Cultivating diversity and inclusion in the workplace doesn’t have to be a challenge. It starts with a simple shift of perspective. Take on the mindset of inclusion, throwing out any preconceived notions and subconscious stereotypes based on any of the following:
• Sexual orientation
• Religious affiliation
• Personality type
• Thinking style
To cultivate an environment of inclusion, start with the following:
1. Make it a priority
Start by making diversity a priority. In job descriptions, use gender neutral language rather than choosing a specific gender. Be sure to include a commitment to gender neutrality prior to your mission statement, on your website, job postings, etc.
2. Achievement based job descriptions
Here’s an interesting statistic to consider:
“Studies have found, men apply for a job when they meet only 60 percent of the qualifications, but women will only apply when they meet 100 percent of them.” Focus on what candidates will be expected to achieve rather than a comprehensive list of skills.
3. Adopt “Blind Screenings”
Don’t read the name on the resume first. Instead, go through the resume and review it with no assumption of the applicant’s gender or ethnic background. Often times, those with ethnic names, as well as female names, face discrimination when applying for jobs. Reading the name last will remove some of the ‘unconscious bias’s you may possess – the bias you don’t even realize you have.
4. Shift focus from ‘Culture Fit’ when hiring
Stop hiring candidates based on how well they integrate into your company culture. If you want a diverse workforce, you have to hire various types of people with different cultures, thoughts, and ideas.
5. Offer flexible work hours
Flexibility affords all employees healthier lives where they can succeed and grow in their careers.
6. Ask for your employees’ feedback & then LISTEN
Always promote free speaking. Encourage your employees to express if they feel discriminated against in any way. They should feel comfortable approaching you regarding these matters without fear of repercussions.
7. Train your managers
Key areas your managers should be trained in are cultural competence, generation diversity, and unconscious bias. It’s always a good idea to bring in diverse speakers for team seminars.
Building a workplace that celebrates diversity and inclusion is not only right, it’s good for business. Inclusion breeds innovation. Everyone must work together to identify bias, judgment, and discrimination. You’ve already taken the first step by reading this and showing that diversity and inclusion matter to you. Try implementing some of the strategies in your workplace today.