Internal Communications

How To Promote Diversity and Inclusion In The Workplace

By Katie Liston

Updated:

Wondering how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace? Learn four ways that companies can maximize the benefits of DEI across their workforce and why investing in strategic diversity and inclusion efforts is essential in this day and age. 

HR leaders have known for a while that embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also a strong business move.

In fact, 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.

Despite this data, many workplaces still aren’t inclusive. A study by Glassdoor reports that more than 50% of current employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity.

To build a truly inclusive workplace, conceptually embracing DEI isn’t enough. Businesses need to take steps toward making every employee feel welcome to maintain solid employee engagement.

We’ll break down everything you need to know about D&I and the necessary steps for cultivating diversity and inclusion in your workplace. We’ll also look at the tools that can help.

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What is Workplace Diversity and Inclusion?

Workplace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) refers to the welcome presence of difference in the workplace. It describes an environment where people of different genders, national backgrounds, and sexual orientations are present and welcomed.

Each person’s opinion and input is valued regardless of mental, physical, or sexual characteristics.

Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand and it’s important that both are present for a healthy and productive workplace. Let’s look at why.

Why is Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace Important?

Workplace diversity and inclusion is the responsibility of every employer. Not to mention, it’s vital for employee satisfaction, engagement, and business outcomes.

When employees feel that their opinions, ideas, and work isn’t fairly evaluated, they won’t stay with the company long. They also won’t take creative risks orexcel in their work if they feel that it won’t be valued.

On the other hand, a diverse and inclusive workforce introduces different viewpoints and perspectives to the company. This opens space for innovation, new products, new ways of thinking, and great new ways to offer solutions to customers.

With a diverse and inclusive workplace culture and communication, you’ll be able to both attract diverse talent and retain them. And that has countless benefits for your business.

What are the Benefits of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace?

When employers ensure diversity and inclusion in the workplace, they’ll see some awesome benefits. Just consider that companies with ethnically diverse and inclusive businesses have a 35% higher chance to outperform their peers.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

A few other benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workforce include:

  • A larger and more skilled talent pool
  • Quicker problem-solving
  • Higher degree of innovation
  • Increased employee engagement and trust
  • Wider range of perspectives
  • Less employee turnover
  • Higher profits
  • Improved productivity

By actively implementing diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you’ll begin to see advantages quickly.

But creating a truly diverse and inclusive business is no small feat. You’re going to have to put in the time and effort to educate your staff and implement actionable steps towards achieving your diversity and inclusion goals.

Let’s look at how to do this.

How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

A diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t built overnight. But by taking consistent steps towards your diversity and inclusion goals, you’ll be able to make progress in the long run.

Here are some key steps to take when considering how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace:

1. Make diversity and inclusion part of the hiring process

Unfortunately, bias in the hiring process is an all too common occurrence. A big part of the problem involves unconscious forms of discrimination that have become commonplace in the business world. Without addressing and avoiding unconscious bias in the hiring process, your company is undercutting its own success.

To prevent bias in hiring and gaining a diverse talent pool, a blind hiring process is one effective strategy. It consists of removing questions to do with early schooling, age, and even names from job applications to accommodate diverse job seekers.

Another tactic is using skill tests to move candidates through certain stages of the interview process. This practice enables candidates to be judged solely on their ability to do the job rather than personal characters.

Most importantly, you should ensure your job application postings don’t contain criteria that may be exclusionary to candidates based on race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation.  For instance, postings with titles such as data analytics “ninja”, “hacker,” or “guru” include traditionally male-oriented words, which could put off many female candidates. 

2. Set up mentorship programs

Workplace mentorship is a highly effective way to foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It’s also something a lot of underrepresented groups want to see more of.

To nurture and retain top talent, businesses should set up mentorship programs for underrepresented employees. Pair staff with seasoned professionals to help them grow within the organization. Ask mentors to advise employees to help them advance their careers.

A mentoring circle is a great way to go about this. Mentors and mentees who share common interests and learning objectives can gather together to hone their skills and build confidence.

Topics of interest are chosen beforehand by group members; the topics can be anything from issues faced in the workplace or a discussion on how junior employees can grow in the organization.

By giving everyone a chance to speak and encouraging healthy discussions, mentorship circles allow employees to build confidence and improve their leadership skills.

In addition, you can implement reverse mentoring, which pairs  junior members of the workforce with senior members to formally share knowledge and mentor junior members in culturally and generationally relevant topics.

Through these types of mentoring, senior managers can get a better understanding of challenges faced by their employees while junior employees can get support from their higher ups. This is an especially great strategy for managing a multigenerational workforce.

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3. Establish clear DEI policies

There are several inclusion policies that companies can enforce to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace as well as healthy and positive workplace culture.

These include:

  • Commitment to a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Establishing training programs for management and staff to understand the importance of workplace diversity and inclusion.
  • Commitment to respecting human rights, equity and privacy laws in the workplace.
  • Establishing a complaints process that allows employees to express concerns about any type of workplace discrimination or abuse.
  • Put in place a consultation process with employees to obtain feedback on D&I initiatives.

With ContactMonkey, you can gather anonymous employee feedback to improve your diversity and inclusion efforts.

With anonymous feedback, employees can express concerns honestly and without reservations so you can address problem areas quickly and implement necessary change.

