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Inclusion, Diversity and Equality

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

There is a real opportunity for employers to take positive steps to attract a more diverse workforce with brooder skills and perspectives by looking at its inclusive policies.

Highlighting sectors that have previously been perceived as male dominated industries could potentially have a negative impact on attracting real talent:

Looking at industry sectors culture can seem like a minefield especially knowing where the starting point is, however, small changes can have a huge effect on diversity and inclusion in your Company and on your workforce.

Here are 10 small changes to increase diversity and inclusion in your company.

Taking action is the only way to change anything!

1. Mix up Teams that would not normally work together to cross pollinate ideas. Give these teams tasks to resolve and rotate the team leader, giving everyone a platform to understand multiple viewpoints.

2. 7+3=10, so does 6+4, 2x5 and 9+1 – there are may ways to arrive at the same answer. Use Mind Mapping with your teams to allow everyone the same opportunity to show their thinking.

3. Use a Critical Success Tree showing all your departments and functions. This identifies everyone has a role in your success and it provides a dynamic influence on inclusion.

4. Make Inclusion and Diversity training and workshops available to all.

5. Teach Colleagues how they can hold someone accountable for their behaviour “if you are someone being left out”, say something.

6. Invite wider skills, set out meetings to include more diversity. Having the same people attending and participating in the same meetings will only ever give you the same responses.

7. Celebrate employees work and acknowledge how their work adds value to the team.

8. Awaken people, help them to achieve heir potential. Introduce policies that support succession planning, where employees are not restricted and can apply for more senior roles.

9. Look at achieving a balance of demographics when recruiting apprentices.

10. Periodic refreshers/catchup training for employees who have had career gaps for any reason to help them jump back onto the ladder and not get left behind.

A recent medium article (The top 5 Diversity Workplace Statistics) shows the benefits of diversity included:

1. Higher Revenue

2. More Innovation

3. Bette Decision Making

4. High rates of job acceptance when you make offers to qualified candidates

5. Better performance than competitors

Many senior managers have no problem embracing policies, initiatives and tools designed to increase levels of diversity among employees. A diverse workforce, however, is just the first step.

That’s because diversity in the workplace does not necessarily mean inclusivity in the workplace. Yes, making diversity a priority is important, but so is the next logical step:

“Creating a culture where people from all backgrounds feel included”.

Inclusivity is the key to actually maintaining (not just creating) diversity in the workplace.

1. Use the “Inclusive Workplace Model”

What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion in your workplace?

Consider the employee who’s a native Spanish speaker but doesn’t feel entirely comfortable to speak any language other than English in the workplace common areas. Or a breastfeeding mother just returning to work who has no space to express her milk. Or a Muslim employee who feels insecure about maintaining his daily prayer routine on Company grounds.

When you employees feel they have to hide or mask core parts of themselves at work because they feel unsure, unsafe or invisible, it can take a toll on motivation, engagement and (ultimately) employee retention ad turnover rates.

Diversity in the workplace statistics show that most Companies need to consider aspects of inclusivity as part of their efforts to create a workforce that reflects a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

2. Evaluate your management team – Do they portray Diversity and Inclusion?

How diverse is your management team?

The make up of your management team is a huge signifier of the rest of your workforce (not to mention your customers, partners and other stakeholders). The top management of a company speaks volumes about your culture.

Accordingly, it is essential to have diversity among top management.

Are men and women equally represented?

What about people from various cultural and religious backgrounds?

3. Acknowledge and honour multiple religious and cultural practices. Introduce a policy for honouring a variety of cultural and religious practices.

You can do this by focusing on holidays ad celebrations, designated refrigerator to keep kosher food items separate. Making workplace events nondenominational.

Again, when employees feel satisfied with and supported in their work environment, the Company benefits from higher retention.

4. Foster a Company Culture where every voice is welcome, heard and respected.

Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the Company and its people.

Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Companies must make sure employees feel included ad respected regardless of their:

· Age

· Gender

· Race

· Religion

· Sexual Orientation

· Physical Conditions

· Cultural Background

· Country of Origin

When it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, don’t play favourites, practice basic courtesy and pay special attention to how you can embrace non-discriminatory practice and policies. Employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom to expression without fear also empowers Companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

One great way to do this is to invest in a Workplace Communication Platform. By integrating all your communication channels into one platform, you will reach each employee on their preferred channel. You will truly help your workforce feel connected and included in larger Company initiatives and goals. Also, you will gain insights from unified analytics to understand how best to meet their needs and help them thrive.

