For diversity and inclusion to be successful in the workplace it requires efforts from leadership and employees alike. At the heart of this initiative it is that everyone treats each other with respect, accepting each other’s unique characteristics, and doing what is right.
Diversity & inclusion is a continuous process
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace needs to be ingrained into the company culture. It isn’t just a policy for the sake of policy, but an intentional and consistent process of seeking out diverse individuals who can bring varying points of view and perspectives into the workplace.
Employees know company values and mission
All team members should know the company values and mission as they relate to business objectives. Individuals can learn how their role can impact the organization.
Hire leaders that espouse these values
When hiring, seek out individuals who will value diversity and inclusion. When we create a safe space, we allow people to share their ideas, opinions and points of view without judgement or criticism. A safe workplace will foster growth and development in individuals as well as the company as a whole.
Leadership is to accept employees as they are
Take the time to learn about different cultures, races, religions and backgrounds represented by your colleagues. Keep an open mind free from expectations and assumptions. Keeping an open mind expands your world-view and supercharges your decision-making.
Create a safe environment for employees to be authentically themselves
Employees need to be able to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Companies should validate each and every person regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual preferences, or background. To effectively promote diversity, managers shouldn’t play favorites or have discriminatory practices and employees should feel safe to voice their concerns and opinions without the fear of victimization.
Create flexible mandatory holidays
When your organization has a diverse workforce, this will include various regions, cultures, and religions. Allowing flexible holiday observances will allow individuals personally authority and responsibility to take days off to practice culturally significant holidays without compelling them to take days off during traditional US holidays.
Invite diversity into the discussion
If diversity is to be ingrained in the company, then diversity needs to be in the discussion. Leaders need to invite opinions and values from every employee in the company. Use a
company survey to gather information. Use the feedback to help the company evolve and adapt to the needs to the workplace. Seek out networking opportunities, seminars and presentations given by a more diverse range of speakers in order to inform your business decisions that will provide influence and new perspective. If diversity is at the forefront of business objectives, it’ll be easier to foster a team that can be authentically diverse.
Practice the Golden Rule
Treat people they way they deserve to be treated. If leadership wants a diverse workplace then they need to really get to know people on their team. Ask genuine questions, seek to learn, and avoid judgement. Avoid offensive jokes or language that would alienate another. Don’t dismiss or devalue someone’s feelings or beliefs. And most importantly apologize if you offend or hurt another. Diversity and inclusion are about learning and growing. Effecting meaningful change on a personal and communal level.