How to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Men and women of different ages and races sit around a large conference table during a meeting

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are hot topics in the workplace right now — for good reason! Having a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce can lead to better decision-making, increased creativity, improved financial performance, and more fulfillment at work.

But how do you actually promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace? This might seem like a daunting task, but the first step is simple: Treat everyone with dignity and respect. At Insight Global, we’re committed to this action, which is reflected in our first two values:

  • Everyone Matters
  • We Take Care of Each Other

To discover how to implement those values in your own workplace, keep reading! By the end of this article, you will know how to create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment.

What is diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?

Diversity is the range of human differences, including but not limited to:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • gender
  • gender identity
  • age
  • sexual orientation
  • national origin
  • physical ability or attributes
  • religious beliefs
  • social class
  • political beliefs

Diversity in the workplace looks like employing people with different backgrounds.

Equity is the quality of being fair and just. Equity in the workplace looks like allocating resources based on employee need. Note: equity and equality are not the same thing!

Inclusion is the act of creating an environment that allows all people to feel a sense of belonging, respect, value, and support. In an inclusive workplace, employees feel comfortable being themselves.

7 benefits of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace

Investing in DE&I in the workplace isn’t just the right thing to do — it makes good business sense too. Multiple studies have found that companies who prioritize different DE&I initiatives have better business outcomes, including:

  • better decision-making
  • increased creativity
  • decreased turnover rates
  • enhanced company image
  • improved financial performance
  • better communication
  • more engaged employees

Here’s a quick breakdown of these benefits.

1) Better decision-making

Diversity in leadership allows for different perspectives in any decision-making process. While teams in general make better decisions than individuals, multiple studies indicate that diverse teams make better decisions than homogenous teams do. Diverse teams pay closer attention to detail and more carefully review facts.

Additional research by Cloverpop indicates that diverse teams also make decisions more quickly, with fewer meetings. According to the same research, teams with multiple forms of diversity experience an additive effect of even better business outcomes from the decision-making process.

2) Increased creativity

Diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace can also lead to increased creativity and innovation. According to research by Boston Consulting Group, companies with diverse leadership reported statistically higher innovation revenue. Other studies similarly revealed that gender diversity and racial diversity contributed to greater financial gains in companies that prioritized innovation.

When diversity is present in the workplace, it allows for different creative ideas to be explored. When everyone comes from a similar background or perspective, the range of potential solutions to problems can be limited. By having diverse teams — and truly welcoming diverse ideas — companies are more likely to come up with new and innovative ideas.

3) Decreased turnover rates

When employees feel like they are valued and included in the workplace, they are more likely to stay with the company. This can lead to decreased turnover rates, which can save the company money in the long run. A survey on wellbeing and benefits found a direct correlation between perceived DE&I in the workplace and an employee’s intention to quit.

4) Enhanced company image

When diversity, equity, and inclusion are present in the workplace, it can improve the company’s image. A survey by PwC found that 83% of CEOs agreed that their company’s DE&I strategy strengthened their overall brand and reputation. Another global survey found that 86% of Millennial women rank a company’s DE&I policies as “Important” when deciding whether or not to work for them.

Potential customers and employees both care about a company that values diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. For existing employees, not only will they be more likely to stay with a company that truly promotes DE&I, they can also become brand ambassadors by sharing their positive work experiences.

5) Improved financial performance

Multiple McKinsey studies have shown that companies with a diverse workforce tend to outperform those without diversity. This is a natural result of improved decision-making, increased creativity, and decreased turnover rates, all of which can increase profits. When companies value diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace, it shows in their bottom line.

6) Better communication

Better communication, workplace transparency, and inclusion all interconnect. Open, honest, effective communication is necessary to create a transparent workplace. A transparent workplace is necessary to create an inclusive workplace. When employees feel comfortable being themselves at work, they’re more willing to open up and freely communicate their ideas.

Multiple studies show that diverse groups communicate more effectively than homogenous ones. In one study, participants better prepared for a meeting when they thought the other person had different political beliefs. In another study, participants were more willing to consider dissenting opinions when presented by someone of a different race.

When people from different backgrounds and perspectives come together, it can lead to better communication. A diverse team takes more time to listen to each other and to understand everyone’s different viewpoints.

7) More engaged employees

Employees who feel like they are part of a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment are more likely to be engaged in their work. This is because they feel valued and appreciated by the company. Shared values, fulfillment, and purpose all contribute to this.

When Gallup surveys employees to gauge engagement, they look at 12 distinct elements, many of which relate to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. These include:

  • I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right. (equity means providing employees with materials according to need)
  • My supervisor, or someone at work, seems to care about me as a person. (inclusion)
  • There is someone at work who encourages my development. (inclusion)
  • At work, my opinions seem to count. (inclusion)

Additionally, employees who are engaged tend to be more productive and have a positive attitude towards the company. When that happens, the employees and the company succeed together.

