How to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: The Hive Guide

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Diverse and inclusive organisations are more innovative, more profitable, and more likely to be an employer of choice than their competition.

Promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace and you’ll find it a lot easier to get your team pulling in the same direction and firing on all cylinders.

In this short guide, we’ll give you all the tools you’ll need to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive company culture.

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

A truly diverse and inclusive workplace – one that does more than pay lip service to thinking inclusion-first – doesn’t rest on its laurels. It actively promotes diversity and inclusion every day.

Here’s how they do it:

1. Give every person a voice

Inclusive organisations listen – to everyone, no matter where they sit in the org chart.

They’re always open to hear ways they could be doing things better. And they’re eager to understand where they’re falling short so they can fix it.

They give every person a voice through employee surveys and an Open Door. And they make sure everyone feels included enough to be able to speak openly and honestly at work.

Until you’ve hit this point, your business isn’t inclusive – even if it’s completely diverse.

2. See it as a business strategy, not a HR initiative

Here’s the thing: 95% of UK organisations say they’re taking action to improve DE&I, but only 55% think their recruitment and selection practices are effective at helping their organisation to become more inclusive.

If your organisation views diversity and inclusion as nothing but a box-ticking exercise for the HR team to worry about, then you’re more than likely to fall into the 45% of businesses that feel like they’re going nowhere fast with their diversity efforts. You’re only going to scratch the surface of what an effective DE&I strategy could achieve.

The most effective businesses treat DE&I as a core part of their business strategy. And they’re rewarded with a more engaged, productive, and effective team.

3. Think beyond culture fit

Hiring for “culture fit” makes a lot of sense on the face of it. Bring people on board that fit your company’s culture and they’re likely to quickly gel with the rest of the team, hit the ground running, and stick around for longer.

But if you only hire employees that “fit in” with the rest of your team, you might quickly find you don’t have a very diverse or inclusive organisation.

So, forget culture fit. Instead, unlock the benefits of diversity in the workplace by asking what new skills, perspectives, and experiences a candidate can bring to your team. In the long-run, this will give a much bigger boost to your organisation than someone who fits your team like a glove but isn’t bringing a new perspective with them.

4. Commit to a diversity, equity, and inclusion policy

Here in the UK, your organisation doesn’t have a legal requirement to create a written inclusion and diversity policy. But making concrete diversity, equity, and inclusion commitments in writing will show your team how seriously you’re committed to being a diverse employer. It will also encourage your team to think about how they conduct themselves at work and give them something to reference if they’re ever in any doubt about your DE&I stance.

Of course, real change comes from living up to the standards you’ve set for yourself in your DE&I policy. And making that policy available to everyone of your employees – and the public – will keep you accountable. 

For example, adidas has publicly committed to filling “at least 50% of new hires for all open positions with diverse talent inclusive of all diverse categories (gender, sexual orientation, disability, veteran, etc)”. Its employees and customers will know how big of an own goal falling short of this public target would be for adidas, which is just about the biggest guarantee they can have that they’re going to achieve it.

5. Bake inclusion and diversity into your inductions

Your entire organisation needs to be singing from the same hymn sheet for it to be truly diverse and inclusive. To make this a reality, you need to raise awareness about your organisation’s values and policies from the get-go. 

Baking this training into each employees’ induction will help your team navigate even the thorniest of issues and most sensitive subjects in the workplace, as well as understand exactly how to flag something they think goes against your DE&I policies.

6. Encourage values-based behaviours

An organisation is only as diverse and inclusive as its employees. Baking a commitment to DE&I into your company values is an important first step. But encouraging your employees to embody these values is where the rubber meets the road.

This is where Hive Fives come in.

Hive Homepage Hive Fives 2020 Cards

Make it easy for your team to recognise each other for living your company’s values by aligning your Hive Five categories with those values. These categories then become the North Star for your team to aim for every day.

This encourages people to embrace your values. And when everyone’s values are aligned, inclusivity soars – regardless of how different individuals’ characteristics and personalities are.

7. Lead by example

The most inclusive and equitable organisations’ senior teams lead by example. They’re patient, open-minded, and empathetic – and they listen more than they talk when it comes to matters of how represented and recognised their teammates feel.

If your leaders fail to live up to values that are key to inclusivity, you can pretty much guarantee you’re not going to have an inclusive organisation.

8. Educate and empower your managers

Your managers and team leaders have a huge part to play in making your organisation inclusive and equitable. When it comes down to it, they’re the ones responsible for executing your DE&I initiatives on the ground floor.

But leading DE&I efforts is complex, difficult, and important work. And just 4% of HR professionals feel capable of leading corporate DE&I programs.

For your DE&I efforts to succeed, you need to empower your people managers to navigate the complex situations they’re going to have to navigate in their day-to-day work. Providing them with all the training, support, and guidance they need is going to be one of the most important things you can do for your DE&I efforts.

9. Consistently measure and improve inclusion

Your DE&I strategy isn’t something you can set and forget. Times change, and your organisation needs to change with them if you want to remain diverse and inclusive.

Of course, your people know your organisation better than anyone. And you can quickly take the pulse of how diverse, equitable, and inclusive they think your business is through simple surveys.

Once you’ve run a survey and the results are in, you can quickly get to the bottom of whether your organisation is truly inclusive by segmenting the responses to see if particular minority groups are reporting having an inequitable experience. This kind of data is invaluable in making a real and lasting change to your company culture. 

The key here is to be totally transparent about the survey results and let people know what actions you’re taking to respond to the issues flagged by their feedback. This shows your people that you’re committed to creating a more inclusive culture. And when they can see you’re walking the walk and not just talking the talk, they’re more likely to keep giving open and honest feedback that will help you create a company culture where everyone feels recognised, valued, and celebrated.

Want to know what questions to include in your next diversity and inclusion survey to get the most effective and actionable feedback? Grab your copy of the 10 key questions for your diversity and inclusion survey below.

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10 Key Questions for Your Next Diversity and Inclusion Survey

Diversity and inclusion is more than just a tick-box exercise these days; thriving organisations know exactly how important it is to create cultures where everyone feels safe and respected.

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