8 Ways to Increase Diversity & Inclusion in the Workplace
The topic of diversity is becoming increasingly important, as more companies take accountability for their role in forging an inclusive workforce. While the discussion is certainly a step in the right direction, it is also imperative that companies implement policies to ensure their commitment to diversity becomes a permanent part of their work culture.
Do you need tips for increasing diversity and inclusion in your organization? Authentic Jobs has you covered. Keep reading to discover 8 ways you can create a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace for all of your employees.
1. Discuss Company Values
When was the last time your team met to discuss diversity and inclusion? What are your organizational values? Frequent meetings, to discuss company values and culture, can help to mitigate discriminatory practices in the workplace.
Want to take additional measures to ensure your company is putting its best foot forward? Consider bringing in a professional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) trainer for a workshop or hiring an in-house DEI expert to keep the conversation going.
2. Eliminate Unconscious Bias
Unconscious racial and gender biases keep employers from finding the talent they need.
Racial bias can occur even when a recruiter is not certain of an applicant’s race. In July 2021, economists at the University of Chicago and University of California, Berkeley, published a vast diversity audit1 on unconscious bias in the hiring process at large companies. This evaluation, of systemic discrimination, included their research from an experiment where 83,000 fake job applications were submitted to entry-level positions at 108 companies – with most surveyed employers being in the top 100 of the Fortune 500 list. Their findings revealed that, on average, applicants with a “Black name”– like Zuri or DaQuan – get fewer interviews than similar applications from candidates with a “White name” such as John or Sally.
It’s no secret that women don’t always get their fair share of respect in the workplace. However, unconscious bias is not just hurting candidates who identify as women; it is also affecting others across the gender spectrum. The seats at corporate tables are often reserved for men – with only 6% of S&P 500 companies having a woman CEO according to a 2020 analysis2 by Equileap. While there is some space left for women these days, transgender and nonbinary individuals don’t usually get a seat at all. In a 2015 survey3 of more than 27,000 transgendered workers, 67% reported negative work experiences – such as being forced to resign from positions, being excluded from job promotions, or being overlooked during the hiring process.
Beyond race and gender, other bias pitfalls recruiters should avoid include age bias, religious bias, and appearance-focused bias. One step companies can take to eliminate discriminatory practices is to establish a blind recruiting process – where applicants’ background information is not readily available to the hiring team.
3. Foster Diverse Thinking
People from culturally diverse backgrounds offer varying viewpoints and unique problem-solving skills – which can add tremendous value to any workplace. But finding diverse employees is just the first step; figuring out how to incorporate those employees into the company’s culture is a bigger challenge.
The good news is that, by hiring from a diverse talent pool, your team is already set up for success. Take your diversity initiative even further by figuring out ways to amplify the voices of your employees and make them feel included! Start with simple acts of inclusion – such as garnering project feedback from ethnically-diverse employees – then scale up from there.
4. Discuss Gender Pay Inequality
The gender pay gap is a well-researched inequality plaguing most workplaces. According to a Pew Research Center analysis4 on the average hourly earnings, women workers ages 16 and older earned $0.84 for every $1.00 a man earned in 2020. Based on their findings, women would have to work an extra 42 days to earn the same amount of money as men!
Companies, that wish to address this issue, can increase transparency by having an open dialogue around pay. Additionally, HR professionals can conduct pay audits and take strategic steps to ensure employees are being compensated fairly.
5. Acknowledge Cultural Practices
A simple step your team can take, to increase inclusivity, is to acknowledge holidays and cultural practices from across the world – this is especially important if your organization has a global or remote staff!
Already implementing inclusive holiday breaks? That’s fantastic! Take it a step further by making sure your in-person company celebrations are non-denominational. Additionally, company-wide social gatherings could include non-alcoholic beverages for non-drinkers and alternative menus for folks with dietary restrictions. It might seem like a lot to consider but, taking steps to honor diverse cultural practices, shows employees that they are cared for and not just viewed as cogs in the company’s machine.
6. Identify Ableism
According to Catarina Rivera, DEI consultant5 and founder of Blindish Latina, “ableism is the idea that non-disabled people are more worthy than disabled people, more valuable [and] more talented.” The stigma surrounding disabilities runs rampant throughout American society – with the American workforce being no exception. So, how can companies address ableism in the workplace?
Being intentional about including employees with disabilities is the first step a company can take to ensure they aren’t excluding qualified candidates. However, this intentionality is not exclusive to the hiring process. After recruiting candidates of varying abilities, companies need to ensure those employees are properly accommodated – one idea is to create a suggestion box where workers can anonymously recommend ways for the company to be more accessible.
7. Show Diversity
Do you want to increase diversity within your organization? Are you seeking to recruit more people of color or women to join your team?
Consider using an image that illustrates diversity to encourage a variety of candidates to apply while simultaneously showing your organization’s values. Don’t just talk about diversity and inclusion on your company’s website – show applicants what and who you’re looking for.
8. Give Back
If your company is looking for ways for your employees to connect outside of work, consider doing an organization-wide community service project to foster relationships among employees and leadership.
If your company has a large staff, try creating a community service program that allows employees to take time off to volunteer – HR teams could even curate a list of local charities to encourage employees to volunteer alongside their coworkers.
1. Kline, P. M., Rose, E. K., & Walters, C. R. (2021, July 26). Systemic discrimination among large U.S. employers. NBER. Retrieved November 28, 2021, from https://www.nber.org/papers/w29053.
2. Gender equality in the U.S. – equileap. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://equileap.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Equileap_US_Report_2020.pdf
3. The report of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. (n.d.). Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://transequality.org/sites/default/files/docs/usts/USTS-Full-Report-Dec17.pdf.
4. Barroso, A., & Brown, A. (2021, May 25). Gender pay gap in U.S. held steady in 2020. Pew Research Center. Retrieved November 30, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/05/25/gender-pay-gap-facts/.
5. Rivera, C. (2021, July 26). Catarina Rivera: Addressing Ableism in the Workplace. Inclusively. Retrieved November 29, 2021, from https://inclusively.com/news-and-resources/catarina-rivera-addressing-ableism-in-the-workplace.