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Diversity in Action: Creating an Inclusive Environment That Thrives


Employee Management

Diversity in Action: Creating an Inclusive Environment That Thrives

Creating an inclusive environment is crucial for fostering diversity and ensuring that everyone feels valued and respected......

April 13, 2023
min read
April 13, 2023
8 min read
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Diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, have been crucial to changing work environments. More companies focus on creating an inclusive company culture, forming a diverse workforce, and ensuring equity among team members.

But even so, some companies need to input better strategies to create a more diverse team and improve the employee experience for everyone. So how exactly can companies create a DEI environment?

The information below provides helpful insight into the best inclusion efforts and DEI strategies that can turn a business into a place that supports diversity.  

How Do You Create a DEI Environment?

Recognize DEI Opportunities

Some managers may limit DEI efforts to race/ethnicity and gender. But there are many other underrepresented groups that leaders in the workforce should pay attention to. Other groups companies should focus on include:

●       Sexual Orientation and Identity

●       Age

●       Disability

●       Culture

●       Religion

Workers in these groups should feel welcome and safe and have a sense of belonging. Efforts such as recognizing cultural holidays, providing medical coverage that caters to age-related diseases, and allowing prayer times within the workplace are diversity initiatives that foster a DEI environment.

Prioritize Open Communication

Transparency can bring to light workplace inequities that could be hindering DEI initiatives. Companies should communicate with all employees to find inconsistencies or unfairness that may affect specific groups. Managers should get opinions about promotions, compensation, and hiring. In addition, they should pay attention to the views of those from diverse backgrounds to better understand their concerns and promote an inclusive culture.

Transparent communication can help develop strategies that ensure fairness in the workplace. If promotions have some bias, the company can set criteria for promotion that eliminates bias and includes everyone.

Invest in Employee Resource Groups

Employee resource groups(ERG) or affinity groups are safe spaces where workers with shared identities, backgrounds, experiences, and interests can meet and gain a sense of belonging. While initially started for women and people of colour, they now support various identities and backgrounds.

By investing in ERGs, employers ensure diverse employees feel safe and a part of the team. It helps with employee retention rates and grows workplace diversity. ERGs are also an outlet for diverse teams where they can share concerns openly and receive support to help them perform tasks better.

Steps To Creating An Environment That Celebrates Diversity And Inclusion

Set Goals

Developing goals is the first step in creating an environment that celebrates diversity and inclusion. Managers or employers should create goals that, in the long run, collectively help celebrate diversity and inclusion.

Examples of goals include:

●       More employees are completing DEI training programs.

●       More diverse hires.

●       More diversity in senior management.

●       An inclusive workplace culture

Team leaders can then ensure their members work towards these goals to foster an inclusive workplace that celebrates diversity.  

Create an Inclusion Team

Companies should also form a council with influential and diverse members dedicated to DEI efforts. The team will share feedback from people of different cultures.

In addition, they will help to address any employee engagement problems among under represented groups.

The team can advocate for DEI with senior executives when necessary. It can be challenging for underrepresented groups to bring changes that cater to their needs– that is where the inclusion team comes in.  

Address Implicit Bias

Workplace leaders should recognize and address bias. No matter how bias-free employees and managers think they are, everyone can make judgments based on social experiences.

Unconscious biases operate outside of awareness. They are cognitive shortcuts that can harm DEI efforts.

Managers must first create awareness of unconscious bias and help everyone in the workplace understand that it challenges DEI initiatives.

Bias training is the next step, where managers and employees can learn how stereotypes subconsciously drive their decision-making and how it affects other employees negatively.

Managers and team leaders should be on the frontline of bias training as they have more influence.

Diversity and Inclusion in Seniority

Senior-level managers need to show that they celebrate and welcome diversity and inclusion.

Some companies achieve this by ensuring senior management has people from diverse backgrounds and under represented groups.

Doing so shows that the company offers equal opportunities to scale up. In addition, it can encourage lower-level employees to celebrate DEI since sensor employees are more influential in the workplace.

Measure DEI Efforts

As with any other initiative, it is important to measure efforts and progress. Companies should start by benchmarking their work culture and then work towards achieving their diversity initiatives within the set timelines.

Team leaders and managers should measure their efforts to determine how well they are doing in achieving these goals every other time. They can re-strategize or apply more effort to weak areas to meet goals.

Steps To Creating A Culturally Diverse Environment

Cultural diversity is vital in the workplace. Not only does it bring top talent into the company, but it also brings fresh viewpoints and drives innovation. Cultural diversity could open the business to a new target market and empower employees. Below are a few steps to creating a culturally diverse environment:

●       Practice equitable hiring. Removing biases from hiring ensures the company receives applications from different demographics. Managers should ensure job posts have no bias. In addition, they should post on job boards that specialize in diversity.  

●       Highlight diversity on job posts. Managers can encourage diverse applicants by mentioning the initiative on the career webpage or by encouraging applications on the job posts.

●       Offer flexibility. Offering work schedule flexibility brings more diversity into the office. Employees will feel that their unique needs are taken care of and that the company supports their differences.  

●       Update policies. Management should update policies to remove biases and include the unique needs of diverse talent. It is a key step in creating a diverse workplace that attracts top talent and retains employees.

●       Reward diverse referrals. HR and managers can ask employees to recommend candidates from underrepresented groups who are qualified for open positions. Managers can then offer a reward for every diverse hire recommended by an employee.

●       Celebrate employee differences. Finally, managers should set up events where employees can communicate about their culture, religions, and backgrounds to help others understand and support diversity. It is also an excellent team-building activity.

Workpay constantly analyzes emerging HR and workplace trends, offering insight into the future of work environments and interactions. Keep up with our informative blog posts to learn what initiatives are transforming the workplace.

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Workpay is a HR and Payroll software company that offers time & attendance, payroll, human resource, leave, expenses and remote teams solutions to businesses across Africa.

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