Providing a personalized employee experience that is inclusive and allows all voices to be heard.

5. Open a dialogue about gender pay inequality.

Want a culture of inclusion built on trust and transparency?

Get ready to talk about gender and potential pay disparities and possibly reveal some of the Company’s data points around compensation.

Gender pay equity is a big point of contention at many Companies. Workforce trust and a sense of inclusion are built around a Company’s transparency in its policies and communication about these policies.

For Companies that have gender pay imbalance, it is important to open the communication channels so that employees can give their feelings and opinions. Additionally, present to them with clarity, the strategy the Company is or will be using to address the gap. That way, they will feel safe knowing that the Company is committed to taking action to bridge the gender pay gap.

It is crucial to avoid being defensive in presenting your Company’s data around such policies. If data is skewed for a variety of factors (such as maternity leave vs untaken paternity leave, for example), explain this to employees in a straightforward, clear way.

6. Welcome a multilingual workforce.

Imagine being part of a working environment where almost everyone regularly speaks a language not native to you?

If you want to truly support inclusion consider language barriers and preferences.

As a long-term approach, having a multilingual workforce may require training for employees to learn other languages. This might sound potentially expensive but think of it as an investment that yields returns in due time.

It is also a good idea to consider applicants’ language skills during the recruitment process. For example, with some qualifications it might make more sense to hire an individual who speaks more than one language.

7. Adopt diverse thinking.

When you make an effort to hire for diversity, you put your Company in a good position to think in culturally diverse way, but for diverse viewpoints to really stick, you must take into account inclusivity.

This is important because different people from different backgrounds and generations sometimes have vastly different perspective on all sort of issues, from what they choose to wear to work, to how they compose an email, to the kind of feedback the give on employee reviews, to what kind of ideas they pitch in meetings.

Embracing diverse thinking is useful in generating ideas and getting useful feedback while at the same time creating an environment where everyone feels relevant and part of a shared mission.

8. Build a Multigenerational Workforce.

Having a workforce, the recognises and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

9. Reflect everyone’s needs and preferences at everyday gatherings, when holding Company gatherings whether professional or social, take into consideration:

· Dietary needs

· Include alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks

· Parties, stay neutral – dress etc.

· Never reveal age of an employee on birthdays

· Some people are shy and may struggle in social situations – respect this

10. Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies, superficial policies and language are not acceptable, review and update regularly and ensure all employees are fully aware of changes.

Company leadership commitment and strengthening anti-discriminatory policies is critical. Every Company is different, so a tailored approach makes sense for success.

11. Make your business inclusive, establish gender friendly bathrooms and restrooms.

Set up dedicated nursing rooms for mothers – Door that locks, comfortable chair, covered windows and a separate fridge to store expressed milk.

12. Eliminate bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities. Research has highlighted that most hiring processes are both unfair and full of bias. Much of it is unconscious sexism, racism and ageism, if it unchecked can harm a business’s reputation.

“seeing is believing …. If we don’t see male nursery workers or female engineers, we don’t naturally associate women and men with these jobs, and we apply different standards”.

When hiring, promoting and evaluating job performance.

“Managers have to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures”.

Some strategies to combat bias include:

· Reviewing job descriptions so they are gender neutral and use words that strike a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs

· Create a blind system of reviewing resumes so you don’t see “demographic characteristics”

· Set diversity goals as an organisation, which will help you track your progress.

13. Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups.

Annual pulse survey is common among companies, but many neglects to segment that data according to gender, generation, ethnicity, geography and others.

14. Use independent groups to conduct focus groups.

Focus groups are a good way to collect qualitive data and gain deeper insights into employees. By using an outside facilitator, employees may be more comfortable speaking freely, and the outside company will maintain a neutral position.

15. Personalised one to one discussion.

The best way to identify individual concerns and learn about what they care about and what’s important to them is individual one-to-one meetings, in order for these discussions to be truly effective, managers must have an “open door” policy.

Employees need to feel comfortable in speaking their mind honestly and openly.

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