A group of diverse workers sit around a table listening to a man talk in the foreground.

How to Promote Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace

Employers and company leadership need to work together to implement DE&I strategies in the workplace. DE&I initiatives are not only the right thing to do, but they also lead to better business outcomes. To get started, here are a few ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace:

  • Change the way you recruit and vet candidates
  • Educate your leaders
  • Create an inclusive workplace
  • Acknowledge and celebrate employee differences
  • Create a workspace where everyone’s voice is heard and valued
  • Review your anti-discrimination policies
  • Segment employee surveys
  • Communicate your goals
  • Treat all employees with respect
  • Set up a mentorship program

Change the way you recruit and vet candidates

The way you recruit and vet candidates can significantly impact the diversity of your workforce. Here are a few tips on how to change the way you find job candidates:

  • Use diverse sourcing channels: When recruiting candidates, be sure to use a variety of sources, including those that focus on diversity. This will help you reach a wider pool of potential candidates.
  • Remove unconscious bias: When reviewing resumes, be aware of your personal biases and try to set them aside. Consider each candidate equally, regardless of their background or demographic information.
  • Use structured interviews: This will help to avoid any unconscious bias on the part of the interviewer. Ask everyone the same strategic questions.
  • Train your team: Make sure all members of your team are aware of diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. By having a unified front, you’ll be more likely to achieve success with these initiatives.
  • Hire team players: When hiring, look for job seekers who are team players and who have a proven track record of working well with others. These individuals will be more likely to contribute to a positive and inclusive work environment.

Educate your leaders on DE&I in the workplace

One of the most important things you can do to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace is to educate your leaders. Here are a few things they should know:

In addition, you should offer workplace leaders training on how to create a diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment.

Leaders are key drivers of change within an organization, so they need to understand the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Leaders also need to know how to create an environment where everyone feels included.

It’s important to note that DE&I initiatives are not solely the responsibility of leadership. Everyone in the company should contribute to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. However, leaders model the way for employees, so by training them first, you set the stage for a better workplace.

Create an inclusive workplace

An inclusive workplace starts with shared values. For example, at Insight Global, we have five shared values:

  • Everyone Matters
  • We Take Care of Each Other
  • Leadership is Here to Serve
  • High Character & Hard Work Above All Else
  • Always Know Where You Stand

In addition, an inclusive workplace includes everyone at the company, from part-time employees to the CEO, regardless of their background.

An inclusive workplace recognizes that different people have different perspectives. In an inclusive workplace, diverse employees feel comfortable sharing their opinions. This diversity of thought can lead to better decision-making, increased creativity, and improved financial performance.

An inclusive workplace model also understands that everyone has a role to play in creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace. This includes the leaders of the organization, as well as all employees.

Creating an inclusive workplace model is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. By valuing diversity, equity, and inclusion, you’re setting the stage for a more successful business.

Acknowledge and celebrate employee differences

One of the simplest ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace is to acknowledge and celebrate employee differences.

When you take the time to appreciate the diversity of your employees, it sends the message that you value diversity and inclusion. It also helps create a more positive and welcoming work environment for everyone.

One 2009 study compared support for multiculturalism vs colorblindness among employees. This study found that the more employees agreed that “employees should recognize and celebrate racial and ethnic differences,” the more minorities in those workplaces reported feeling engaged.

Here are some tips on how to acknowledge and celebrate employee differences:

  • Make diversity, equity, and inclusion a part of your company culture. This means talking about DE&I in all aspects of your business, from recruitment to employee training to performance reviews.
  • Celebrate special events and holidays that are important to different cultures and religions. For example, you could celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Diwali, Eid al-Fitr, or Hanukkah. In addition, you could adjust the holiday schedule to include floating holidays so employees can celebrate their important occasions.
  • Educate your employees on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This could include providing training on unconscious bias, microaggressions, and other topics related to DE&I in the workplace.
  • Encourage open dialogue about diversity, equity, and inclusion. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable talking about their experiences and perspectives. Open communication creates trust between employees and management.
  • Be an ally to marginalized groups. This includes speaking up against discrimination and promoting DE&I in your workplace.

Creating a diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace can be a challenge, but it’s worth the effort. By acknowledging and celebrating employee differences, you can help create a more positive and welcoming work environment for everyone. And that’s good for business.

Members of the LGBTQIA+ community gather on top of a car wearing rainbow attire.

