Many organizations are increasing their awareness of the need for greater diversity and equality in the workplace and beyond. Leaders everywhere are redefining their approaches to inclusive spaces and seeking new ways of inviting valuable perspectives to their teams.
With increased diversity efforts can come enhanced growth opportunities — both for the organizations and for the individuals who work hard to initiate change. However, workplaces still have a long way to go. Creating equitable spaces is a process all leaders and employees should be prepared to work through each day of their professional and personal lives.
This guide suggests how to ensure equality in the workplace and cultivate an environment where everyone can thrive.
What Are Diversity, Equality, Equity and Inclusion?
Diversity, equality, equity and inclusion are each distinct, yet integral aspects of a positive and productive work environment. The first step to intentionally including all of them in your workplace is understanding what they mean individually and how they operate together.
Diversity is the variety of experiences, worldviews and values that people of different cultures, identities and backgrounds bring to a group. Differences can include:
- Gender identity.
- Sexual orientation.
- Socioeconomic status.
- Disability status.
- Geographic region.
Equality is treating all individuals and groups of people the same way and giving them all the same resources and opportunities. While achieving equality is a helpful step toward a fairer work environment, organizational leaders should actually aim for equity.
Equity acknowledges the different circumstances each person has and gives resources and opportunities to individuals based on their specific needs to reach an equal outcome. People with diverse identities and experiences may begin their professional journeys at different starting points due to various social and personal barriers, such as being part of a historically underrepresented group in the workplace. Creating a workplace where everyone can succeed includes being conscious of what you can do to help people thrive in ways that break down those barriers.
Inclusion is the act of creating an environment where all people and groups feel welcome, supported, respected and valued. Inclusion centers around cultivating positive spaces by embracing diversity and eliminating marginalizing words and actions.
What Companies Do to Promote Equality and Diversity in the Workplace
Many companies committed to promoting diversity, equality, equity and inclusion first define what these ideals look like in the context of their industry and specific workplace. These definitions become the foundation for a variety of practices, initiatives and policies.
Some effective, meaningful ways companies are increasing their equality and diversity initiatives include:
- Community talks: Guest speakers and employee discussions bring fresh perspectives to the table.
- Employee resource groups: Support groups for different identities foster community and promote well-being.
- Remote work opportunities: The ability to work from home is crucial to many peoples’ success and safety.
- Community service groups: Investigating and meeting real needs in the local community helps organizations use their resources for large-scale social change.
- Increased representation: Recruiting people of all identities for positions and leadership roles benefits all team members by creating a diverse environment.
- New company policies: Revisiting and revising policies lets organizations see where they have room to improve official rules and guidelines regarding issues like hiring processes and equitable pay.
- Accessible workspaces: Creating physical spaces where everyone can thrive leads to community growth and success.
- Inclusive customer relationships: Companies show their employees they’re truly committed to social change by making their products and services more beneficial and accessible to a wider range of people.
- Diversity teams: Diversity and inclusion initiatives are most effective when led by dedicated people who can set aside time in their workday to spend planning these objectives.
Rather than static goals to reach, diversity, equality, equity and inclusion are ever-evolving systems with constant room for improvement. Organizational leaders should strive to implement company-wide practices that reflect the variety of experiences and perspectives in their communities and the larger world.
How to Promote Equality and Diversity at Work
What can you do to promote equality and inclusion? Many of the above practices may be positive solutions for your workplace.
The first step you can take is understanding the need for diversity and inclusion measures in your organization. Take note of any teams that lack diversity, or any company policies that could benefit from revisions by people with a variety of underrepresented perspectives. Aim for initiatives that respect and include the people already in your company, as well as plans that will welcome future team members.
Talking about diversity and inclusion is just the beginning. In all your workplace’s equality and diversity plans, pair goals and conversations with actions. Follow through on promises of change, and make these actions a regular aspect of daily life at your company.
After any plans take place, reflect on the experiences. Create opportunities for employees to review what they’ve learned, implement new habits and make suggestions for future programs and policies. Meeting everyone’s needs for a safe, positive and equitable workplace starts with taking a step back from privilege to listen and learn.
What Is the Importance of Diversity Training in the Workplace?
The inclusive practices your organization implements should be the beginning of many lasting changes. Everyone in your organization, including yourself, should do the work to understand the importance of diverse, inclusive workplaces.
Including regular diversity training is a great way to open the door to employee-led conversations and actions. Tailor the learning objectives to your organization’s specific needs, and always be open to change and improvement.
Reasons why diversity training is important include:
- Employee education: The biggest goal of diversity training should be to increase social awareness and educate everyone at your organization about how to reject internalized biases and form meaningful, healthy relationships with coworkers.
- Safe spaces: Giving employees tools to combat prejudice and injustice within your workplace will contribute to a safer environment at work and throughout society as a whole.
- Positive environments: Diversity training also helps eliminate negative behaviors and beliefs, replacing them with practices that make employees feel valued and excited to come to work each day.
- Productivity and innovation: When you hire diverse groups of people and make space for their voices to be heard and appreciated, your employees will gain better ways to work together and achieve company goals.
Partner With Us
Intention and action are key when determining how to promote equality and diversity in the workplace. Let Technology Partners help you create your ideal work environment with innovative technology and leading-edge talent recruitment.
We’re one of the most trusted technical staffing firms in the Midwest. For over 20 years, we’ve provided organizations with a wide array of candidates to help boost company productivity and create motivated teams for all your needs.
Contact us today to see how we can help you build a diverse team and contribute to a positive, empowering work environment for all.