February 17, 2021

Diversity and Inclusion: 6 Takeaways for 2021

We’ve known about the benefits of workplace diversity for years. Research shows that an inclusive workforce can boost productivity and employee satisfaction, not to mention the fact that the diverse backgrounds and skill sets encourage innovation and creativity.

But while diversity has been a major buzzword, many brands struggle to make it a reality within the walls of their companies. After all, how do you make diversity and inclusion into something your company lives and breathes, instead of just a one-time company workshop? Below are a few practices that can help you encourage long-term diversity within your team.

Evaluate Your Executive Team

If the makeup of your core leadership team isn’t diverse and inclusive, it can be a major indication of the kind of company culture you encourage. Ideally, you’ll have people of different genders, cultural and religious backgrounds, sexual orientations, ages, and races. Of course, it’s hard to change your leadership team on a dime, but even if you aren’t in a position to bring in more leaders, it’s worth making sure your executives are trained in the inclusive efforts below.

Honor Different Religious and Cultural Practices

From nondenominational holiday parties to separate spaces for halaal foods, it’s important to recognize and celebrate your employees’ backgrounds. Encourage your people to talk to you about initiatives that would enhance their work experience, and make efforts to implement new practices to honor their preferences.

Take Harassment Seriously

Discrimination and harassment can happen in any workplace, but it’s crucial that employees feel that their grievances will be taken seriously. Make sure you have a support system in place for employees who feel sidelined or harassed, and show that these behaviors will not be tolerated. 

Offer Opportunities for Equal Growth

If you want to make sure that your best talent stays within your company, you’ll need to offer fair and equal opportunities for growth and career advancement. This includes fair salaries and benefits packages to all employees, regardless of background. 

Educate Your Team

Diversity and inclusion can’t happen only from the top down; your employees play a vital role in ensuring that your company welcomes anyone who walks through your doors. Diversity training can help educate your team on the benefits and best practices of your diversity initiatives. You should also encourage collaboration to help your team get to know and empathize with everyone on your staff. Communicate the importance of managing bias at work, and encourage your team to identify and confront their own unconscious biases.

Reconsider Your Recruitment Tactics

Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce should happen from the beginning, even during the recruitment process. This even includes subtle details you might not expect: the language you use in your job postings and descriptions, for example, can affect the types of responses you get. One study found that words like “ambitious” and “dominate” can be less appealing for female candidates. In addition, you might want to reconsider hiring decisions based on arbitrary factors like a candidate’s school in favor of personality assessments, which the study above found can lead to more diverse teams.

Inclusion, equity, and diversity are more than just desirable qualities of a brand—they’re a necessity. Whether you want to boost creativity or improve your employee engagement, these tips for promoting inclusion in the workplace can help you create a positive company culture in the long-term. Consider pairing the strategies above with the right management style to really make a difference in your culture!

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