5 Ways to Support Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

by Kara Deyermenjian - June 11, 2018
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Now more than ever, employees tend to have the upper hand when job hunting and employers find themselves going head-to-head with other noble competitors to attract and retain top talent. Organizations that foster diversity and inclusion in the workplace have a significant edge compared to companies that haven’t made strides in this arena, and doing so is a good way to ensure engaged, productive, and happy employees.

Here are five ways you can show employees your organization is serious about creating an environment where all staff members feel valued:

1) Make LGTBQ Employees Feel Welcome and Respected

Using gender-neutral language in company communications and official documents is a good way to take a subtle step towards a friendly workplace environment for all members of your staff. “They” is a preferred gender-neutral pronoun to consider. Additionally, having a gender-neutral restroom available is a way to send a message that your company cares about fostering an inclusive environment.

What’s been going on with LGTBQ workplace protections?

Transgender workers can legally be fired in 30 states, and lesbian, gay, and bisexual workers can be fired in 28. The Justice Department filed court papers in 2017 arguing that a major federal civil rights law does not protect employees from discrimination based on sexual orientation, and although appeals courts have since ruled differently, the LGBTQ community is still particularly vulnerable to bias.

2) Document Your Organizations’ Commitment to Diversity Inclusion

Make your policies around diversity official by writing down and sharing what your company stands for so there's no misinformation spread among workers.

Who’s already doing this?

Kudos to the company LinkedIn. LinkedIn is one organization that does an outstanding job letting its employees, and potential employees, know exactly what its stance is when it comes to workplace diversity and inclusion.

3) Be Transparent

Publish a Gender Pay Gap Report so your employees aren’t left wondering if they’re being paid equitably. This cultivates a circle of trust between employers and employees.

What does the law have to say about this?

Companies in certain locations are required to publish a Gender Pay Gap Report. U.K. companies employing at least 250 people are legally required to disclose the pay gaps between hourly wages for male and female workers. Although the U.S. does not require this kind of report, many states and localities are taking steps toward closing the gender pay gap by enforcing salary history inquiry bans.  

4) Transform Some Space into a Nursing Room for New Mothers

New mothers have enough on their plate when they have a newborn, and it’s unsettling to return to work after maternity leave without having a dedicated place to pump. A special room that can only be booked for this specific purpose can mean a lot to new moms, and it shows your company values this subset of workers and is striving to make these employees’ transition back to the working world as smooth as possible.

What’s the deal with maternity leave?

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is a federal law that may provide a new mother with unpaid, job-protected time off from work for up to 12 weeks after giving birth. The FMLA can also be applicable in the case of other medical and family reasons.

5) Gather Feedback on Your Diversity Programs

Craft questions and conduct surveys around your company’s diversity initiatives and allow employees to respond anonymously. This is a good way to gauge whether your programs are effective when it comes to creating an environment that reflects a culture of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Opening the lines of communication with an open-door policy is also a recommended way to make sure employees feel comfortable sharing feedback. 

What questions are useful to ask in diversity inclusion surveys? 

There are many example diversity questionnaires available online to help you craft a survey that will get you the valuable feedback you need.

Download White Paper - The Power of Pay Equity

Download this paper to learn why when organizations make pay equity a priority, they enjoy 13% higher employee engagement and are 19% more likely to exceed industry average levels of productivity.

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