How to Foster a Spirit of Diversity and Inclusivity

In recent years, studies have shown that diversity is a key trend that is impacting the way organizations hire their staff.  Companies are finding it more important to invest meaningful efforts toward diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This diverse workforce includes a range of ages, ethnicities,religions, and diverse backgrounds. However, creating a culture where people feel respected and appreciated means more than just hiring people with different backgrounds.  It is also important for business to foster a sense of inclusion so the company can benefit from the ideas and skills of different employees.  Here are a few practical strategies for creating a work environment that is truly diverse and inclusive.

Be Aware of Unconscious Bias

Building awareness is the first step toward truly becoming inclusive. When you become aware of these unconscious biases you can make a conscious effort to fix such imbalances.  For example, pay attention to the types of clients you tend to reach out to.  Check the list of people that follow your business on social media.  Think about the employees that you typically go to for advice and feedback.  You maybe surprised by how much imbalance you find because typically we reach out to people that are most like ourselves. Make it a point to reach out to different people and try to include the opinions of a wide range of employees.

Offer Diversity Training

Diversity training is a great way to educate employees on the ways cultural differences can impact the way people work and interact at work.  In order for your workplace to truly foster diversity, employees need tools and training on howto move forward in a positive way. Training is a great way to make people more aware of their unconscious biases in a way that inspires change.

Acknowledge Holidays of All Cultures

One way to build a culture of inclusivity is to be aware and acknowledge a variety of religious and cultural holidays.  Be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings and understand that employees may have different needs that require more flexibility.  Also,encourage colleagues to get involved and find appropriate ways to celebrate different traditions. 

Mix Up Your Teams

As stated before, inclusivity means more than just hiring employees with different ethnic and religious backgrounds.  It also means valuing the ideas and creativity of different individuals. Create teams with a diverse cross-section of talent to enhance perspective and invite more innovative ideas.  Much can be gained by encouraging new ideas and new approaches so it is important to create a workplace where different perspectives are valued and embraced. 

Treat Everyone with Respect

It sounds simple enough but one of the best ways to promote diversity and inclusion is to lead by example and treat all employees with the same level of respect.  Be sensitive to the needs and boundaries of others and seek ways to improve cultural awareness.  Your workplace should feel warm and welcoming for all employees.