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How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion at Your Organization

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When a workplace is diverse and inclusive, the employees will be more creative, faster problem solvers, more innovative, and better at decision making. If you’re looking for ways to ramp up your diversity and inclusion efforts internally, keep reading for more ideas. This work should start at hiring and continue into all company practices. Here’s what you should know.

  1.   Start with your managers

Educating your managers on the benefits of diversity first is essential. Your managers will serve as a crucial touchpoint within the workplace as they communicate with both lower-level employees and executives. If your managers don’t recognize and prioritize diversity and inclusion, then it’ll be difficult to promote in your workplace. We recommend creating a specific training program for your managers to arm them with some resources. 

  1.   Offer implicit bias training for all employees

Implicit bias describes the attitudes and stereotypes we have toward people without our unconscious knowledge. Implicit bias training programs are designed to expose people to their automatic patterns of thinking and ultimately eliminate discriminatory behaviors. Because we can pick up these behaviors in our earliest days of socialization, many people in your workplace may not even realize they’re discriminating. Educate your employees and raise awareness about these attitudes and behaviors, then arm them with the tools to change those actions. Include a diversity calendar for employees and yourself can all remind one another of the importance of diversity and inclusion. 

  1.   Reflect, reflect, reflect

As a leader, change must start with you. If you’re making decisions about hiring, firing, promoting, make sure you know why you’re making them. Remember, everyone is susceptible to implicit bias. Reflecting on why you’re making decisions before you make them can allow you to promote diversity and inclusion where possible. 

For example, next time you’re preparing to hire, fire, or promote someone, ask yourself “Would I still be doing this if their social identities were different?” While this is an uncomfortable question on the surface, it helps you see if you’re making the right decision. You may find that the person in question has highly similar social identities without much evidence behind their work to back them up. By promoting them, you’d be guilty of affinity bias, and this promotion wouldn’t help to boost diversity and inclusion at your organization.

  1.   Create more inclusive work policies

One way to ensure your diversity and inclusion practices are up to par is by reviewing your company policies. Organizations often find that their policies are outdated, and they can be doing more to support their employees (particularly those who are underrepresented). Here are just some examples of how you can improve upon current policies: 

  •     Create job descriptions without gendered language 
  •     Allow employees to take off for religious holidays not observed by the company 
  •     Offer on-site childcare
  •     Offer non-gendered restrooms in your building 
  •     Offer the option of remote work or flexible hours 
  1.   Establish mentorship programs 

Mentorship can help you take diversity and inclusion beyond the hiring process. Establish a mentorship program and offer it to all employees with high potential as a way of helping them advance at the company. This program will help create a network for new employees and facilitate professional development. 

Final thoughts 

Diversity and inclusion are essential to creating a thriving business. When you prioritize both, your business will benefit, and your employee engagement will skyrocket. Implement these 5 tips today!