Making the Workplace More Diverse and Inclusive

Joe Weinlick
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Not only is it important to create an inclusive workplace for ethical reasons, a diverse workforce also offers more opportunities for innovation and creativity than a workforce made up of people with similar backgrounds and thought processes. Unfortunately, a simple desire to be more welcoming isn't usually enough to increase diversity. Take a hard look at some of the systems in your company, and start making changes to increase diversity.

Review Your Hiring Process

If your hiring process isn't inclusive, it's going to be difficult to increase the diversity of your workforce. Do you advertise job openings in places with minority audiences? Are your interview areas free from barriers for those with disabilities? Include minorities in the teams that review applications and interview applicants. Remember, the wider your outreach, the more likely you are to find the best people for your organization and grow a diverse workforce.

Improve Your Diversity Training

A great diversity training program not only challenges prejudices against minorities, but it also teaches workers how to challenge discriminating words and actions. Incorporate role playing and discussion on how employees should intervene if they hear racist remarks or see someone devaluing a minority's contribution. Practice helps workers step up when they feel uncomfortable and stand up for those who are facing discriminatory behavior.

Practice Hands-On Management Techniques

A diverse workforce requires an open and welcoming atmosphere. If you're only checking in with your employees when annual review time comes around, they are unlikely to share their concerns about diversity, discrimination or any other issues. Spend time with your staff regularly. A great manager-employee relationship helps encourage workers to speak up when issues arise. Handling problems quickly and efficiently shows your staff that you care. This helps you better retain employees from a wide variety of backgrounds for a more diverse workforce moving into the future.

Offer Diverse Viewpoints

Show your commitment to diversity using diverse training materials and speakers. Integrating diversity into all facets of your business not only helps your diverse workforce feel comfortable, but it also offers fresh perspectives to every worker. Hearing about how others faced difficult situations helps everyone empathize with the difficulties minority workers face on the job. While you're at it, consider expanding your professional network. Broadening your outreach to connect with people who belong to different groups helps you become more aware of your privilege and more empathetic to those who are different from you.

An inclusive workplace offers an accessible environment, a welcoming culture and nondiscriminatory policies, leading to more minority hiring and better retention of a diverse workforce. Challenge your company to look closely at any areas that might be limiting its diversity. Can you think of a few more creative ways to enhance diversity in the workplace? Please share below.

Photo courtesy of Steve Juretson at


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