The importance of diversity and inclusion has diminished over the past year as organizations continue to address the various threats that can affect their operations. Due to the increasing number of employees working remotely, the workforce is more dispersed.
These changes can contribute to the development of unconscious biases in the workforce. They can also prevent employees from working together seamlessly. This can undermine efforts to promote inclusivity. Here are some ways you can foster inclusion in your business.
Creating Lasting Organizational Change
Following the recent events highlighting the need for action on social injustice and racial bias, organizations and institutions have been urged to do their part in addressing these issues. LinkedIn data shows that the number of companies discussing diversity started declining in June 2020.
This is an opportunity for businesses to step up their efforts and implement effective strategies to improve their operations.
Although it is crucial to hire from diverse backgrounds, it is also essential that organizations implement effective strategies and procedures to promote diversity. This can help them create an environment that is inclusive and harmonious. Aside from the hiring process, other initiatives, such as providing equal treatment and opportunity throughout the employee experience, are also important.
Identify Unconscious Bias
Identifying and addressing the various forms of discrimination and prejudice is a crucial step toward building a more inclusive and harmonious society. There are two types of bias: unconscious and conscious. The former is characterized by the feelings of prejudice hidden beneath the surface.
To effectively address the issue of unconscious bias, leaders should help their employees understand how it affects them. They should also encourage them to question and analyze their own biases.
It is also essential that employees keep a thought journal to reflect on their own biases. This can help them become more aware of their biases and prevent them from repeating them. Having a record of their own stereotyping can help them identify when they start stereotyping others.
Focus on Managing Bias
One of the most effective ways to manage and foster a more inclusive environment is by learning about and accepting cultural differences. This concept can help employees develop a deeper understanding of themselves and the people around them. This can be done through technology. According to Joelle Emerson in the Harvard Business Review, technology can help employees avoid becoming defensive about managing biases.
Pursue Pay Equity
In order to provide the best possible opportunity for their employees, managers should level the playing field. They can use analytics to identify pay gaps and other issues within their team. For instance, by analyzing the pay patterns in various departments, leaders can better understand the underlying issues. Through this method, managers can also identify areas where pay disparities are prevalent in their organization.
Create a Training Program
Through diversity training, employees can also learn about how cultural differences affect their work attitudes and interaction with one another. This can cover topics such as conflict resolution and communication styles. Optional diversity programs can be more effective than those that are mandated.
Companies should focus on creating training materials aligned with their diversity, inclusion, and equity initiatives to ensure that their programs are relevant to their specific employees. In addition to using their resources, leaders can also work with a consultant to develop customized programs for the entire organization.
One of the most critical factors that leaders should consider when creating a training program is ensuring that they are communicating the program’s goals. This can help keep the participants motivated and make them understand how the lessons are related to the company’s overall strategy.
Leaders should also be aware of and acknowledge various cultural and religious holidays to build a more inclusive environment. During a team call or meeting, ask the audience how they plan to celebrate the holiday. Employees can keep track of upcoming festivals through the company’s intranet.
Offer Employee Research Group
According to Rosanna Durruthi, in an article for the Wall Street Journal, using employee resource groups can help develop talent and allow managers to learn from them.
The goal of an employee resource group (ERG) is to build a culture of belonging and connection. Aside from creating a convenient meeting environment, employers can also make it easier for everyone to participate by providing different pay codes and other perks.
Getting senior leaders onboard is also essential. This can help align the ERG activities with the company’s goals and increase visibility. In addition, buy-in from the leaders can reinforce the organization’s commitment to improving the practices of inclusion, diversity, and equity.
Implementing effective DEI strategies can help build a more resilient and thriving business environment. Employees will be more engaged when they feel heard and connected.
People passionate about fighting against systemic discrimination and prejudice are more likely to gravitate toward companies committed to creating an inclusive and diverse environment. Organizations should regularly assess their current performance to ensure that their DEI programs are on track. They must also recognize that inclusion, diversity, or equity isn’t “nice-to-have” but a necessity.