How Can Businesses Maintain An Inclusive Workforce? Internet research has shown that diverse and inclusive teams have 87% more chance of making better decisions than individuals. This is due to reduced bias and bringing new perspectives to the workforce. Encouraging inclusivity in the workplace creates a culture where everyone feels appreciated, which leads to better productivity and less turnover of staff. Providing diversity training to new colleagues starting in your organization is great, but how do you sustain an inclusive workforce over time?
Avoid Being Reactive
Providing one-off training for new staff is not enough to maintain a diverse and inclusive workforce. This must be ongoing and regular. Providing training to those who have perhaps caused offense to other staff is reactive but may be prevented by providing ongoing training and awareness. Although individuals have some responsibility to be aware of diversity and inclusion policies, the workplace can help promote this culture by setting standards. Company managers or the diversity team can look for seminars or presentations given by a diverse range of speakers and encourage people to go along. Companies can also make colleagues aware of dates in the calendar such as Mental Health Awareness Week or World Autism Awareness day and perhaps have someone come to discuss these with staff.
Create a Working Group
All workplaces should have a team to focus on diversity and inclusion initiatives rather than just one individual, particularly in larger organizations. However, in order to identify areas of concern, a working group can also be created. This can be voluntary for colleagues who want to be involved and it can provide the diversity and inclusion team with valuable feedback on areas that the team feel should be addressed. The key to inclusion is to treat everyone as an individual and never make assumptions as to what people need. A group that feeds back ideas from everyone in the company can help to maintain inclusivity and make people feel that they are being listened to. By creating this diverse group, you will be challenging others to overcome old ways of thinking and allowing them to bring the results from discussions to the wider workforce.
Are your equality and diversity forms in line with social change? Do you have a diverse team handling diversity and inclusion issues? There should be a regular review of your documentation and your workplace diversity policies to ensure they are moving with the times. For example, new start entry forms may still only ask for ‘male’ or ‘female’ genders without including ‘non-binary’ as an option. A team that reviews these quarterly will keep on top of these changes and will avoid any dipping in standards. A survey has shown that 50% of employees want their workplace to do more to increase diversity therefore ongoing reviews will ensure that this standard is achieved.
Diversity and inclusion in the workplace is an ongoing process and companies should be careful not to lapse in this area. Companies which create an open environment where this can be discussed will be able to maintain an inclusive workforce as well as a more productive and happier one.