Diversity is something we hear come up a lot when it comes to workplace culture and inclusion. It’s not only important, but crucial to acknowledge, encourage and support diversity in office and on your individual teams. But where do you start? This has to go beyond skin color and it has to go beyond meeting hiring quotas. As office managers and executives, you are in charge of fostering a culture that accepts and includes everyone and doesn’t shy away from hard conversations. We broke down some simple ways to get started. To discover ways you can support diversity in the workplace, read more here:
Offer Diversity Training to Your Team
It stands to reason that everyone on the executive and leadership teams should be required to go through diversity and inclusion training. However, you can go one step further by offering this to everyone in the company and even including it in your on-boarding process. Supporting diversity has to be everyone’s job or the culture won’t stick. Let your teams get involved in the process and educate themselves.
Acknowledge Holidays/Celebrations for all Cultures & Religions
This is very important. Make sure everyone in your company has the freedom to partake in their cultural and religious celebrations. If you only acknowledge the government holidays like Christmas and Easter, you aren’t allowing everyone to feel equally represented. Set measures in place to give people time off when they need it and work on being inclusive of every culture during the holiday seasons.
Make Sure Every Employee Has a Voice & Feels Heard
In your meetings, in your surveys and in individual job roles, make sure everyone has a voice. This should be regardless of race, gender, orientation and everything else. Listen to what your employees have to say and don’t skip over anyone. It’s important to make sure everyone feels represented and heard in the conversation. This will take away any speculation of bias or playing favorites.
Educate Yourself About Unconscious Bias
Unconscious biases are social stereotypes that are often unintentional but deeply ingrained. Educating not only yourself, but your entire leadership team about the unconscious biases that could exist in your office is crucial when it comes to supporting diversity. You can’t begin to understand someone else’s circumstances if you’re judging them from your limited worldview or lens.
Evaluate Your Executive Team
Your executive and leadership teams should be a representation of the values your company is trying to enforce. If diversity is one of those values (and we believe it should be), then your teams should reflect that. Take a look at who you’ve hired to make big decisions. Do they all come from similar backgrounds and worldviews? It might be time to rethink or add to those teams. Include people from different backgrounds with different opinions and perspectives. This will help everyone in the office feel more represented and build trust among employees.
Talk About Gender Pay Inequality & Work Towards Resolution
Discussing salary information with your employees/colleagues has long been a taboo topic. However, more and more that is becoming a thing of the past. If you want to truly support diversity and inclusion in the workplace, you can’t be afraid to have conversations about the gender pay gap. Talk with your employees and educate yourself to see if your company is contributing to the problem. If you are, have conversations about how you can work towards a resolution that is fair to everyone. This will build trust and show your employees you value them and want to meet their needs.
Make Workspaces Inclusive
Evaluate what the needs are in your particular office and make sure you have a workspace that is inclusive for everyone. This should include things like gender neutral restrooms, pumping rooms for nursing mothers, accessible bathrooms and workspaces in general and more. Make sure you are paying attention and meeting the needs of your people without them having to ask.
Segment Engagement Surveys by Minority Groups
When you send out your annual or bi-annual employee engagement surveys, make sure you include questions to help segment out minority groups in your office. This is a great way to identify and evaluate any issues that might exist and areas for improvement. It will give you a starting point for conversations about changes that need to be made to better support diversity in your office.
Engage in One-On-One Conversations with Employees
At the end of the day, the best way to assess your employees needs and support them is by chatting with them one on one. Work on cultivating relationships that allow everyone to feel safe and open to talk about areas that might need improvement. It will build trust and show your team that you care and have their best interests at heart. Intentionality will go a long way when it comes to supporting diversity.