Doing Diversity the Right Way

by Mike O'Neill

After numerous social and political changes in recent years, many of the world's top businesses are making a significant effort to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. However, many of these companies are floundering on genuinely creating an inclusive and diverse environment. 

Hiring more people of color won't fix systematic issues within your company. Putting on a training video about LGBT issues won't make your LGBT employees feel safe reporting a harasser. You have to ensure work culture, from the ground up, encouraging diversity through actual acts of inclusion. 

There are ways that you can ensure your workplace is doing diversity right. Keep reading to see our thoughts on things your business can do to create an actual diverse workplace, and of course, why it matters.

Why Does Diversity Matter?

Diversity in your workplace is one easy way you can keep customers and make a profit. Not only are your customers likely to return if they see a diverse environment, as diversity efforts become increasingly important to consumers, but also diversity will foster better and more profitable ideas.

When multiple voices are included at the table, you ensure your meetings don't become echo chambers. When more people from differing backgrounds are given a chance to share ideas, you can create products and services that are different and more competitive than those without diversity efforts.

However, the only way to get people to the table is by creating a work environment that includes and welcomes diverse voices. Luckily, there are some things you can do to ensure your workplace welcomes any and every person. 

Don't Punish Reporting

We assume that when there are racist, sexist, or homophobic things happening within our company's walls, our employees will report that behavior. If we encourage the reporting of instances, indeed, no cases will happen, right? 

Or, better yet, your workplace hasn't had a single report of workplace discrimination. This means you have a great and welcoming space, right? 

Well, not always. Half of all discrimination and harassment complaints lead to some sort of retaliation. Employees who make complaints are more likely to find career challenges in their future or experience worsening physical and mental health. Usually, for the complainant, remaining silent is a "better" move. 

This means that if you aren't getting reports, your workplace may be worse off than you thought. Focus on ways to make reporting instances of workplace harassment and discrimination as easy as possible for the victim without blaming them for the instance of aggression.

Find The Bias

Every person has some sort of internal biases they hold, even if they never act on them. Understanding how you, your employees, and even your technologies can work in biased ways is a critical first step in minimizing the bias. 

One thing you can do is to implement on-going training procedures to encourage your employees to recognize their bias consciously. Another thing you can and should do is create and clearly communicated policies about racial, gender-based, and sexuality-based discrimination. 

By being transparent and upfront about intolerance, while training your staff on recognizing their biases, you can create a welcoming environment where diversity is at the center of focus.

Be Accountable

Another thing you should do is be willing to be called out. The mass populace has begun taking to social media to call out brands for things that need to be changed, specifically regarding diversity efforts. 

The public does notice what you do and what you won't do. Ensuring that you respond to criticism with tact and poise will ensure your brand remains positive in social media consumers' eyes. 

This accountability shouldn't be giving an excuse for what you, your managers, or your company did. Instead, it should be focusing on how you recognize the inappropriateness of the actions and what steps you will take going forward.

Get Trained Today!

If you're looking for training to ensure your workers are prepared to take on actual inclusion challenges, look no further than Bench Builders. We provide countless training opportunities to ensure you and your managers are ready to take on diversity-related challenges. 

Not only can we help your company face the challenges that come along with keeping up with your industry, but we can also ensure your employees feel safe and secure in their work environment around your well-trained manager teams. We can help you work through your pain points and reach your workplace goals. 

Reach out to us today and see if we can help you find the best solution for you.
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