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Diversity and inclusion in the workplace help to make everyone happier and more productive. However, determining if your work environment is diverse and inclusive can be confusing.

It helps to understand what those terms mean. According to Corporate Wellness Magazine, diversity and inclusion mean having employees from different cultures, races, religions and other backgrounds and accepting and honoring the differences between your employees.

Common characteristics

A workplace that is diverse and inclusive is free of discrimination and harassment. Every worker has the same opportunities. The overall company thrives off the experiences, knowledge and individual contributions that the diverse workforce offers.

The company values every employee despite the differences. It recognizes that everyone has something unique to offer.

Incorporating diversity and inclusion

To ensure your workplace has these characteristics, you should cast a wide net when looking for new employees. Make sure that your policies treat everyone equally and seek out feedback from current employees on their concerns about inclusion and discrimination.

Make sure your executive and management teams are diverse. It is not enough to hire employees from different backgrounds. You also need to lead by example.

You should also work to create a culture within the workplace that is accepting and tolerant. Your policies should make it clear that discrimination or harassment will never be ok. Have strict standards for handling issues.

Ensure you quickly and thoroughly investigate and handle any concerns your employees have in a prompt manner.

Be aware of the differences. Include everyone in parties and celebrations, especially those concerning religious holidays. You may need to adjust current policies to ensure you include employees of all religions.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace involves being more aware. Once you start to look at your employees and embrace their differences, you can reach your goals.

When you operate a California business, it pays to keep your workers happy and comfortable. Part of doing so involves making your workplace a safe and inviting place to be. Yet, certain circumstances have the potential to create an uncomfortable or hostile work environment. Sexual harassment is one such circumstance. So, it often benefits you in the long run – both financially and otherwise – to offer sexual harassment training to your workforce.

Why might you want to consider offering sexual harassment training in your place of business?

It helps you avoid litigation

More than ever, employees are aware of their rights when it comes to speaking up about harassment. In the wake of the #metoo movement, companies paid out an additional $22.5 million in monetary damages over the year prior. Litigation is expensive, but providing sexual harassment training may help you avoid it.

It helps minimize absenteeism

Many employees who are subject to, or who witness, sexual harassment at work find it difficult to return to work each day. This has the potential to breed absenteeism. Productivity decreases when employees fail to show up, and this also means other workers must pick up the slack, which may lead to unnecessary complications and resentment.

It raises morale

Your workers want to feel as if you care about them and want them to feel comfortable in your place of business. By offering sexual harassment training, you are showing them you prioritize maintaining an environment where workers feel safe and included.

There are clear benefits that come with offering sexual harassment training, even if it has not yet been an issue in your business environment.

Mediation is a wonderful tool you can use in your business in a variety of ways. It does not always have to be formal.  You can use mediation tactics when dealing with general issues that come up throughout the workday. It can even become a tool that helps prevent small problems from escalating.

If you want to put it to use on a regular basis for problem-solving, you may consider using rewards and punishments. Harvard explains these two approaches can have significant benefits in assisting you with mediating issues in the workplace.

Punishments

The prevailing idea is that punishment is not an effective way to work through problems. However, when using it in a mediation setting, it can be positive and have a good result.

In this situation, punishment is subtle. You will not use it to impose threats on your employees. Instead, you use it as a way to coerce them to do something.

For example, if you have two employees who cannot get alone, you may propose cutting their work hours so they no longer have to work together. They will probably not want to lose hours, so you can then move into mediating a solution that allows them to coexist and do their jobs.

Rewards

Rewards are seen in a positive light, but they can become negative if you use them incorrectly. When it comes to using them in mediation, you do not want to use them as a way to bribe people to do something.

You should only reward actions that show a willingness to cooperate and compromise. For example, if there is a disagreement between two employees over who gets to help a client and one of the employees concedes to the other, you could then offer that employee some type of reward for his or her actions.

Punishments and rewards have a place in your informal meditation tactics in the workplace, but it is important to use them properly to get positive results.