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How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Discover how to promote diversity and Inclusion in a workplace and boost employee engagement whilst giving your company a competitive edge.

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Clélie Protopapas image

Written by Clélie Protopapas

20 Jul, 2022  –  7 min read

As humans, we are all shaped by our unique, complex and varied life experiences. It forms our perspectives, opinions, ideas and ultimately who we are. Most businesses know that by embracing this human diversity and including everyone from frontline workers to senior leaders, they can tap into a well of incredible skills, talent, and insights to benefit the company and its people.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion in the workplace are many. As well as being great for employees - helping people feel safe and heard, and making work a generally nicer place to be - it’s also great for productivity and your bottom line:

  • A recent Boston Consulting Group study outlined that companies with above-average diversity in their management teams showed 19% higher revenue. 
  • Research conducted by Harvard Business Review revealed that highly diverse companies were 70% more likely to capture new markets.
  • Statistics compiled by What To Become showed that companies with a gender-equal workforce produced up to 41% higher revenue. Those with high racial diversity saw 15 times more revenue and sales.

Many businesses have upped their diversity and inclusion efforts in recent years. Still, with the move to more remote and hybrid working, our increasingly dispersed workforces bring new diversity and inclusion challenges and opportunities.

Teams, now no longer in the same physical space, can easily become distanced from each other, and employees’ voices and opinions are lost behind screens. Diversity and inclusion initiatives that might have worked in a face-to-face workplace don’t necessarily translate to a new virtual environment. So, as we move to a more dispersed working world, it might be time to revisit your diversity and inclusion initiatives and make sure they’re hitting the right mark.

10 ways to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

Here are ten proven examples of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

1. Educate and empower your managers

Our relationship with our manager plays a huge role in how happy we feel at work. Employees who feel respected and included by their boss and peers feel valued, motivated, and want to stay. It’s critical that your managers have the understanding and are empowered to manage and hire diverse staff.

Schedule essential management training for unconscious bias, diversity, and inclusion. Make sure there are feedback channels between team members and managers, and that honest and constructive feedback is encouraged. It’s important to remember that we can all get things wrong sometimes. Open communication allows managers and employees to continually learn from each other and grow together.

2. Foster a welcome and respectful company culture

An inclusive environment is one where workers feel welcome, safe to be themselves, and that their opinions are valued and respected. Lead from the top by being an open and honest communicator and encourage contributions from everyone - from all backgrounds and levels of seniority, remote and on-site workers alike. Use video conferencing and technology to be as inclusive as possible; encourage contributions via Teams, Yammer, or even a Seenit User-Generated Video (UGV) as a more personal and interactive way to engage.

By leading by example, you’ll demonstrate how to be inclusive, show staff that they can be honest and vulnerable, and foster a positive workplace culture of respect and tolerance within your team.

3. Strengthen workplace and anti-discriminatory policies

Workplace policies guide your company’s working practices and how your employees behave. Most organisations have numerous policies covering common topics like recruitment, grievances and holidays. Consider thoroughly reviewing your policies and creating new or amending current policies to facilitate greater diversity and inclusion. For example, could your holiday policy be broadened to be more inclusive of other religious holidays?

An anti-discriminatory policy is essential for most modern companies. An effective anti-discriminatory policy should be clear about the company’s commitment to equal opportunities and diversity, what discrimination means, and what happens if an employee discriminates. Ensure your management team takes your policy seriously and properly enforces it.

4. Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups

Employee engagement surveys are a useful way of gathering feedback, but surveys often focus on high-level totals and neglect to segment the data. What this means is that we often overlook the views and voices of smaller minority groups.

Segmented surveys allow you to look deeper into the results and understand if there’s discontent or lack of engagement among certain groups. Follow-up surveys or minority focus groups are great ways to delve even deeper into specific issues and what may be causing frustrations or unhappiness.

As with any employee feedback initiative, always consider the tools and channels available to you. Can you use Yammer to engage minority staff in a discussion, or invite honest views from employees through Seenit UGVs? Be as inclusive, open, and encouraging of dialogue as you can.

Learn more on using Seenit User-Generated Videos to improve diversity and inclusion.

5. Embed inclusion and diversity into your induction process

Demonstrating and encouraging a diverse and inclusive workplace from the outset is crucial to setting new hires on the right path. Make sure employees are aware of workplace policies and that equality, diversity, and inclusion training forms part of their induction.

As a leader, make sure you get to know your staff – do they follow religious holidays that aren’t captured in your holiday policy, need a quiet space to pray, or have caring responsibilities that require more flexible working? Showing your company respects diversity and actively includes all individuals encourages new team members to live those same values.

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6. Host inclusivity training and events

Most of us like to think we’re friendly, open, and inclusive people, but we don’t all have the same lived experiences, and we often don’t see or realise small ways in which we might exclude others. It’s vital that you educate everyone in your workforce on how to be more inclusive.

Host inclusivity workshops and invite specialists and guest speakers to chat with your team about different inclusivity themes. Make sure the events you organise are inclusive, can those attending in-person physically get involved - are you catering for employees with access issues, for example? Are you taking advantage of video conferencing facilities to include remote staff?

Make inclusivity an embedded part of your annual training and events calendar, and tie events to relevant annual moments e.g., Pride or Black History Month. Inviting employees to share their personal stories is a great way to engage teams.. Amazon’s BLK Men in Tech video is a brilliant example of using Seenit UGV to share personal experiences.

7. Consistently measure and improve inclusion

Before starting any new diversity and inclusion initiatives, it’s vital to baseline data and make sure you gather as much feedback as possible through lots of different channels. The more unfiltered, honest, and diverse views you receive, the more you can get to the heart of the issues and more effectively target areas for improvement.

Virtual Q&A sessions also work well, especially in the Seenit Ask Me Anything format that encourages more open dialogue.

By baselining and gathering as much feedback as possible you can take stock of where you are, make targeted interventions, and continuously measure and refine your strategy.

8. Give every person a voice

It’s easy to focus on the loudest person, but you risk alienating a large proportion of your workforce and missing valuable ideas. Make sure that you give everyone a voice and an opportunity to contribute.

Whether it’s a creative brainstorming session, a staff survey, or a team meeting, make sure to include diverse voices by using various channels. Enabling chat functions, encouraging Seenit employee-generated videos, and setting-up messenger forums are all creative and interactive ways to engage and include every voice.

9. Highlight multiple religious and cultural celebrations and events

We live in a diverse society, so it makes sense to celebrate and host religious and cultural events that reflect that. To foster better inclusion and diversity in the workplace why not create an “Inclusion Calendar” reflecting your workforce’s diverse religious or cultural celebrations?

Get your team excited about making mooncakes for Chinese New Year or ask employees to share their own personal Diwali traditions. Not only do events help everyone feel included, but they’re also great for regular team bonding.

10. Form a Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Committee

A D&I Committee is a great idea to help improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace. It provides a place to review workplace culture and company policies, acts as an advisory body to decision-makers, and keeps the company accountable.

If you’re thinking about setting up a committee, make sure it is itself diverse and inclusive with representative membership. Crucially, if you want it to be a success, make sure you have senior support to properly fund, resource and empower your committee.

Diversity and inclusion are important pillars of building an ethical business model that supports its staff. By considering these ten steps to promoting diversity and inclusion, you’re well on your way to creating a framework that works for you and your employees. Leverage Seenit employee-generated videos to bring diversity & inclusion efforts to life.

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