4 Expert Tips to Achieve Workplace Diversity and Inclusion

diversity in the workplace

A top priority for businesses nationwide during 2020 will undoubtedly be to build more diverse and inclusive environments within their workplaces. A diverse staff leads to greater innovation and stronger collaboration.

However, the task of creating a more diverse workplace may bring up questions that you’re not always sure how to answer. To help, we’ve put together 5 tips for how to incorporate diversity and inclusion best practices into your workplace:

1. Update job descriptions.

One key aspect to attracting diverse candidates to open positions is developing gender-neutral job descriptions. Having feminine- or masculine-coded wording in your job descriptions will limit your candidate pool, so it’s important to replace such language with gender-neutral terms. You can even use a gender decoder to find gender-specific words so you can replace them.

Additionally, instead of focusing your description on the qualifications required for the position, focus on the impact of the role. Put yourself in others’ shoes. What would they want in a job? How does this position help a wide range of candidate types succeed?

Focusing too much on qualifications can also limit your applicant pool. Research from Harvard Business Review, for example, shows that on average, men apply for jobs when they only meet 60% of the qualifications. However, most women only apply for jobs they feel 100% qualified for. This discrepancy can lead to men applying and receiving positions that potential female candidates would have been just as if not more qualified for but did not apply for. 

2. Offer flexible work schedules/arrangements.

You can attract a diverse range of candidates with flexible work arrangements, which are becoming more and more popular in the workplace. Many Millennial candidates, for example, prefer more flexible schedules, such as a 4-day work week or 1 remote day per week. By being stringent with the schedule you expect your staff to have—such as demanding a 9-to-5 daily work schedule—you lose appeal to almost an entire generation of workers (the largest generation in the workforce, in fact).

But it’s not just Millennials you’ll put off if you refuse to add some flexibility to your employees’ schedules—you also risk losing out on diverse candidates such as mothers with children at home, disabled candidates who may require remote work options, and more. To diversify your staff, it’s important to consider the unique needs of several different minority groups and tailor roles within your company accordingly.

3. Start an employee resource group (ERG).

One great way to increase diversity and inclusion within your business is to start an employee resource group (ERG). An ERG is a group recognized by their employer of staff members who share similar concerns of common gender, race, or sexual orientation.

Several businesses in recent years, for example, have seen the positive impact of having resource groups for LGBT employees or female employees. ERGs provide forums for support, learning, and open discussion, making them an invaluable tool for empowering groups that are underrepresented.

It’s a major asset for your business to have resources like ERGs to show your current staff and potential employees that you care for their well-being and wish to support them as individuals, not just as staff members of your organization. When your business is known for inclusive practices such as these, more diverse candidates will be attracted to open positions at your company.

4. Open up greater channels of communication/feedback.

One way to determine how represented your current staff feels and to gain additional ideas for inclusion in the workplace is to increase communication. Simply asking your staff to provide feedback about their current working conditions and their feelings about them could give you valuable insight into what needs to be changed or adapted to better fit the needs of wider groups of employees.

By encouraging your employees to be honest and by actually making changes based on employee suggestions, you increase representation amongst all staff members and make your workplace more inclusive of varying employee needs.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re hiring quality candidates is by partnering with a reliable screening service such as USAFact to conduct accurate identity checks on potential hires. By conducting background checks at the appropriate point in the hiring process, you can help ensure your new hires add to the positive culture you’re seeking within your workplace.

By adhering to these workplace diversity best practices, you can take the right steps to help grow your business into an inclusive work environment that empowers diverse groups of employees to create innovative solutions for your company.