Just because it’s February doesn’t mean we should forget all our February efforts. You need to embed diversity and inclusion into your culture year-round to show your employees that their differences – whether race, ethnicity, gender, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, religion or other facets of their identity – are respected and valued.
Why is this so important?
It’s critical that businesses and organizations across the country support their employees through diversity and inclusion efforts driven by transformative action. We know that diverse teams perform better, are often more profitable and drive innovation. In addition, inclusion is a key retention factor. Employers often mistakenly think that inclusion stems directly from diversity, but if you really want to improve your retention rate, HR needs to focus on inclusion. To be inclusive, a workplace must be welcoming and accept the individual differences that make up the diversity of its workforce. Retention is the consequence of an inclusive work culture where employees do not feel discriminated against because of their identity, but valued for their personality and their contributions. Inclusion can also facilitate recruitment, as it can be an important pull factor for exceptional and hard-to-find talent.
Integrate diversity and inclusion training into your organizational culture
To show your commitment to diversity year-round, you can host milestone events that promote participation, awareness, and celebration.
Here are some tips to get you started:
Celebrating diversity and inclusion is part of the overall strategy: encourage everyone in the organization to participate. Create teams that bring together people from diverse backgrounds to organize inclusive events that show the power of diversity. Take inspiration from the following initiatives: elevate inclusion as a core value, organize regular and welcoming feedback sessions, create cultural awareness events and initiatives, invest in diversity training, provide opportunities for advancement at all levels and strengthen your employees’ sense of belonging by encouraging them to redefine your work culture.
Employee resource groups are also a great way to create safe spaces that promote discussion and support. Led by staff members, these groups bring together people who share characteristics such as race, gender or sexual orientation and act as safe spaces where employees can discuss their issues and support each other on emotional and professional. Creating an inclusive environment is a goal in itself: when employees feel accepted and comfortable talking about the issues they face at work, everyone wins. However, remember that participation must be voluntary.
Canadian companies are required to prevent racism and prejudice in their workplace. Encouraging diversity and awareness training – and participation in it – can be a first step towards creating a more inclusive workplace. Of course, leaders also need to proactively encourage inclusion through mentoring, team feedback sessions, and an open-door policy for employees who want to speak up. When everyone works together to create safe spaces and opportunities for growth, your organization becomes stronger.
Here’s a key strategy for continuing your awareness efforts throughout the year: invite external speakers to speak about the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace on a monthly or quarterly basis. In general, speakers specializing in diversity and inclusion share their experiences and facilitate open conversations and activities on sensitive topics to help employees and employers create a more welcoming workplace and understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. job. There may be speakers in your area who can lead relevant workshops or events for your employees. You can ask your diversity and inclusion manager – if applicable – to find and invite qualified experts whose message contributes to your company culture and goals. Alternatively, ask employees to suggest speakers who talk about topics that matter to them.
You can invite an employment lawyer to talk about laws that affect immigrant workers. Employment lawyers can discuss how employers can implement policies and equal employment opportunities following a bilateral labor agreement between two countries. Moreover, lawyers are also the best resource speakers who can answer queries about proper reporting when racism, inequality, and other forms of harassment arise in the workplace.
Create an events calendar
A comprehensive events calendar showing days when your employees’ cultures, genders and sexual orientations are celebrated can help you embed diversity and inclusion into your everyday organizational culture. Companies often celebrate Christmas, for example, but doing the same for other holidays like Hanukkah and Diwali will help your employees feel at home in your organization. Another popular initiative is to organize LGBTQ2+ pride events to show your commitment to diversity and inclusion while helping your employees feel accepted and valued.
Showing your support for these events can influence how the public perceives your business. It also shows the type of work environment you provide to your employees, which appeals to top-caliber job applicants. Because you support equality and diversity movements, you gain the trust of everyone. As a result, they’ll likely support your company with good work performance.
Promote various businesses
Use your buying power to support businesses run by Black, Indigenous and People of Color. As many employees are currently working remotely, consider adding businesses run by Black, Indigenous, and people of color to your list of suppliers, including for office supplies, employee gifts, and catering services.
Supporting these businesses reflects your company’s stand and advocacy when it comes to diversity and inclusion. Business leaders who implement these practices show that they have high respect for all people, regardless of their gender, sexual orientation, race, or nationality. Therefore, they help build a good company culture that respects equality, human rights, and fair labor.
Diversity and inclusion involve different aspects that business owners or employers should check and consider. As much as possible, the upper management should conduct regular events. This step is crucial to further improve their employees’ welfare by discussing activities and tactics to promote equality in workplaces.