There is so much out there about increasing diversity and fostering inclusion it’s hard to know where to start. There’s really no one way to go about this, but here are five things you could do to move toward a more inclusive workplace environment.
- Consider how you recruit and interview potential employees
Are you using the usual channels to recruit employees? If so, you may be missing out on some really good talent. Rethink your recruitment strategy and consider how you can expand your search.
Not sure how? Start by building cultural competence in interviewing skills — different people may not present themselves in interviews the way the mainstream workplace would expect. Different people have different ways of expressing themselves. For example:
- Cultural humility and the idea of selling oneself: some people may be reluctant to highlight success (considered bragging).
- Eye contact: the level of eye contact may be different when working across cultures. Too much may create an uncomfortable interview environment. Too little from the interviewee should not be considered a negative.
- Perspectives on leadership and hierarchy: power relationships and concepts like equality and hierarchy may be perceived quite differently across cultures. While a higher level of formality may be necessary in some interviews, a more relaxed environment may suit others.
- Pace of the interview: allow for different pacing in interviews. Not allowing enough time for replies or cutting interviewees off will decrease the opportunity for a successful interview.
Understanding different perspectives can be tricky at first – approach interviews with empathy and awareness. Educate yourself.
And if your company is hoping to hire from specific communities, be sure that the interviewer can pronounce the names of the communities.
2. Review your onboarding procedures.
Do they encourage integration, or are they designed to ensure inclusion?
How do you talk about policy?
How do present the workplace culture?
Have you considered the needs of diverse employees?
3. Review your policies and procedures
What perspective are they written from?
Who is most impacted by these policies?
4. Conduct an equity audit – take a look at your organizational practices
An equity audit is a measure of the level/presence of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. It investigates areas like governance, policy, human resources, operations, and workplace climate and aids with:
- revealing unfair practices, where some employees are privileged over others
- articulating gaps and opportunities
- providing a starting point to fostering inclusion in the workplace
- giving leadership a starting point for a strategy
- providing indicators that can be used to measure progress against
5. Think about who’s excluded in your inclusion
Which voices are the loudest?
Do your decisions reflect diversity?
Look at everything through the lens of have I created conditions where each individual “can contribute in their unique and meaningful way” (Florentine, 2019, p. 1).
For a workforce to truly reflect its demographics, support must come from the top. Decision makers need to create an environment that supports equitable participation of all people in the workplace. If you’ve changed your recruitment procedures, that’s great, but if you don’t also change how you retain employees, it’s not going to work.
Florentine, S. (2019, February 14). Diversity and inclusion: 8 best practices for changing your culture. CIO. Retrieved June 17, 2020 from https://www.cio.com/article/3262704/diversity-and-inclusion-8-best-practices-for-changing-your-culture.html