How to Improve Diversity In the Workplace

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It’s widely thought that improving diversity and inclusion is a top priority for businesses in 2022. There was a time when “diversity in the workplace” wasn’t diverse at all. Before the 1930s, women were largely excluded from the workforce, and before the 1800s, many Black Canadians were indentured servants without equal rights or pay. The 1930s and 1800s may feel like the distant past, but we haven’t made the progress we should have in that time. There is still much work to be done to turn the modern workplace into an inclusive environment. 

The benefits of diversity in the workplace

Promoting diversity in the workplace is more than the moral responsibility of a company. It’s also essential for the growth and innovation of a business. Research has shown that the more diverse a company is, the more innovative and financially stable it is. 

There has been a lot of light shone on racial bias and the lack of diversity in many industries recently. Racism towards Asian Canadians during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ongoing discovery of unmarked graves of Indigenous Youth across Canada, and the Black Lives Matter movement are just a  few events that have put the topic of diversity front and centre. As companies look for ways to help fight back against racism, sexism, homophobia and more, one of the best things they can do is promote diversity and inclusion within their company like these most diverse companies (rather than developing a marketing campaign about how accepting they are). 

Here are some ways to improve diversity:

1. Rethink how you hire and train new staff.

Having a diversity hiring and training plan is one of the best ways to promote diversity. This kind of plan requires you to look at your diversity goals for the coming year to be proactive rather than reactive. When companies rely on reactivity to handle diversity, they often miss the mark or say/do something damaging. 

When a business has a clear plan for where its morals lie, reacting to these events is more manageable. Companies can avoid sending mixed messages or being rushed into making statements they later need to retract. As an example, recently, many employees of Disney walked out based on how the brand handled their reaction to the ‘don’t say gay’ bill. 

Within this plan, develop new ways to post positions that you’re hiring for. Part of recognizing cultural bias is understanding that different communities of people may have different job hunting methods. For example, by only posting positions on LinkedIn, you miss out on casting a wider net to secure new applicants. This plan will also help you avoid hiring based on the “diversity” factor. The one thing you do not want to do is hire someone BECAUSE they allow you to make the company look diverse. By looking at all applicants and hiring the best-qualified candidates, you will naturally have a diverse and inclusive team.

You should also develop a new training and onboarding system that includes all races, cultures, accessibility needs, gender expressions, and identities. 

2. Develop a Diversity Plan.

A diversity plan promotes engagement, relationship building, and respect at your company. This kind of plan means celebrating all holidays. Employees who celebrate Ramadan, Kwanza, or Haunika can share their culture and identity as well as those who celebrate holidays such as Christmas and Easter, which have traditionally been more prevalent in North American cultures. 

Part of a diversity plan also involves mixing up teams so that employees have the chance to engage with other views and opinions. This kind of diversity in workgroups is where the innovation comes from and creates an atmosphere of acceptance and open communication. 

It is crucial that any events dedicated to relationship building in a diverse group be voluntary, long enough to allow for social bonding, be recurring and consistent, and have a facilitator or common goal.

3. Additional training for your staff

Although diversity does lead to more opinions and ideas for solving problems, it has also been suggested that diverse groups can lead to conflict, interpersonal disagreements, communication difficulties, and increased absenteeism. Developing a solid sense of community and relationship is essential to avoid adverse outcomes. The other crucial aspect of creating a healthy, diverse group is education. 

Providing diversity and communication education is crucial for creating a healthy and inclusive work environment. Having a speaker come in once a year to talk about the benefits of diversity in the workplace will negatively impact. Instead, look for a speaker who can help you develop a cohesive inclusivity plan involving ongoing social bonding events and educational talks and facilitated events. 

If your team is looking for a speaker who can help you develop a diversity plan, focus on the psychological benefits, and empower your team to prioritize diversity in the workplace, I am here! I am passionate about creating diverse working environments because I believe there is power in celebrating all of the things that make us unique. I also believe that if we can create inclusive working environments, we help improve our mental health, the health of our communities, and the health of our children and workplaces of the future. Get in touch with me today to start planning your diversity initiatives for 2022.

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