While more and more companies are being proactive about diversity and inclusion, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done to create a modern workplace where all employees feel safe, respected, and valued. When it comes to attracting and retaining top talent from different backgrounds, races, and cultures, it’s imperative that businesses build and maintain a culture and community that gives everyone a voice.
These individuals bring fresh, new perspectives to your company and can drive creativity, innovation, and even profitability. But above all else, your company has a moral obligation to ensure minority employees feel comfortable at work. Every day your employees show up to work, they deserve to feel their opinions, thoughts, and beliefs are valued and that they won’t be treated unfairly based on how they look or how they identify.
Not sure how to kick-off your own DEIB initiatives? Here are a few examples of how your company can prioritize diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging to create a work environment where each and every employee belongs.
1. Commit to Diverse Hiring Practices
Building a diverse company starts with attracting diverse talent. Tools like Textio can help you identify and eliminate gender-biased language from your job description, helping you attract a balanced set of candidates. Applicant tracking systems can also help remove bias by removing candidate’s names from their resumes, as studies show resumes with ethnic-sounding names get fewer callbacks than applicants with the same credentials and white-sounding names.
Many companies have committed to having diverse interview slates for open roles, especially at the leadership level. This means having at least one woman and/or minority candidate in a final interview stage and hopefully increasing the diversity of company leadership boards.
2. Educate Employees
Attracting diverse candidates isn’t enough, you also need to create a culture where every employee feels comfortable and respected at work. Creating this community of inclusion and acceptance often starts with education. Training courses on unconscious bias, microaggressions, respect, and leadership can teach employees how to be mindful of others in the workplace and speak up against injustice.
Companies cannot treat diversity and inclusion training courses like checking a box. One DEIB training a year is not enough to instill change. Companies need to invest in ongoing expert-led training programs that are interactive so employees can ask questions and practice new skills. DEIB training course providers, like Hone, can help your employees take personalized courses wherever and whenever it is convenient for them. Encourage your employees to build a better workplace culture by investing in DEIB education and training today.
3. Create Employee Resource Groups
Employee resource groups (ERGs) give employees an opportunity to meet like-minded people, share their culture and values, raise awareness, and tackle issues in the workplace. ERGs usually address the needs of underrepresented groups in the workplace, like black, Hispanic, and Asian employees, as well as women, parents, LGBTQ, and veterans. Employees don’t need to identify as a member of one of these groups to participate. Many ERGs host events, speakers, and discussions to increase awareness of issues facing their group and present initiatives to company leadership to improve DEIB in the workplace.
4. Invest in Employee Growth
Even companies with a diverse workforce struggle to maintain diversity at the leadership and management levels. Twenty-six percent of Amazon’s employees identify as black, but only 8 percent of the tech giant’s managers are black. These numbers continue to dwindle when looking at the company’s leadership team.
If your company is already diverse, consider investing more in your employees’ professional growth. This can help you promote existing employees and help them move upwards within your organization. Consider introducing internal mentorship programs or offering tuition reimbursement and professional growth stipends to help employees hone existing skills and learn new ones, like leadership and team management.
5. Audit Your Internal Policies
Take a look at your existing company policies and ensure they are inclusive to everyone, regardless of race, gender, or ability. To start, take a look at the language and pronouns you use on your website, in your company handbook, and on job descriptions. Consider replacing gendered pronouns with gender-neutral options like “they” or “the individual”; replace maternal and paternal leave for “parental leave.” Lastly, consider adopting flexible working options to help employees with disabilities or children—work from home options or flexible hours could help accommodate the diverse work style and needs of your employees, inspiring employee loyalty and making you a more attractive employer for prospective candidates.
6. Build an Inclusive Office Space
You want to design and build an office space where employees feel comfortable and cared for.
Things like ADA-accessibility, alternative working spaces, and gender-neutral bathrooms can help people feel more welcome in the office. Consider implementing small versatile spaces so mothers can pump (which is required by law in some states) or where employees can pray or meditate in private. These small office features can help employees work in a way that works best for them.
7. Have Inclusive Company Holidays
Make sure your company holiday calendar takes note of a diverse set of holidays and occasions—not just Christmas. Consider adopting a flexible time-off policy or introducing floating holidays so employees can take the time off they need to celebrate with family. Or, if your office is open on a specific holiday, consider throwing an office celebration for the whole team. Most recently, many businesses have declared Juneteeth, the holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the U.S., as a company holiday and gave employees the day off to celebrate.
Other observances like Asian Pacific Heritage Month, Pride Month, and Black History Month present great opportunities to bring in external speakers, host discussion groups, watch films, and more with employees to show support for their culture. This is a great opportunity to partner with ERGs to plan fun, innovative ways to get more employees involved in the planned programs and events.
However your company chooses to invest in DEIB, know that change doesn’t happen overnight. It can take a long time to see the impact of your DEIB initiatives. Take pride in the fact that your company is taking steps to build a workplace and culture that treats all employees fairly and equally.
If you are looking for a DEIB training for your organization, Hone offers live interactive classes that include topics like “The Dangers of a Culture of Conformity”, “Build High Trust Relationships”, and “Embrace Diversity with Inclusion” with a free 14 day trial. Sign up now.