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3 Effective Ways to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Whether your organization has been on the diversity and inclusion journey for a while, or your D&I plan is in its infancy, there is always something to learn and ways you can enhance your efforts. Improving your diversity, equity, and inclusion plan will ensure that you’re continually not only attracting untapped talent to your organization but also retaining them. Continue reading for tips your organization can adopt to make your DE&I program better, which will ultimately improve your overall workplace environment. 

What Is the Purpose of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion?

The purpose of diversity, equity, and inclusion is to bring people into your organization from different backgrounds—whether they are of different races, religions, socioeconomic statuses, or genders—and to retain them once they have been brought on board. A solid DE&I recruitment strategy can help organizations accomplish this. 

What Is the Difference Between Diversity and Inclusion? 

While it’s true that diversity and inclusion are inextricably linked, in order to be successful with your D&I goals, you have to understand the difference between the two. Diversity describes the individual differences that employees may have—such as racial, religious, gender identity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, age, and cultural differences. On the other hand, inclusion refers to the practice of recognizing the worth of all individuals in an organization by creating an environment that makes them feel respected, valued, and supported.  

When you’re working on increasing diversity and inclusion in your company, think of diversity as the actions you take to get talent from different communities into your organization, and inclusion as the glue that connects them to your company and retains them for years to come. 

Why Is Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace Important? 

Diversity and inclusion are important in organizations because they benefit both employers and employees alike. The benefits for organizations include increased earnings and innovation, as well as the ability to attract the best talent. For employees, working in an environment that promotes D&I can make them happier, more creative, and more productive than working in a company that does not.

3 Actionable Ways to Improve Your Company D&I 

In order to improve D&I in your company, try the following three steps:

Start With Management

Effectively creating a diverse and inclusive workplace starts at the top, so it’s important for companies to tackle D&I on the managerial level first. This can begin by taking a good look at who is on the organization’s executive team to determine if it portrays the diversity recruiters are trying to achieve. By having executives who are members of the underserved communities you want to attract, candidates will feel more comfortable knowing they have representation in the company when they’re being considered for a position. Also, underrepresented leaders will understand the backgrounds and experiences of their counterparts being brought into the organization, so they can use their managerial influence to affect policies that impact underrepresented workers.

But promoting D&I on a management level doesn’t end with the leaders who are members of underrepresented groups. All managers in an organization should be educated about diversity and inclusion, and be trained on ways to further the company’s D&I goals. Also, all managers should be trained on the issues that can stand in the way of nurturing a diverse workplace, such as different kinds of unconscious bias. 

Change Recruiting Practices

According to The Wall Street Journal, about 80 percent of job openings are never advertised, and although that approach can help streamline the hiring process because companies get their talent from referrals of current employees, this can put a real damper on an organization’s D&I goals. In order to become more diverse, your organization should rethink the way it recruits new talent—such as going to the places where members of underserved communities look for opportunities, including professional organizations that cater to untapped populations, job boards dedicated to diversity, and college organizations designed for minority groups.

Create Mentorship Programs

Hiring historically overlooked workers is a great start toward meeting D&I goals, but organizations must ensure that the underserved talent they hire feels welcome when they do come into the company. Not only do mentoring programs give untapped workers the opportunity to learn new skills from someone in a managerial position, but they also help them connect with leaders in ways they may not have otherwise been able to—thus creating more opportunities to climb up the organizational ladder.

Also, employee resource groups, or ERGs, can help to promote diversity and inclusion because they allow workers from the same backgrounds—such as racial minorities, women, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQ community—to come together to support each other in the workplace, as well as express their concerns and influence positive changes in an organization.

Choosing Diversity and Inclusion Software

There are several types of software you can use to help you execute your diversity and inclusion recruitment plan. For example, recruiters can find tools to help them write job advertisements that are most likely to attract untapped groups, review resumes to eliminate bias, and search for talent from specific underrepresented groups.

Diversity and inclusion plans can get you to where you want to go with your recruitment goals, but there is always room for improvement. By revising your plan as needed, you can ensure that your efforts toward bringing in and retaining underrepresented talent are successful. 

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