Five Ways to Support Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Across the business landscape, companies and organizations in every industry — including financial services, tech, retail, education, and more — are changing the way they approach diversity and inclusion. But is it enough? According to a Glassdoor1 report, 57 percent of employees think their organization should be more active in promoting diversity and inclusion in their workplace. 

The advantages of a diverse and inclusive company culture are well documented. Several studies2 have shown that organizations which adopt and implement focused, equality-driven initiatives benefit from a few key outcomes, including: 

  • Improved employee performance and engagement
  • Elevated levels of creativity and innovation
  • Reductions in employee turnover rates
  • Increased growth and profits

Although the advantages are clear, the actual process of building a truly diverse and inclusive environment isn’t. Following are a few ways you can integrate or refine your firm’s approach to this increasingly important aspect of workplace culture.

1. Educate and Train Associates

The first step to any change is understanding. Help associates understand how cultural differences can impact the office by offering an educational training program. Many training programs are centered around key concepts like navigating different communication styles in the workplace and utilizing effective conflict resolution techniques. Supplement your training program with other educational efforts, including book clubs, lunch and learns, and workplace discussions focused on diversity and inclusion.

2. Develop a Culture of Equality and Belonging

Managers should focus on creating an inclusive environment that promotes the cultural shifts the organization is trying to make. It starts with building a culture where all employees feel comfortable being themselves. This is accomplished by visibly embracing and committing to diversity using engaging educational campaigns and personal development activities. To ensure that progress is being made, organizations can use anonymous internal surveys to monitor perceptions of belonging in the workplace.

3. Set Detailed Goals and Benchmarks

Establish a group of detailed, realistic goals to pursue throughout the year, and hold all parties accountable to them. Increasing the representation of diverse talent in the workplace is a common goal held by many companies around the world, and is a key driver of inclusion. Try to make your goals data-driven so you can track your firm’s progress towards each benchmark and celebrate key milestones over time. To get started, take time to study companies that have successfully implemented effective diversity and inclusion practices.

4. Measure and Track Progress

Just as you monitor the progress of a client’s portfolio, find ways to track the progress of your diversity and inclusion initiatives. Constantly knowing where you stand in relation to your targeted goals is essential and will help you hold all stakeholders accountable. Many leading companies use Key Performance Indicators (KPI) to measure progress and make adjustments when required. Don’t adopt a plan blindly — have a plan and measure it. 

5. Equality Starts at The Top

While the previously described practices will help create a more inclusive culture, it’s not enough for firms to simply establish diversity and inclusion procedures and turn the other way. For maximum cooperation throughout the entire organization, the bold actions required to establish a diverse and inclusive environment should be embraced and promoted by executive leaders and upper-level management. A study conducted by Quantum Workplace found that 26 percent3 of employees either think their managers are opposed, unaware, or undecided about diversity and inclusion. Leaders set the tone and expectations for the firm in a diverse and inclusive environment.

 

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1 GlassDoor Team. (2021). What job seekers really think about your diversity and inclusion stat. GlassDoor. Retrieved from https://www.glassdoor.com/employers/blog/diversity/

2 Dixon-Fyle, S., Dolan, K., Hunt, V., & Prince, S. (2020). Diversity wins: How inclusion matters. McKinsey & Company. Retrieved from https://www.mckinsey.com/featured-insights/diversity-and-inclusion/diversity-wins-how-inclusion-matters 

3 Brown, A. (2021). 15 diversity and inclusion best practices for bridging the D&I gap. Quantum Workplace. Retrieved from https://www.quantumworkplace.com/future-of-work/diversity-and-inclusion-best-practices

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