People in today’s society hold a great deal of bias, often without even realizing it. These biases and learned behaviors are so much a part of our system that it has become as natural as the air we breathe. We are quick to make judgments and assumptions about others based on their gender, race, religion, age, physical ability, and sexual orientation, often unaware that this is taking place. It is so automatic, that people forget to stop and ask: Am I right to feel this way about someone I hardly know?
We spend approximately two-thirds of our waking hours over the course of our lives at work. For most, that means more time spent with coworkers than with family members. The people you work with, how you interact with them, and the culture of your work environment has a profound impact on how you view inclusion and diversity in not only your work life, but your personal life as well.
Promoting diversity in the workplace is not only a matter of fairness. It is a necessary requirement in order to build a company that has a reputation of being a socially responsible enterprise. Diversity in the workplace requires every employee to accept and treat each other with respect as equals, regardless of their background. Diversity in the workforce opens the door to new ideas, approaches, and perspectives. It improves organizational culture while increasing innovation. Creating a truly diverse workplace can be challenging, however, and requires the continuing commitment and effort of every single person within the organization.
How do you encourage a diverse company culture?
There’s a lot more to building diversity in the workplace than simply hiring employees from a different range of backgrounds. It will take a lot of effort and commitment from every team member, but it is certainly well worth the effort involved.
How business owners and management communicates and reinforces the importance of a diverse company culture plays a pivotal role in building an inclusive work environment. Effective internal communications that promote diversity by giving a voice to employees of all backgrounds creates a greater sense of belonging for everyone.
Here are 10 techniques for promoting diversity within your organization.
1. Onboarding communications about diversity must be consistent.
Managing diversity in the workplace begins when new hires come on board. A consistent onboarding process must be adopted across every aspect of your company. Leaving it up to individual team members or managers can result in information that is not always clearly communicated to new hires, and the information they need to understand the vision, mission, and goals of a diverse work culture can be overlooked. New recruits need to be made aware of the process you have embedded within the organization to ensure a work environment that is inclusive for everyone.
2. Management must commit to diversity in the workplace.
Challenges of diversity in the workplace can arise when only half of your managers value and support it. Consistency is key when it comes to encouraging diversity in the workplace. Every level of management must be on board with promoting the ideals of diversity where it is appropriate. Key messages can be developed for managers to communicate with their teams face-to-face or in writing. These topics can be discussed during team meetings to ensure the importance of inclusion remains front of center for every team within the organization.
3. Host organizational events that celebrate different cultures and backgrounds.
There are so many types of events that can be held for employees, both during and after work hours. This can be anything from observing different religious holidays, catering multicultural cuisine for lunches, acknowledging International Women’s Day or Black History month, or celebrating Pride. Incorporating material that explains why these observations are important is a great way to open employees up to a world that is exciting and different from their own.
4. Appoint employee ambassadors from diverse backgrounds.
Having team members of different backgrounds be the face of inclusion within your organization can help mentor other employees about the importance of diversity in the workplace that you want to promote. Using media like posters or employee newsletters, profile employees of various cultures and backgrounds to talk about the contributions they make to the company and to society as a whole.
5. Share success stories.
Is the diversity within your workforce making a positive impact on your company and its clients? These success stories should not only be shared with the outside world – they need to be shared internally as well. Your employees are your most important audience afterall, and sharing these success stories works to further promote the internal message that you value and celebrate inclusion in your organization.
6. Digital displays.
All that you need to promote the importance of diversity in the workplace are digital signage screens. Displaying different messages and images on these colorful moving “billboards” throughout your business will easily catch the eye of your employees when placed in areas where they are most likely to be seen. This can be the break area, meeting rooms, waiting rooms, etc. These digital displays can be used to convey any message you like to your employees and clients, including the importance of diversity and inclusion. Displays can be professionally designed to match the overall branding of your organization.
7. Guest speakers.
Inviting guest speakers from outside of your organization gives your employees the opportunity to hear inspirational and motivational stories from people of different backgrounds. Hearing the experience of those who are different from them can help your employees adopt what they learn within your company. It’s much easier to support diversity within the organization when employees understand how discrimination affects others. Guest speakers can be notable people who raise awareness within your community or a spokesperson from a charity organization that works to raise awareness about cultural issues.
8. Conduct a workplace diversity quiz.
How much do your employees really understand about the importance and benefits of diversity in the workplace? The best way to find out is by quizzing them. If most of your employees truly don’t understand the issues, it’s probably time to change up your awareness campaigns to better communicate the importance of inclusion within the company.
If you find that most of your employees do understand, highlight this information in future campaigns. For example – “99% of AssessTEAM’s employees understand and value the importance of inclusion within our organization, and strive everyday to make our company a shining example of the importance of workplace diversity!”
9. Use your business’s social media channels to encourage discussion about diversity.
Regardless of the social platform you allow your employees to use to discuss ideas and topics, it should be encouraged to use these platforms as a way to continue conversations about inclusion and diversity within the organization.
10. Share positive messages about diversity on computer wallpaper and screensavers.
Your employees look at their computer screens everyday at work. Corporate wallpapers and screensavers are the perfect platform for passively reinforcing your messaging about workplace inclusion. They can be easily changed on a regular basis to promote ongoing diversity campaigns.
Every employee within your organization has the right to feel accepted and that they belong. Implementing these steps will help build a culture that not only promotes but also celebrates every individual regardless of gender, race, religion, age, physical ability, or sexual orientation.
AssessTEAM proudly supports workplace inclusion within our organization. We are a cloud-based employee performance management software development company, delivering job clarity to your employees that lead to improved productivity and better employee engagement. Get your free demo today!