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May 12th, 2021 · 5 min read

Powerful ways to promote diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace

Written by: Izabelle Hundrev

The difference between diversity, equity and inclusion

Workplace diversity

Workplace equity

Workplace inclusion

Why diversity, equity and inclusion is important in the workplace

  • DEI helps to grow your talent pool. As discussed earlier, lack of diversity within an organization starts with poor recruitment practices. One survey found that 67 percent of job seekers today list diversity as an important factor in choosing a potential workplace. Companies with stellar DEI initiatives are able to build a positive employer brand reputation and get a major leg-up over the competition when it comes to attracting top talent.
  • DEI supports innovation and organizational acceleration. Great ideas happen when a diverse group of minds come together on a project or initiative. Inclusive, expansive company cultures facilitate innovation by encouraging input from a wide variety of perspectives. According to a study from BCG, organizations with diverse leadership enjoy profits up to 45 percent higher than those with more homogenous cultures.
  • DEI saves money. A lack of DEI can be costly. Between turnover and the price tag associated with mitigating instances of discrimination, the Center for American Progress states businesses pay 64 billion dollars annually as a result of workplace bias. Not only does DEI make your organization more profitable, but it can also save your bottom line from major expenses.

How to promote diversity in the workplace

  • Use diverse job boards. If you want to hire top talent that represents marginalized communities, you can start your search on job boards specifically designed to uplift underrepresented workers. These include sites such as Hire Autism, Recruit Disability and 70 Million Jobs, a job board for people with criminal records.
  • Ensure representation at every level. Diversity starts in the C-suite. Important DEI factors will be overlooked if your executives all look and sound the same, and it’s crucial that your organization’s top decision-makers represent a wide variety of perspectives. 
  • Address biased hiring and recruiting practices. Your hiring team should be given training on how to understand, recognize and avoid bias during the recruitment process. Even if a diverse pool of people are applying to your openings, discriminatory recruiting can undo your DEI efforts and uphold a homogenous workforce.

How to promote equity in the workplace

  • Have transparency around wages. Both individual contributors and management should have a concrete understanding of how salary ties to job performance and responsibility in order to avoid biased pay gaps. To take things a step further, consider including a wage range on job descriptions.
  • Implement a workforce education program. Systemic barriers make it difficult for people from underrepresented groups to attain degrees and other forms of education required for jobs by many employers. Offering educational benefits at your organization can provide employees with life-changing learning opportunities that help them grow with your business.
  • Make equity a job. Well-meaning companies can sometimes give their already exhausted marginalized employees even more work to do by going to them with questions around building equity. Consider creating an equity management position so that the burden doesn’t fall on your underrepresented employees.

How to promote inclusion in the workplace

  • Accommodate all holidays. Some of the most widely celebrated global holidays are barely acknowledged within American offices. And it can be alienating to see one religious tradition recognized while your own cultural beliefs are not accommodated. Support inclusion in your workspace by allowing flexible time off so your employees can observe the customs that are most important to them.
  • Be pronoun-friendly. It’s important to respect the identities of your employees. But it can also feel unsafe identifying as a trans or non-binary person in the workplace. You can help make your work culture inclusive of gender-variant employees by normalizing the sharing of preferred pronouns and avoiding binary language. Consider replacing “his/hers” with “theirs” in your internal communications, for example.
  • Support open communication. A major part of feeling included means knowing that your voice will be heard if you speak up. As an organizational leader, your inclusion efforts should be communicated openly and your employees should feel safe communicating concerns and feedback to management (even if it’s about management or the company.)

Concluding thoughts

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