4. Have transparent conversations around DEI

Employees may not feel comfortable speaking about DEI in the workplace unless they’re provided with a safe environment to do so.

Women in particular are less likely to speak up and also less likely to feel comfortable sharing a different perspective. Many fear that voicing a contrary opinion will have negative consequences.

How can you encourage transparent conversation about diversity in the workplace?

One way to go about this is by organizing weekly sprints. Every week, team members gather together and talk about their life experiences, what sets them apart, and how their differences have made them stronger.

All employees are given 15 to 20 minutes to talk about themselves. This allows everyone to participate in healthy discussions about their diverse backgrounds and honour each other’s differences.

5. Ask for feedback on your company’s DEI efforts

The best way to find out where your organization is lacking in DEI is by asking employees. In fact, this is the first step toward empowerment, one of the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

The best way to ask employees for feedback is by utilizing employee engagement surveys. Tools like ContactMonkey make it easy to hear employees’ opinions about the company’s DEI initiatives and overall culture.

Receiving negative feedback from employees can further help to highlight and rectify problems in the workplace.

You can also segment surveys; filter responses according to gender, race, ethnicity, and other categories to figure out what problems are faced by different minority groups.

6. Always use inclusive language across your workplace communications

From using “guys” to address a group, to asking someone, “Where are you really from?” language plays a huge role in creating an inclusive (or non-inclusive) environment.

Even when they’re not meant to be harmful, certain phrases can leave employees feeling hurt and ashamed.

Salesforce is a great example of a company that has been updating language across its products to ensure they’re more in line with inclusivity.

Some examples

  • “allow list” and “blocklist” instead of “whitelist” and “blacklist”
  • “block out” and “reduced availability” instead of “blackout” and “brownout”

You can also use tools like Textio to maximize the benefits of diversity in the workplace; remove bias and encourage inclusivity in written content, such as job descriptions.

7. Keep leadership at the forefront

From executives to managers, everyone in the hierarchy should practice inclusivity and be held accountable for it.

Start with making sure that the leadership team is representative. If your leaders don’t reflect different backgrounds, employees are less likely to feel that your company takes DEI seriously.

Leaders should also be open about their biases and how the organization could be more inclusive. Have executives send DEI updates that reflect inclusive policies of the organization.

From onboarding a new, diverse workforce to arranging diverse company events, leaders should be at the forefront of all DEI policies—it’s essential to maximize the benefits of diversity in the workplace.

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8. Implement diversity and inclusion training

Diversity and inclusion training is the best way to make sure everyone in your workplace knows how to actively practice diversity, equity, and inclusion in their respective roles. This type of training usually includes quizzes, diversity videos, webinars and activities that aim to highlight the biases that underlie exclusionary workplace practices. 

For instance, diversity and inclusion quizzes may include association challenges where participants are presented with job titles such as ‘doctor’ or ‘scientist’ and asked to quickly associate them with characteristics such as gender.

By highlighting the implicit biases in our own decision-making, D&I quizzes help us see how susceptible we could be to discriminatory practices. In turn, this helps make us more aware in preventing them. 

9. Ensure pay equity in the workplace

Reaching pay equity at your company means acknowledging that employees may be paid at a different rate across your company while doing similar tasks under similar conditions. 

Unfair wages often emerge as a result of bias in the workplace, which sees some employees, such as women, regularly earning less than others for the same work. This poses a challenge for gender diversity in the workplace. 

Pay equity starts with taking inventory of wages across different departments in your company. Then, examining whether there is truly evidence of unfair wages being paid and taking steps to create equal opportunity. 

When employers commit to fair wages they are taking an important step to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion across their company in the long run.

10. Promote diversity and inclusion resources across the organization

Unfortunately, many employees may not have been introduced to proactive diversity and inclusion initiatives at their previous jobs. This makes it vital that your company ensures that DEI resources and information are actively promoted and easily accessible. 

You can use your company intranet or employee newsletter to connect staff to key diversity and inclusion resources. This may include posting smart links to your diversity, equity, and inclusion training and events in your employee newsletter. You could also include mentee spotlight posts in your internal emails to promote mentorship opportunities.

Use ContactMonkey’s email analytics to see whether diversity and inclusion resources are reaching your staff by verifying email open rates, read times, and increases in your email click-through rate

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Measure Diversity and Inclusion for a Stronger Workplace

We hope we’ve answered the question of how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The most important thing to remember is that diversity and inclusion needs to transcend every area of business and each stage of your employee experience—from onboarding to employee departure. And once you’ve developed a DEI strategy, it’s essential to continuously measure its success.

One way to measure the effectiveness of your DEI efforts is by collecting employee feedback. ContactMonkey’s pulse survey tool lets you do this quickly and easily. And you can learn how to create employee pulse surveys in minutes with our step-by-step guide.

We also recommend using a mix of closed-ended and open-ended questions so it’s easy for team members to complete the survey. Send multi-language emails so your international employees can fill out the survey too. Once you have your survey results, use this data to optimize your DEI initiatives.

Collecting data is not the only easy with ContactMonkey, but you can also view the data in easy-to-comprehend analytics. Learn how you can use ContactMonkey to maximize the benefits of diversity in the workplace—make data-driven decisions and amp up diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

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