Innovative Ways to Promote Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
Promoting workplace diversity and inclusion has become an important focus area for companies, big and small. While the realization to do so occurred only recently, the good news is that a lot is already happening, with companies like Intel pledging $300 million for their diversity-related outcomes by 2020 and Apple earmarking $50 million towards non-profit organizations supporting women in technology.
Why Diversity Matters
For business success in this increasingly interconnected world, embracing diversity in the workplace is the need of the hour. A diverse workplace can help a company attain profitability in new markets, which is becoming a reality because of the many expansions, mergers and acquisitions occurring all over the world. Some other benefits of encouraging inclusion and diversity in the workplace is that the idea, once executed, will breed creative thinking, result in innovative outcomes, and expedite the process of problem solving because of a range of expertise that a diverse talent pool tends to bring in.
Solutions to Foster Diversity and Inclusion at the Workplace
- Counter Any Resistance to Change â€“ Any attempt at organizational change is almost always met with resistance from some quarters, be it acceptance of new ideas or shattering age-old stereotypes around gender, race, religion, color, etc. It is, therefore, important to introduce a diversity training workshop that sensitizes everyone in the organization to the need and importance of having such a diverse workplace.
- Strengthen your Orientation Program It can be a daunting task for anyone new to settle into an organization where they are not in a majority, be it because of a skewed sex ratio amongst the employees or because of a language barrier. Your company orientation program must, therefore, look at assigning mentors in such cases. A great example to reinforce this point is a study conducted between 2011 and 2015 by the University of Massachusetts, where it was found that female Engineering undergraduates without mentors felt increasingly anxious, under-confident, and out of the place through the year than girls who were assigned mentors.
- Promote Diversity in Leadership Positions Remember, good practices must begin at the helm! When talking of leaders, we have always heard about a visionary leader, a dynamic leader, an innovative leader, but very seldom do we hear about a collaborative leader. So, unless you have a diverse Executive Leadership that understands the real need and benefits of diversity, an all-inclusive and progressive workforce would remain a distant dream.
- Improve Communication Men in leadership roles have an important role to play, especially when it comes to shattering gender-based stereotypes that prevent the free flow of thoughts and ideas within an organization. They need to become patient and active listeners, and never adopt an authoritarian attitude when it comes to women at their workplace.
- Focus on the Granular Details Focusing on very small aspects of your organization, especially highly visible ones, can present a lot of improvement areas. Ever thought of providing multilingual safety and warning signs and labels? For instance, experts at Clarion Safety Systems say, Safety labels need to be quickly and easily understood, so people can gain immediate awareness of hazards and avoid accidents and injuries. With increasing diversity in workplaces, you have to take into consideration whether or not your audience reads English. While signs and labels may be a small detail, they can go a long way in reinforcing safety policies due to their high visibility.
- Analytical Insights Important analytical insights, captured over a period of time, analyzed and implemented, can deliver rich dividends that can help streamline the performance of any business. Big data presents a treasure trove of information and must be explored to assess the quality of past hires, so that any emotional biases during the interview process can be addressed with the help of tangible data.
These are easy to implement solutions that can go a long way in enabling your vision of creating a workplace environment that is diverse and inclusive. This is something that should not be seen as just a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative but a practice that will yield better and more profitable business outcomes going forward.