Diversity in the Workplace: A Quick-Start Guide

Business leaders are becoming more aware of the powerful impacts and opportunities of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, and corporate spending on diversity has skyrocketed in recent years. And yet, when we look at larger trends and statistics, these initiatives seem to have had little measurable impact on improving workplace diversity. How can managers, leaders, and business owners take concrete steps to actually build diverse and inclusive workplaces? The answer may not be as difficult as you think.

Diversity and Inclusion Goals for the Workplace

A diverse workplace is one made up of individuals from all different backgrounds and experiences. When building a more inclusive workplace, there are several diversity factors to consider. These might include:

  • Ethnicities and cultural backgrounds
  • Genders and gender expressions
  • Sexual orientations
  • Ages
  • Religious beliefs
  • Physical and mental health abilities and experiences

There are also inclusion factors to consider when building out a diverse workforce. These have more to do with how your organization is structured rather than the workforce’s makeup. These factors might include:

  • Diverse employees are represented at all levels of the company, including senior leadership
  • Diverse employees are part of all project teams and workgroups
  • Diverse employees have or share decision-making roles in hiring, spending, and other key functional areas

In other words, a workforce that is 40% women, but where all women are in support and administrative roles, is not truly a diverse or inclusive company.
When considering goals and metrics for a diverse and inclusive workforce, therefore, it is not just important to consider how many diverse employees a company has, but where those employees are placed within the organization.

Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Quick-Start Guide

While changing corporate culture is notoriously difficult, there are some simple and effective tools that business leaders can put into place to improve diversity and inclusion. Here is a quick guide to getting started:

Step 1: Diversity in Recruitment and Hiring

Diversity always begins in the hiring process. Here are some tips to help you recruit and hire more diverse candidates:

  • Check your language. Avoid the use of preferential language in your job listings. Some factors to consider:
    • Are you using gendered pronouns? Stick to “you” or “they” instead of “he” or “she”.
    • How are you describing open positions? Use your job posting to describe the job duties and necessary qualifications. Avoid describing the job candidate. Terms like “recent grad,” “code warrior,” “digital native,” or “supportive assistant” can all be interpreted to prefer specific types of candidates.
  • Share job postings in diverse places. Promote your job listings to more diverse candidates by posting them in a wider range of places. Consider posting your job listings in sites that specialize in diverse candidates like diversity.com, diverse interest groups like a local women-in-tech organization or a Hispanic news outlet, or request diverse referrals from existing employees.
  • Make representative hiring decisions. Incorporate diverse employees in every stage of the hiring process, from evaluating and interviewing to the final hiring decisions.

Step 2: Diversity Within the Organization

Hiring a more diverse team is a great place to start. However, building a truly inclusive workforce means effectively utilizing and elevating those employees once you have them. Here are some ways to build an inclusive workplace:

  • Create diverse teams and workgroups. Every team, project, and workgroup in the company should have a diverse mix of employees. Invest in cross-training and mentorship programs that support the ambitions of your employees and maximize their contribution.
  • Celebrate diversity and differences. Creating a diverse and inclusive culture means elevating and celebrating the differences between your employees. Be mindful of diverse holidays and customs, diverse scheduling and dietary needs, and different physical ability levels.
  • Measure and analyze. Unfortunately, many of our biases and assumptions are unconscious and difficult to externalize and evaluate. Implementing meaningful systems of measurement can make these factors visible, and therefore actionable.

Step 3: Invest in Diversity

Diversity and inclusion are ongoing processes. As organizations change and evolve, here are some ways to keep moving forward toward a more inclusive future:

  1. Employee feedback. From individual listening sessions to site-wide surveys and exit interviews, employees need to feel heard and recognized. Some feedback may be difficult to hear, but that makes it all the more valuable and important.
  2. Ongoing training. Most organizations can benefit from training programs to promote diversity and inclusion. These can be large group sessions where corporate culture and initiatives are discussed, to smaller leadership and mentorship programs where diversity and inclusion are prioritized.
  3. Consider a diversity certification program. Formal certification for organizations, leaders, and key functional areas like HR, can be a powerful way to invest in inclusion and shape corporate culture.

Diversio Can Help Promote Diversity in the Workplace

Diversio provides business leaders, investors, and professionals with the tools, training, and actionable steps to make diversity a reality. Our technology platform is designed to uncover unconscious bias, surface critical data, and metrics, and create concrete action plans. Our data and analytics tools provide insights, and then our training, implementation, and certification tools help you affect measurable change and minimize risk. For more information on how to build a diverse and inclusive workplace, download our free white paper here.

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Diversio DEI Expert
Diversio's DEI expert shares everything about diversity that you need to know.
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