Create a workspace where everyone’s voice is heard and valued

One of the best ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is to give everyone an opportunity to be heard. When company culture values open communication and diverse opinions, employees feel more comfortable speaking up, sharing their ideas, and contributing to workplace discussions.

When employees feel like their voices are heard and respected, they are more likely to feel comfortable bringing their full selves to work. This sense of belonging is key to an inclusive workplace.

How can you create a workspace where everyone’s voice is heard and valued? Here are a few tips:

  • Encourage open communication: Let employees know the importance of their ideas. Ask for feedback. Give everyone a chance to speak during meetings. Work with management to implement amplification and other strategies to give everyone the opportunity to contribute. Implement an open-door policy, inviting employees to talk to you about anything.
  • Respond to feedback: Actions speak louder than words. If you tell employees to share their ideas, but then you ignore their input, they won’t feel valued. Listen to your team members, and act on their suggestions. While you can’t implement every single idea that comes your way, you can respond to them. Explain your decision-making process, especially if you make an unpopular decision.
  • Promote collaboration: As already noted, teams make better decisions than individuals, and diverse teams make better decisions than homogenous ones. Collaboration is a practical way to gather multiple opinions and create better work.
  • Value and embrace diversity: Diversity is one of the key drivers of innovation and creativity. By valuing diversity, you’re sending a message that all employees are welcome.

These are all key ways to create a culture of trust and openness where everyone has a chance to share their perspective.

Review and revise your anti-discrimination policies

A company’s anti-discrimination policies send a clear message to employees about the type of behavior that will not be tolerated. This understanding creates a more inclusive environment for everyone. Here are a few ways you can strengthen your anti-discrimination policies:

  • Write policies in plain language. Everyone should be able to understand your anti-discrimination policies. There should be no ambiguity about what is and is not allowed.
  • Train employees on your anti-discrimination policies. Employees should be aware of the policy details, including how to report any incidents.
  • Have a transparent process for complaints. Your anti-discrimination policies should include a clear process for reporting violations as well as information regarding how complaints will be addressed and investigated.

Segment employee surveys

One way to understand the impact of existing DE&I strategies is with anonymous employee surveys, segmented by demographics. This data can help identify areas where diversity, equity, and inclusion need improvement.

Analyzing survey results by demographic category can help better understand the experiences of diverse employees. With this information, employers can then develop strategies to address any issues.

Ways to segment employee surveys:

  • Job title or function
  • Department or business unit
  • Location
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender
  • Sexual orientation
  • Age
  • Religion

Organizations can also choose to segment employee surveys by multiple demographics. For example, a company may decide to segment its survey first by department and then by other demographics like race or gender. This can reveal DE&I successes and challenges at the team level.

Communicate your goals

Empowering change, whether at the individual or company level, starts with goals, values, and purpose. A shared vision and roadmap are needed to succeed together. This includes your diversity, equity, and inclusion goals. If you’re not communicating these goals to your employees, then you’re not going to be able to effectively promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.

One way to communicate with employees is to hold training sessions on diversity, equity, and inclusion. This will help employees understand what diversity, equity, and inclusion are, why these values are essential, and how employees can contribute to a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace.

In addition to sharing goals, you can also create a system for tracking progress. This could involve creating a DE&I committee or tracking employee satisfaction surveys.

Finally, make sure that you’re modeling diversity, equity, and inclusion in your own behavior. If employees see that the leaders of the organization are not practicing what they preach, then they’re not going to be very likely to buy into your DE&I goals.

Treat all employees with respect

One of the simplest ways to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in your workplace is by treating all employees with respect, listening to their ideas, valuing their contributions, and providing equal opportunities for growth and advancement.

Creating a respectful work environment requires leaders to set the tone. Leaders must model respect for others, listen attentively, and be open to different viewpoints.

Set up mentorship programs

A deliberate mentorship program creates more connections between executives, management, and employees at large. While great mentor-mentee relationships can occur organically, a mentorship program is more inclusive, giving everyone a chance for personal growth and career advancement.

Mentoring allows employees from different backgrounds to learn from each other, share experiences, share their purpose, and contribute to each other’s lives in a very real and measurable way. Having a mentor can help someone who is new to the workforce or even just new to the company.

How Insight Global can help with diversity, equity, and inclusion

At Insight Global, we live and breathe diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Passion, contribution, and fulfillment create a meaning that extends far beyond one individual. It flows into how the customer is treated, the way we support our families, and how we show up in our communities. In short, it’s in everything we do. It’s how we live our day-to-day lives.

Our team is passionate about creating a fulfilling work culture that inspires people to do their best work. We provide the roadmap and tools to make lasting, positive change for everyone.

If you’re looking to create a more inclusive environment in your business, Insight Global can help. Connect with our DE&I team by filling out this form today.

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