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Eight Important Ways To Promote Inclusion And Diversity In Your Workplace

By Forbes

Inclusion and diversity have certainly become buzzwords in recent years, but they are more than just a passing fad; They are vital elements to a business's success. A diverse, inclusive workforce leverages the knowledge and experiences of a broader cross section of society and helps bring the business closer to the people it serves.

However, not all leaders know the best way to promote inclusion and diversity in their businesses, and even some well-intentioned efforts could harm the business in the long run. Here, eight professionals from Young Entrepreneur Council discuss some of the more effective ways you can promote diversity and inclusion in your company and explain how these methods can help any business succeed.

1. Make It A Continuous Process

Diversity is not a promotional thing, but rather a continuous process that we exercised from the start. We never thought of diversity as something we needed for growth. It was something that we already had ingrained in our company culture. We make sure that there is a continuous process to ensure that we are inclusive and diverse because we would never have grown if we weren’t. Diversity ensures that we constantly change and create new dynamics with the team that will strengthen our company in the long run. - Maria Thimothy, OneIMS

2. Hire Leaders Who Understand The Importance Of These Values

To promote inclusivity and diversity at work, you need to have leaders who embody the same values. If you hire managers and leaders who couldn't care less about creating a safe space for everyone from all walks of life, then you can't expect to have a welcoming company culture. Diversity in the workplace is important and can't be ignored. It's crucial to invite different voices and viewpoints to your company to continue its growth in all directions. You form stronger connections with people you understand, and inviting people to be their most authentic selves at work will give you great results in other areas. People are able to work more productively and openly when they feel accepted in their environment. - Jared Atchison, WPForms

3. Always Keep An Open Mind

As someone who's written extensively about diversity and inclusion and believes strongly in these values, I believe the best thing you can do is maintain an open mind. Go into every meeting with new people free of expectations and assumptions. Listen to new perspectives from people from all walks of life. It will only give you a broader mind and worldview, which supercharges your decision-making. - Tyler Bray, TK Trailer Parts

4. Help Employees Feel Comfortable Expressing Themselves

It’s vital to create an environment where employees feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Companies should validate each and every person regardless of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual preferences or background. To effectively promote diversity, managers shouldn’t play favorites or have discriminatory practices and employees should feel safe to voice their concerns and opinions without the fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen, but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints. - Vikas Agrawal, Infobrandz

5. Invite Diversity Of Discussion

There's a difference between having a diverse work environment and simply tokenizing a few new hires. Your company culture needs to invite diversity of discussion and strive to make everyone feel welcome. This doesn't happen overnight by hiring more people of a particular group. Instead, look for networking opportunities with diverse businesses and expand your potential hiring pool. Look for seminars and presentations given by a more diverse range of speakers in order to inform your business decisions. If you're consistently engaging in the ongoing discussion, you'll find it easy to foster a work culture and team that's authentically diverse. - Bryce Welker, CPA Exam Guy

6. Have A Safe Space For People's Beliefs

You can promote inclusivity and diversity by having a safe space for people to practice their beliefs. Many companies have a separate prayer room designated specifically for employees to perform their prayers or meditations during the workday. It shows that your business cares about the people who work for it and that you want to create a safe space where people feel proud to work. It encourages employees to be themselves at work and feel proud of who they are, as well. - Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms

7. Create Flexible Mandatory Holidays

One small way that we foster inclusivity and respect in our organization is by creating flexible mandatory holidays. This means that there are a number of days that are allotted as company holidays, and people from different regions can set some of them on the days of their choosing. In this way, they can attend holidays and festivities that are important to them and they aren't compelled to take days off on holidays that are important in the U.S. but aren't in their own regions. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner

8. Hold Regular Culture Days

One of the ways to promote inclusion or cultural diversity in your workplace is to hold regular culture days. Let the members of different communities speak about their culture on this day. You can also let them suggest activities inspired by their culture and encourage others to participate in it. Be creative and make the cultural day fun and interactive. Make sure that everyone remains respectful and open-minded about what they get to learn on this day. This will help promote cultural diversity and people will feel more inclusive too. This will pave the path for a modern, culturally vibrant and more tolerant workplace. - Josh Kohlbach, Wholesale Suite


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