EMPLOYERS/HR

WORKPLACE CULTURE: HOW LEADERS CAN ACHIEVE DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION

JUNE 28, 2022

An organization needs a culture of diversity and inclusion to thrive and progress. Culture is a significant part of its identity, fusing its values, beliefs, traditions, attitudes, and behaviors. Failing to recognize the essence of a workforce comprised of individuals with different races and sexual orientations, gender identities, and sexual characteristics (SOGIESC) will trap a business in an outdated system.  

While workplace culture is a common topic, it's often overlooked. Many organizations still mistakenly allow culture to form naturally instead of shaping it into what they want to achieve. It's easy to say that a business is diverse, inclusive, and friendly to the LGBTQIA+ community since it has employees from different backgrounds, genders, and identities. However, cultivating a culture of diversity and inclusion is more than that.   

Diversity and Inclusion: What It Feels Like  

Diversity and inclusion are commonly interchanged, but they have different meanings. A business can be diverse but not inclusive. For instance, if your organization consists of different genders, races, and sexual orientations, you have a diverse workplace. However, your organization isn't inclusive if these minorities can't hold any higher positions. A business may join Pride campaigns to show its diversity. Still, if LGBTQIA+ employees don't have career growth and no one from them has decision-making powers, it can't be called inclusive. Diversity is an organization's makeup, while inclusivity involves the perspectives, contributions, presence, and skills of different groups of employees that are highly valued and woven into the workplace. 

Read More: Why SOGIESC Discussions Matter in the Workplace 

The More Diverse and Inclusive, the Higher the Progress  

Employees of different races, ethnicities, and SOGIESC who feel valued and welcome are motivated to contribute, carry out initiatives, and stay with the company. According to statistics, companies that treat everyone equally have a 5.4 times higher retention rate as the employees like going to work and feeling fulfilled. They trust that they and their colleagues are valued and protected regardless of who and what they are. 

Positive reinforcement for their work and contribution inspires innovation and productivity among the employees, which eventually translates into higher revenues. Moreover, workplace culture reflects how employees deal with clients and customers. If they are happy with the company they're working with, they are more likely willing to serve their market. 

It All Starts from Leadership  

Cultivating a diverse and inclusive culture is rooted in effective leadership and management. Leaders must deeply understand people's differences and how to turn them into a source of strength instead of a cause of division. They should allow unconscious biases to surface to fix rather than burying them and refusing to acknowledge their presence. 

Many initiatives can help leaders and managers build a safe place for their staff and for themselves to be more open and understanding.  

  • Awareness Campaigns  

    SOGIESC discussions, sensitivity training, team-building exercises, courses, and workshops can educate leaders and employees about diversity and inclusion. Awareness of one's biases toward diverse and minority groups and their struggles over discrimination is the first step in opening individuals' minds and hearts. Forming an inclusion council where company executives are involved will give minority employees proper representation. 
  • Open and Safe Space  

    Positive work environments are born from open and productive discussions about important topics and issues. Leaders should provide employees with an open and safe space to express their thoughts, feelings, and experiences without worrying about what others might say or do. 
  • Workplace Diversity and Inclusion Rules  

    Policies and rules should be in place to protect individual rights, and leaders must ensure their strict implementation. Otherwise, ignoring equality issues and discrimination will create a toxic work environment where no one trusts anyone. 
  • Friendly HR Processes  

    The HR department's goal is to take care of employees' well-being and accommodate their needs. The department is vital in growing a productive talent pool. Given this, the hiring process should be free of biases. From the simple task of rewording job ads to being careful with the language used, HR heads should remove any obstacles stopping diverse talents from joining the company. 
  • Bonding and Celebrations 

    One's prejudices usually develop from past environments and cultures. To erase misconceptions and stereotyping, employees should spend time together outside work. Celebratory events such as potlucks and get-togethers give employees a chance to know each other beyond their SOGIESC. Celebrating diversity will inspire staff to embrace their personalities, characteristics, and uniqueness.  

Employees are the backbone of a company. They need a flexible and adaptable room to move and grow, and the company's responsibility is to create an environment where they can be who they are and want to become – that is the overall picture of workplace diversity and inclusion. 

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JUNE 28, 2022