Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Workplace inclusion

As an employer, you obviously want the most qualified, skilled employees for your business. However, you may be overlooking the power of diversity and inclusion when hiring new recruits. Encouraging variety and camaraderie among co-workers improves employee morale and increases productivity.  This article explores how practicing diversity and inclusion in the workplace can significantly benefit your business.


What Exactly is Diversity and Inclusion?

To some, these may seem like trending buzzwords tossed about in board meetings to appease the human resource team. That’s a regrettable viewpoint because sincere attention to diversity and inclusion (D&I) on the job can make a tremendous difference in the workplace culture.

Ideally, a diverse and inclusive work environment is one in which everyone is encouraged to get involved and is held equally valuable in all areas of the workplace. Diversity in the workplace is about actively hiring employees of different gender, ages, race, religion, backgrounds, etc. Inclusion is about celebrating the diversity within each employee to make workers feel their differences are assets and beneficial to the whole company.


Four Simple Ways to Encourage Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Although diversity and inclusion encourage creativity in the workplace, it’s not always a concept commonly embraced in core human nature. No matter how nonjudgmental we claim to be, almost all of us are subject to bias occasionally.  Achieving a 100% unbiased workforce is unlikely, but here are a few actionable steps to encourage D&I in the workplace.


Meet with Managers

This may seem like a no-brainer, but the vibe and energy of the workplace begins with managers. Schedule regular meetings and discuss how managers are supporting employees with diverse backgrounds and communicate how the entire team can become more unified in the daily function of the company.


Rethink Policies

Reevaluate overly restrictive company policies that may hinder employee diversity in the workplace. For example, rethink grooming or dress codes to empower both genders to express themselves regardless of orientation. More and more, companies are easing up on stringent grooming policies to make allowances for lip gloss, burkas, or even sanctioning exposed tattoos in the workplace. These freedoms encourage individuality, acceptance as well as diversity.  Also, reevaluate policies about personal items in workspaces. To illustrate, permitting appropriate photos of family or unobtrusive personal items is another way to help employees feel their authenticity within the company.


Get More Flexible

Gain a solid sense of inclusion by considering the needs of employees who have unique circumstances. For example, think about getting more flexible with work hours for employees who are parents and need to pick up children from school.  Adjust break policies to allow regular intervals for those whose religion requires them to pray several times a day. Remember, flexibility goes beyond changing long-standing office rules; it also involves being open to listen and observe your employees. Maintain an open-door policy, listen to your employees, identify restrictions upon workplace diversity and be flexible enough to make positive changes.


Celebrate Diversity

Instead of upholding the traditional annual Christmas party, try celebrating other holidays from different cultures throughout the year to inspire diversity and inclusion. Think about including days of recognition that promote diversity, such as Women’s Day or Human Rights Day. Also, offer floating holidays for those who celebrate special days such as Kwanzaa or Ramadan.


How Diversity and Inclusion can Improve Your Business

Nurturing inclusion and diversity in the workplace improves attitudes, builds esprit de corps among co-workers, and instills pride about working for a company that cares. Here are a few other proven ways D&I can improve businesses.


Employee Retention

More often than not, employees quit because they feel they are not allowed to be authentic or free to be unique. In addition, the cost of replacing an employee and retraining him or her is expensive. Your business can avoid these unnecessary expenses by following solid D&I practices with your employees. Doing this will make quitting the last thing on your employee’s minds.


Instill Loyalty

When an employee feels like an integral and valued member of the work community, they experience a sense of pride in their work and get more devoted to the mission of your business. Effectually, being more sensitive to D&I instills a sense of loyalty within your employees.  They recognize that as an employer, you’ve identified their needs, and they become more willing to invest in the needs of your business as a result.


Better Productivity

As mentioned, practicing functional diversity and inclusion in the workplace tends to ingrain pride within employees. In turn, this prompts satisfied employees to work harder or even longer hours to get work done. Consequently, your business will experience improved productivity and efficiency.


Closing Thoughts About Diversity and Inclusion Practices in the Workplace

Quality and increased work volume happen when employees are respected, recognized, and valued. That is what D&I is all about.  Bear in mind, upholding diversity and inclusion practices in the workplace is not about indulging or placating employees. It’s about honoring the diversity in the workforce and appreciating how employees’ differences can be your biggest business asset.