We live in an increasingly diverse world. Businesses that see this and work wholeheartedly and authentically to build workforces that reflect the wider community are better able to understand, empathize with and sell to diverse audiences. Here’s how to embrace diversity and inclusion – and position your organization to succeed on the local, national, and international scales.
Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter
Companies that embrace diversity and inclusion outpace their competitors across all dimensions. They take into account and value varying perspectives, needs, and experiences – making them able to identify blind spots and leverage their newly gained knowledge into new and better ways of doing things. Diverse companies also engender trust and loyalty among their teams, resulting in greater motivation, reduced turnover, and improved results.
But one key thing to remember when implementing your diversity and inclusion initiatives is that diversity is just the first step – inclusion is the end goal. You don’t just want people of different backgrounds, experiences, and identities together in the same room. You need to ensure that those individuals are given a voice and decision-making ability. When that happens, you have an inclusive workplace.
Breaking Down those Barriers
Diversity and inclusion should infuse all of your business practices – from hiring through to team creation to decisions such as where and how you work. Opportunities to incorporate inclusion throughout your business include:
- Hiring. An inclusive hiring process will give you access to more – and better-qualified – candidates. Rethink your requirements, look beyond your immediate networks, consider flexible working options, and streamline the hiring process as a way to increase the diversity of your pool of applicants.
- Team creation. Diverse teams are creative teams. Ensure teams are well-balanced and reflect different skill sets, experiences, and identities. Create processes that make it possible for historically marginalized people to speak up, be heard, and effect change.
- Leadership candidates. A critical part of building a diverse workforce is in the creation of your leadership teams. The more diverse your leadership, the more inclusive your workplace will become. Have a plan for identifying and elevating potential leaders – with real, actional pathways for stepping into leadership roles vs. fuzzy ones such as “mentorship”.
- Offering support. Are you truly offering equal opportunities to all? Sometimes this means raising up and offering support to candidates or team members who may not have access to networks, training, or resources. Think beyond “accommodations” and try to create the conditions for every team member to excel.
- How you work. Traditional workplaces can be inaccessible to many underrepresented groups by virtue of location, working hours, or physical inaccessibility. Being flexible in how, where, and when your team logs on is a huge win for inclusion – especially for working parents or people with disabilities. Having multiple workspaces spanning different geographical areas can help attract team members from less traditional backgrounds.
- Educating your team. Don’t assume that your team has a deep understanding of the nuances of representation, diversity, or inclusion – or that even if they do, they know how to transform that knowledge into action. Start discussions about inclusion, offer training, and keep sharing updates about your diversity goals. This will help communicate the value of inclusion and keep it top-of-mind among your employees.
Pave the Way to Inclusion with District
Flexibility is key to fostering a diverse, inclusive workforce. At District Offices, we offer flexible working that makes hybrid and remote approaches highly doable – and our multiple highly accessible, central workplaces make it easy for your team to work where and how they need. We can also assist with admin, tech support, and day-to-day accommodations, helping you commit to your inclusion efforts. For more information about how we can help you embrace diversity and move toward excellence, get in touch today!