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How to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Work
To help your company improve on its efforts with diversity, equity, and inclusion, be proactive in these three areas.
Having a diverse workforce leverages knowledge and experiences from a broad cross section of people. But how do you change a homogenous culture to embracing and accepting diversity?
Create a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” policy
The first step to embracing this new focus is to include a “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion” policy in your handbook. Providing a formal, written policy incites greater acceptance due to the clear framework and constraints. If there happens to be a dispute, your written policy can be essential for a quick and clear resolution, as well as protection against potential legal claims.
Train your staff and lead from the top down
You should also implement training for both managers and staff members and review any workplace barriers that may indicate systemic issues. For example, are there any cultural barriers to your company’s dress code? Do staff members participate in social events after hours that might make employees feel uncomfortable? Are there any language barriers that might inhibit someone from expressing their opinions?
Be sure your managers have an open mind and value the importance of having different voices and viewpoints. Any inappropriate attitudes, snide remarks, or jokes overheard about diverse groups of people need to be stopped immediately and possibly disciplined, depending on the severity.
Host culture building activities
Providing culture building activities would also help promote diversity and inclusivity. Ideas might include:
Invite employees to voluntarily sign up to provide lunch or a side dish from their heritage. This could be a monthly or quarterly event, with the company electing whether to contribute towards the main course.
Employees pick a highlighted book of the month where club members read and discuss during lunch at the end of the month. Books can be picked with diverse themes in mind.
Community service project
Allow staff members to choose a quarterly service project where employees serve food to the homeless, help with a local charity event, or participate in some other program that helps them build camaraderie and serve others in the community.
Kick start a team meeting or company lunch with ice breaker questions like, “Which is your dominant eye?” or “If you had to teach a class of 12-year-olds, what would you teach?” or “What is your go-to breakfast when you’re in a rush?”
“Who am I?” game
Have everyone complete an informal survey with 5 little-known facts about them and take the first few minutes of a staff or department meeting to read the facts. See who can guess the mystery person.
As your team learns about others, they will naturally gain perspective and openness to diversity and inclusion.
For more ideas or to get a sample “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Policy” for your organization, please contact your certified HR consultant today. Not a current Stratus HR client? Book a free consultation and our team will reach out shortly. Be sure to request your free sample policy when our team contacts you!