employees allowed to take off work for religious holidays that are not observed by the company?

· Do you offer on-site childcare?

· Do you offer non-gendered restrooms in your building?

· Do you have the option of offering remote work or flexible hours?

5. Start mentorship programs Having a mentorship program is part of any inclusive hiring process. These programs are a key component of ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to advance. All employees with high potential should be offered mentors regardless of other factors. This can help to create a network for new employees, which boosts inclusion, and to facilitate professional development support.

Final thoughts A more diverse and inclusive workplace ultimately holds a happier and more engaged workforce. Prioritize these efforts beyond hiring, and you’ll see your organization soar! You’ve got this.