Can you confidently say you consider your workplace to be diverse and inclusive?
As HR leaders, it’s incredibly important that we identify how our organizations can focus on including all walks of life by creating a diverse workplace. Studies show that companies that embrace diversity and inclusion in all aspects of their business statistically outperform their competitors. Your organization needs to be diverse and inclusive to current employees and potential future employees. As the world becomes more globalized and connected, so does your organization.
Diversity within the workplace has been a long-term issue. Studies have found that 40% of employees leave a company after experiencing harassment, bullying or stereotyping due to their belonging to a minority group. Various minority groups have faced rampant discrimination in modern hiring practices. As an employer, it is your responsibility to ensure your workplace avoids these inappropriate practices.
What are the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace?
Several benefits come with focusing on diversity and inclusion! As mentioned before, diversity and inclusion result in statistical outperformance in all aspects. From a financial point of view, a McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on executive teams were 25 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the fourth quartile—up from 21 percent in 2017 and 15 percent in 2014.
In addition to financial benefits, a focus on diversity and inclusion has many positive benefits regarding employee engagement. In 2021, employees seek to work for companies that make these two issues a priority in their organization. Glassdoor recently found that 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities. In fact, more than 50% of current employees want their current workplace to do more to boost diversity and strengthen inclusion.
If we keep looking at the impact diversity and inclusion has on employee engagement, Fast Company recently found that organizations with above-average gender diversity and levels of employee engagement outperform companies with below-average diversity and engagement by 46% to 58%.
So not only is this an incredible benefit and a step towards making your workplace a place people actually want to work at, it inspires productivity. There’s really no fighting it – this is a win-win for everyone. It’s clear as day to see the impact these issues have within a company. Below, we’ll take a look at 5 diversity and inclusion policies you can implement today!
Policy #1 – Creating a Top-Level Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
Does your senior leadership keep diversity and inclusion in mind when hiring? Of course, it’s essential you hire the most qualified candidate for every role, but do your team members understand the importance of diverse and inclusive hiring practices?
Diverse and inclusive hiring places focus on assuring that workplaces do not have biases in sourcing, screening, and shortlisting candidates that may be ignoring, turning off, or accidentally discriminating against qualified, diverse candidates. Many different strategies can be taken to keep this in mind. Some include:
- Conducting an audit to see where current bottlenecks and friction are located
- Rewording and refocusing current hiring efforts to use more neutrally inclusive language
- Implement new unbiased candidate screening and shortlisting protocols
Our friends over at Ideal have written an excellent guide on diverse and inclusive hiring. By implementing a new top-level strategy, your organization will see instant diversity and inclusivity with new hires.
With these new policies created, have you stopped to think about how your employees can access and read your policies? AirMason is your employee handbook solution. Providing incredible handbooks focused on growing engagement, employee experience and onboarding all with just a couple of clicks. We’ve helped countless organizations highlight their diversity and inclusion policies in handbooks perfect for their organization, so why wait? Take the next step towards a more diverse and inclusive workplace fit for old and new employees today!
Policy #2 – Provide Diversity and Inclusion Training
For many people, it’s clear why diversity and inclusion are essential in both the workplace and everyday life. However, many organizations still would benefit heavily from training specifically designed to promote and address diversity and inclusion issues.
Diversity and Inclusion training is designed to target some of the most common issues in a workplace. Issues that include but are not limited to unconscious bias, microaggressions and cross-cultural communications. The purpose of training is to transition a company from a state where employees are tolerable of differences, to one where employees embrace differences when working together.
Diversity and inclusion training results in incredible benefits for workplaces. Harvard Business Review found that training results in improved acknowledgement of racial and gender bias increased the support for further creation of diverse and inclusive policies, and also increased minorities’ confidence and engagement within their organization.
Policy #3 – Honouring Religious and Cultural Practices
Modern societies have embraced the many religious and cultural differences that come with living in a diverse society. With that in mind, organizations need to understand and honour the many religious and cultural practices that come with this.
While many may point to their local laws and regulations regarding religious and cultural freedoms, employers should show their support and encouragement towards these practices regardless. This includes concepts such as freedom of expression to wear religious or cultural clothing, freedom to observe religious practices such as times for prayer, and other similar practices that come with hiring diverse employees.
Looking out for your employees and their beliefs and values is a crucial step in pushing for a diverse and inclusive workplace. Imagine if Christmas wasn’t a universally accepted holiday – it’s difficult to visualize right? That’s how employees whose beliefs and practices aren’t recognized or supported feel. Making employees feel seen and heard across the page may seem difficult – but they will respect you for it. A respected and well-liked employer achieves results.
Policy #4 – Strengthening Anti-Discrimination Policies
As mentioned in previous points, discrimination needs to be avoided and fully eliminated in a diverse and inclusive workplace. In an ideal situation, training and strategies promoting diversity and inclusion would result in a fully conflict-free workplace. However, the reality is that employers need to prepare for scenarios of discrimination by strengthening their anti-discrimination policies.
For many organizations, implementing a very cookie-cutter anti-discrimination policy often found online is common. One that very rarely relates directly to their employees in the first place. In reality, this alienates employees at risk of discrimination by feeling as though their company does not see this issue as a priority. This can even result in those employees not reporting cases of discrimination that happen in the workplace in fear of being ignored.
Promoting anti-discrimination in the workplace and making the punishments severe and known to your staff makes marginalized employees feel safe and looked after by their employers. Employees that feel supported by their company will invest more time actively searching for ways to boost their own productivity, resulting in an overall spike in employee engagement.
The solution for this is to strengthen your anti-discrimination policies by including more specifications. This resource from the Ontario Human Rights Commision is an excellent source regarding how to structure your anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies.
If you’re curious about how to start updating policies and keep your employees engaged, take a look at our recent blog highlighting the best policies and procedures to have in a small business. We’re experts when it comes to policy and creating handbooks that keep your employees engaged, how about learning how we can help you?
Policy #5 – Hiring an HR Leader Specialized in Diversity and Inclusion
While there are several policies and training that can be done to create a workplace that promotes diversity and inclusion, one of the best solutions for a large organization is hiring someone specialized in this exact issue! For many organizations that promote diversity and inclusion, hiring an executive specified to this position truly showcases the effort on tackling these issues and growing the company in the right direction.
In the past 5 years, the concept of diversity and inclusion has grown exponentially in size, requiring workplaces to address issues and focus on these aspects. LinkedIn does a fantastic deep-dive into the impact and changes that the job market has seen with the rise of diversity-focused HR roles. The trends and statistics they present in their article show that without a doubt – diversity HR leaders help grow companies to their max potential and are essential to large organizations.
The time is now to focus on your organization’s diversity and inclusion
These 5 tips are incredibly useful for you to consider and use to improve your company and promote a diverse workplace. It’s time to take a look at your current focus on diversity and inclusion and evaluate if what you’re doing is enough.