15 Time-Tested Ways Distinguishing Token Participation from a Good Diversity and Inclusion Initiative in the Workplace
As a company, job seekers are one of the most significant factors we should consider for hiring. Hence, organizations must keep them in mind while discussing effective diversity and inclusion initiatives. The world has shrunk in terms of opportunities. With every passing year, we move a little closer towards a more accommodating workplace, thereby making diversity and inclusion topics to discuss in a workplace a must. The idea of trending is a leading factor, as per glassdoor’s data for an employee to apply for a particular job. When evaluating employment options, 76% of job seekers prioritize workplace diversity and inclusion, and more than 50% of current employees agree that their company could do more to promote diversity.
So, what’s your responsibility as a workplace in terms of cultural diversity in a workplace?
Is it merely about hiring an ethnically diverse workforce?
Or does it transcend beyond those cubicles where people, irrespective of their caste, creed, gender, and competency, are welcome?
The correct answer would be yes.
The benefits of diversity and inclusion in a workplace go well beyond the physical and tangible reasoning. Ideally, it should be a state of mind and an accepted norm for any working space. However, the journey is a long one. We have only begun to understand the more genuine meaning of diversity, equity, and inclusivity in a workplace.
There is essentially no drawback to implementing diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace owing to its manifolds of benefits. The business models with the highest levels of diversity and inclusion benefit in various ways, including luring the best candidates, nurturing a contented workforce with high job satisfaction, and encouraging innovation and higher financial stakes. But there is a catch. As a workplace, you have to be extra mindful so that your strategies for diversity in the workplace don’t fall prey to tokenism. It should be implemented consciously and free of all preconceived biases.
First, show your dedication to emphasizing why are diversity and inclusion important. Be open-minded. Determine the demographic gaps in your executive team and workforce, then inform your staff of them. Here’s how you can achieve all of this with an effective diversity and inclusion strategy.
15 Ways to Establish a Thorough Diversity and Inclusion Program
Diversity and inclusion programs need a lot of self-reflection on organisational internal procedures and overcoming individual as well as homogenized biases. We’ve gathered some of the most compelling ways to ensure diversity, equality, and inclusivity in a workplace if your workplace policies need a little prodding in this department.
1. Job Descriptions and Neutral Language
The first thing that a job seeker sees is your job description or the requirements sections. Since we all grew up with the “first impression is the last impression” imprinted on our minds, it impacts how we see things. Hence, having a neural language in terms of pronouns, standard or dialectical variety of language, and area-specific vocabulary is essential. As a reader, the job seekers or the active talent at your place should not feel belittled in any sense. Ensure that being inclusive in a workplace is visible even on the preliminary level too so that it gives out your message, loud and clear. Let’s stay clear of ‘he/shes’, if you don’t want to assume someone’s gender, just write ‘they’.
2. Blind Screenings
Screenings are done once you receive several applications, and it marks the quality of the workforce you are going to have. Diversity and inclusion in a workplace can only be ensured if such screenings have a bar for all groups of people who fits your requirement in terms of their skill set, irrespective of their personal backgrounds, religious or political affiliations, demographics, etc. Gender can also be a considerable parameter for doing blind screening and ensuring equal participation. Apart from this, you have to look at the age, physical barriers, etc to ensure that talent gets the right platform and is not sacked owing to the rigid screening criteria.
3. Culture Fit and Biases
Unconscious bias is frequently at work when interviewers seek to reject prospects based on “cultural fit” or a “intuitions.” The quest to ensure diversity, equality, and inclusion is also a battle with yourself. As an organization, you might have people in authority who work on these gut feelings and the idea of “perfect fits.” To discover hidden prejudices and then have honest discussions about issues, ask your respondents to provide a more thorough explanation. Never chastise or shame someone since this can trigger unproductive reactions.
4. Diverse Referrals
Referrals are a way your existing talent pool attracts the new talents they know. It, however, generally comes from the same space and is entirely localized. Encourage your staff to go beyond their three closest friends or people they think are the right fit. Insist on the fact that diversity involves intentional effort and that all employees may contribute by introducing others to deserving individuals, regardless of whether they fit the “conventional” profile. LinkedIn connectivity, for instance, can be a great way to ensure diversity and inclusion in a workplace.
5. Training Programs
Training programs for employees go both ways. While it teaches one group about cultural diversity in the workplace, it also helps people from ethnically diverse sections to come forward and prepare themselves to work in a diverse workplace. It can also sensitize people towards diverse cultures, and teach them about triggers of minority groups or gender dysmorphic individuals, etc. You can also have workshops and peer groups to support your staff in all spheres of the professional space.
6. Underrepresented Employees Matter
Underrepresented workers can benefit from having the same exposure to support as their peers thanks to diversity and inclusion initiatives. It promotes greater equality and raises the value of their connection.
Many underrepresented workers are unable to advance due to a lack of development opportunities. You may give mentors and sponsors the tools and resources they need to spot development gaps through mentorship programs. Employees have a much better chance of progressing if their sponsors act as actual allies and champions for them.
