There has been much conversation lately about diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Businesses across the country are wondering if they are hitting the mark.

On the surface, your organization may appear to be a great example of diversity and inclusion. Perhaps you notice employees of various ages, races, and genders working side by side. They seem to get along well enough and may even have lunch together at times. So you may feel confident that you can check off “yes” to both diversity and inclusion. 

But as with anything, there is always more than meets the eye. How can you know if all of your employees feel valued, heard, and respected? How can you know if you are doing everything possible to enable that reality and are developing the potential of each individual? 

The value of diversity and inclusion impacts not only each employee but the company as a whole. When people feel valued, they work harder and are more committed to the organization. Your business will most likely enjoy improved employee retention, more innovation, and higher profits.

This article will address how an organization can demonstrate that they truly value diversity and inclusion. Read on for some important indicators! Leaders will:

Recruit and hire diverse talent

The diversity of your organization begins with widespread recruiting efforts. It is important to take a close look at your current outreach activities. When businesses partner with diverse communities and professional associations they will naturally attract candidates through these networks. Consider reaching out to agencies, colleges, career centers and geographical areas that provide exposure to diverse populations. Targeted career fairs and diversity branding are also important when attracting a broader talent pool.

Promote pay equity

Managers need to provide fair opportunities for each employee. Organizations must analyze the data to identify which employees are underpaid for similar roles or responsibilities. This information can help identify patterns or trends where particular groups of employees (race, gender, etc.) are being underpaid within certain business areas.

Address unconscious bias

Leaders can help employees understand how others are affected by unconscious bias, and what actions reinforce biases. In many cases, people were raised believing certain stereotypes and never thought to question them or had any awareness that they were incorrect and hurtful.

Google is one example of a company that creatively addresses unconscious bias. They provided staff training aimed at “unbiasing” the workplace, and it sparked many productive internal conversations directed at making positive changes.

Develop a diversity training program

Diversity training is an integral part of creating a healthy and productive workplace. It helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how we work and interact with others on the job.

It can address anything from communication styles to self-identity to dealing with conflict. It is important to note that diversity training, while encouraged for all, tends to be more effective when it is optional rather than mandatory.

Partnering with a consultant can help mangers build customized training programs for the organization as a whole, as well as for specific functions or departments.

Create more diversity in senior roles

This can be accomplished by providing leadership development programs that are focused on improving D&I.  Diversity talent development expert Sherryl Dimitry states in her report that “simply having more women or minorities in these roles isn’t enough to make diversity stick – it’s more about whether diverse contributions and opinions will be valued, accepted and assimilated into the culture at large.”

Acknowledge holidays of all cultures

A great way to build awareness of diversity and encourage inclusivity is to be aware of the variety religious and cultural holidays. It is important for HR and other leaders to keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations and to be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, as well as providing flexibility with requests for time off.

Create diverse employee resource groups

It is essential to give everyone a voice and a chance to make an impact. Employee resource groups (ERGs) can be created to address workplace initiatives, and brainstorm more efficient ways to get things done. Often times staff have ground breaking ideas, but many voices go unheard. In addition, these groups encourage connection and belonging.

It is no surprise that diversity in teams positively impacts creativity and innovation. There is such rich value in experiences with multiple perspectives, which inspires new ways of thinking and different approaches to solving problems.

Invite ongoing feedback

It is critical to have a vehicle in place for employees to express their concerns and ideas. If that is lacking, morale can really take a hit. Organizations need to encourage staff feedback to get a better understanding of what is going on under the surface.

Distributing pulse surveys across the workforce will enable leaders to make smarter decisions and reduce or eliminate any patterns of discrimination or biases within the organization. Anonymous feedback can help build a case to take action on smaller, more immediate issues as well as inform long-term strategies.

Assess company policies

Employers need to be keenly aware of areas in the business where discrimination seems to exist. Company policies and interpersonal interactions play a key role in either solving or perpetuating problems. A primary reason why employees leave an organization is a result of poor interpersonal interactions.

It is important for leaders to determine whether policies enable or perpetuate discrimination in the workplace, such as racism or sexism, and make modifications to address these issues.

Support With Your D & I Efforts

Professional Diversity Network can help you transform your diversity efforts. Our expert compliance and auditing team will provide you with customized services to ensure you meet the OFCCP and EEO regulations. In addition, as the leader in diversity job distribution and reporting, we can connect you with a large, talented population of job seekers. Reach out today; we would love to partner with you.