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25 Nov

4 Ways to Promote Inclusion in the Workplace

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Without a commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace, businesses will struggle to grow. Research shows that diverse and inclusive organizations are 87% more likely to make better decisions and bring products to market 75% faster compared to organizations that don’t focus on DEI.

A report from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) shows that while 65% of organizations say DEI is a high strategic priority, 67% say they are only somewhat successful at creating a workplace that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive.

A separate study conducted by Glassdoor polled 5,200 employees in four different countries to learn how inclusion in the workplace is currently measured. The poll showed one-third of the employees said they have witnessed or experienced ageism, 33% have faced gender discrimination, 30% have seen or experienced racism, and 24% reported LGBTQ discrimination.

However, businesses are making a greater effort at creating a more inclusive workplace. According to Gartner’s research, the number of HR leaders identifying DEI efforts as a top priority was 1.8 times higher in 2020 than in 2019. Gartner’s analysis reveals an almost 800% increase in job postings for dedicated diversity recruiters.

If you haven’t begun your planning to promote inclusion in the workplace, it’s time to start. Here are a few tips to get you on your way.

Provide Culture Training During Onboarding

The onboarding process is the ideal time for a new hire to learn about the company’s history, foundation, and policies. Within these policies should be an outline of what superiors deem culturally appropriate.

Whatever these policies may be, they must be uniform for all employees other than religious or cultural exemption. This might include certain articles of clothing that must be worn or culturally connected hairstyles, to name a few.

An onboarding checklist is the simplest solution to help stay on track with the onboarding process without missing any steps.

Be Open and Honest about Your DEI Efforts

It’s always easy to say you’ll make impactful change, but what is going to hold you accountable? The easiest way to be accountable is to just be honest about the progress you’re making.

More than 1,600 CEOs have signed onto the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion Pledge, and 40% of companies discussed diversity and inclusion in their Q2 2020 earnings calls versus only 4% the same quarter a year prior.

While DEI doesn’t necessarily connect to all of these company’s earnings, it does show that C-level executives are taking a greater initiative to highlight inclusion in the workplace.

Allow for Open Communication

DEI can be a sensitive topic to discuss, especially if it’s being discussed with a superior. In fact, a survey by InHerSight found only 49% of women say they are able to be completely honest in an employer review if the employer is the one collecting the feedback, while 81% can be completely honest if a third party is collecting that feedback. 

Managers, supervisors, and business owners need to maintain an open-door policy when it comes to DEI. Employees need to be aware that they can discuss issues with a manager if a negative situation presents itself.

Superiors within a company should also make it possible for employees to make anonymous complaints, which is a method that often makes employees more comfortable in reporting incidents.

Consider using employee evaluation forms to help document any potential complaints that may arise during an employee review.

Change Your Policies

The path to an inclusive workplace starts with policy change. If you want your employees to feel heard and noticed, you need to provide them with the necessary resources that make their days more manageable.

For example, offering your employees floating holidays gives them the freedom to observe days of cultural and religious importance. You may also consider giving employees transportation stipends for those who have a disability that requires specific means of transportation to and from your workplace.

Offering remote work opportunities is an alternative to stipends that will help keep costs down. The policy change will depend on what policies your business already has in place. It’s important that you make time to work with your HR team to review all of your policies and make the decisions as to how these can be altered. If further assistance is needed, work with a professional employer organization (PEO) to help get your DEI efforts moving in the right direction.

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