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10 ways to deal with lack of diversity in the workplace

Diversity and inclusion and its benefits in the workplace

Several studies have proven that diversity in the workplace promotes creativity and innovation, improves recruitment and retention of top talent, increases productivity, creates a more inclusive environment and enhances customer service. In addition, having a diverse team better reflects the customers that companies serve, helps businesses remain competitive and ensures everyone is represented fairly.

In Australia, although there has been progress in increasing diversity within the workforce, it needs to pick up the pace in some areas. For example, according to a report published by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women continue to be underrepresented in leadership roles and earn less than men in virtually all sectors. “Australia’s gender pay gap is 22.8%, and men are twice as likely to be in the top earning bracket [while] women are 1.5 times more likely to be in the lowest,” the report says.

So how do we improve? Below are ten strategies your organisation can implement to help create a workplace with greater diversity and inclusion.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

  1. Develop a clear and comprehensive diversity and inclusion policy

    Your company should ensure you have a formalised diversity and inclusion policy, clearly outlining your commitment to gender diversity in the workplace, as well as cultural diversity and LGBTQ representation. This policy should include specific measures for how your organisation will foster diversity and why it is crucial, as well as a statement of non-discrimination.

  2. Review recruitment process

    Another essential step towards workplace diversity is reviewing your recruitment process to ensure you are getting the best talent from diverse backgrounds. This includes making sure that job advertisements use gender-neutral language and that there aren’t any unconscious biases in the assessment criteria or job requirements.

  3. Provide training and education

    It’s essential to provide ongoing training and education on why diversity in the workplace is important and how your team members can actively support it. These sessions should cover topics such as unconscious bias, cultural awareness, anti-harassment policies and others.

  4. Establish employee resource groups

    You can also set up internal employee resource groups (ERG) to help with recruitment and retention, foster inclusion and promote networking. ERGs should have an open membership system and be managed by senior leaders committed to the initiative.

  5. Promote from within

    Strive to create career pathways for historically underrepresented individuals by promoting from within where possible. This will not only boost morale among team members but also encourage loyalty among employees.

  6. Have diverse leadership

    Having a diverse group of leaders is vital in fostering a workplace culture of diversity and inclusion. Therefore, your company must actively recruit individuals from different backgrounds, genders and cultural identities and provide them with a platform to share their perspectives.

  7. Hold leadership accountable

    As the person in charge of ensuring there’s workplace diversity, you should see to it that your leaders are held accountable for creating an inclusive workplace. This could include setting specific and measurable goals, such as increasing the number of diverse employees in leadership roles or ensuring you have a diverse pool of applicants during recruitment drives.

  8. Regularly review and assess progress

    It’s essential to regularly review and assess how successful initiatives have been in achieving greater diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Use surveys, interviews and focus groups to collect feedback from team members on why some programs may be unsuccessful or why more needs to be done to enhance workplace diversity.

  9. Create a culture of inclusion

    Take steps to ensure that everyone within your organisation feels respected and included, regardless of their background or identity. This could consist of creating an inclusive working environment by removing any barriers to communication and collaboration, introducing flexible working policies and providing equal opportunities for career development.

  10. Partner with diverse organisations

    Partnering with diverse organisations can help you create more opportunities for people from underrepresented backgrounds and learn new ways of fostering inclusion in the workplace. For example, these partnerships could involve sponsoring events or initiatives run by these organisations, attending career fairs specifically targeting minority groups and participating in mentorship programs run by them.

Keep it going

Diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace should be an ongoing process with an emphasis not only on awareness and education but also on the action. You should strive to create an environment where everyone is respected and feels safe, valued, and included. Making these investments in diversity will lead to higher levels of innovation, creativity, productivity, job satisfaction, employee engagement, better customer relationships, and improved financial performance – ultimately leading to a more equitable society for all.

Need help getting started?

Take the first step towards creating a more inclusive and diverse workplace. Identify immediate areas for improvement and see the positive impact it can have on your team and organisation.

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