Keys to creating a diverse and inclusive workplace

Many employers in California make an effort to focus on diversity and inclusion at their workplaces. However, if employers don’t really understand what that means, they may not actually be fostering a diverse and inclusive work environment. Surveys have shown that just 40% of employees agree that their workplace is diverse and inclusive.

What is a diverse and inclusive workplace?

Diversity in a workplace means that the staff is composed of a group of people of different races, cultures, religions, sexual orientations, political beliefs and genders. A diverse staff will also be composed of people from different age groups that can all bring their own unique perspective to the work environment.

Inclusion means that all of the people that make up a diverse staff are equally valued and treated fairly. All employees should have equal opportunities to succeed in a company and be given opportunities that are based on their merit, not their protected demographic characteristics.

A workplace can be diverse, but not inclusive

Employers sometimes make a mistake when they try to bring in more diversity without understanding the importance of inclusiveness. For example, a company that makes an effort to hire women but never promotes them is not inclusive. Hiring people from a certain demographic just to give the appearance of diversity and inclusion is sometimes called tokenism.

How to create a diverse and inclusive workplace

Employees should be hired based on their ability to do the job, not because of what race or gender they are. Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace can be done naturally by making an effort to eliminate implicit bias, or biases that people don’t realize they have.

One strategy for dealing with implicit bias is to use blind applications where demographic indicators are hidden. Employers may also start training managers on nondiscriminatory interview techniques and promotion practices.

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