7. Bathrooms and Neutral Working Spaces
It is always preferable to pay attention to your personnel and accept them for who they are and how they identify, including in matters of bathrooms, pronoun usage, names, and gender identity and expression. The problem in terms of the bathroom is a difficult one. It is a basic need, and having gendered washrooms makes it difficult for people who don’t identify with a particular gender. It also is difficult for people on the disability spectrum to access washroom facilities if they are not neutral and accommodating. Remember that the idea of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workspace also includes hygiene and the overall health of all your employees, and decide your working space accordingly.
8. Holidays and Policies
Every culture’s holiday festivities typically center on imparting knowledge of customs, history, and the reasons why a group of people cares for one another. It also helps us learn that irrespective of our differences, we all share a great deal in common through learning about the traditions of diverse cultures. Hence, including different holidays and making leave policies specifically keeping your staff in mind is a great way to kickstart your justice, diversity, and inclusion policy implementation.
9. Implicit Association Test
To help employees become aware of their own preconceptions, have them complete an implicit association test. A crucial first step toward more in-depth equality, diversity, and inclusion dialogues is frequently acknowledging that we all have prejudices. This is also an individual assessment of realizing your biases and working towards unlearning many things.
10. Poster and Pamphleteering
The easiest job description of posters and pamphleteering would be to teach people about certain things. There are many benefits of watching a poster every day as it helps you memorize things, subconsciously leave a message, and showcase company policies. You can start small by putting basic information about your organization and its diversity and inclusion policies, a little info on the types of diversity in a workplace, etc. All of this info may sound trivial but it institutionalizes and normalize the conversation around race, ethnicity, gender, and other rather less talked-about issues.
11. Non-gendered Dress Codes
Wearing gender-neutral clothing can free employees from feeling constrained by their gender identification. It also confronts gender norms that males should wear pants and that women should dress in “feminine” ways or the existence of this binary. Unisexual dress codes indirectly teach them that it’s good not to conform to outdated beliefs dictating how men and women must live their lives or be confined to the gendered idea of society. By neutralizing assumptions about how employees should dress in society, you will make a change and establish a very effective diversity and inclusion initiative.
12. Guests and Webinars
It’s always better to hear from the experienced lot. People who are a part of a specific group or identify as a specific individual are a vital part of the whole transformation process. Some of the best companies for diversity and inclusion invite people from diverse backgrounds to organize webinars, seminars, or just a talk to raise awareness and make people feel accepted. You can have your own version of the TED talk or a stand-up session talking about different topics that teaches but also interest diverse groups at the same time. Invite people who have made a difference by standing out and seeing the positive impact and the morale boost yourself.
13. Parental Leave Policy
Gone are those days when maternity leave was short and gender-specific. The correct replacement for this is inclusive parental leave policies which allow individuals to seek leave as caregivers or nurturing parents. As young individuals, people often seek a place to work where the policies like these are a must for great diversity and inclusion initiatives. Attracting them using such policies is one of the many benefits. It also is a great talent retention policy and boosts individual careers that suffer a halt due to parenthood.
14. Nonprofits for Awareness
A nonprofit that works for a diverse and inclusive cause is a great place to start your diversity and inclusion initiative. It gives your staff a window into the life of others who are similar yet different from them. It also generates a sense of belonging and sensitizes people about the existence of a multicultural society and why your company should have a diverse working staff.
15. Universal Design
Buildings and working spaces should accommodate all kinds of people. It is a strategy that aims to make sure that people with varying levels of ability clearly and palpably belong to, participate in, and be actively connected to your team’s societal goals and objectives and can work hassle-freely. One of the fundamental ideas and strategies for including people with disabilities is universal design. It means that your buildings and cubicles are accessible and easy to navigate, and there is a support infrastructure for people on the disability spectrum.
Diversity and inclusion initiatives are a dynamic process. As an organization, even the most progressive businesses are still developing their understanding of how to lessen hiring bias, promote inclusivity, and generate a sense of belonging for staff members from all backgrounds. To start the conversation right now with your staff, you can take a closer look at the ideas mentioned above. Take some time to customize it to your company’s needs, and you are good to go.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)
What are some diversity and inclusion activities you can do at the workplace?
Diversity and inclusion activities need group participation. Hence, as an organization, you can organize talks, workshops, and team-building activities that could promote these values. You can also organize potlucks or observe each other’s festivities together to know each others’ culture better.
Are there any benefits of workplace diversity?
Workplace Diversity is the need of this hour. It is an all-encompassing set of policies, practices, and measurements that aim to promote cultural diversity in the workplace and make everyone feel safe and accepted. These values are essential in many ways.
- Helps in promoting your job requirements
- Safeguards your talent management and retention
- Eases out several complex HR situations
- Brings a holistic workplace culture
How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace?
To promote diversity and inclusion, first, an organization needs to streamline its hiring process. Starting with an inclusive hiring process, the organization could move forward with policies and workplace rules that uphold justice, equality, and diversity in high regard.
How to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion among employees?
To improve your pre-existing diversity, equity, and inclusion policy, you must take care that it is implemented in all spheres. Ensure that not only the policies followed but are also taken into consideration in terms of personal behavior, office culture, and everyday communication. Make it a way of life not just an HR policy and you will inculcate some of these habits among employees.