6 Ways to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Your Office

Emily Patz
Emily Patz
Posted March 26, 2019 in Human Resources

Diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in the business world these days. More and more we see the onboarding of “Diversity and Inclusion Officer” to the leadership teams of growing companies. Our LinkedIn feeds are marked by a constant churn of diversity-related content. Our colleagues note the traditionally homogenous nature of leadership teams and closed-door meetings. All of these trends are placing a spotlight on the need for companies to take a moment to self-reflect and pair their findings with initiatives that drive the change we need to grow as a workforce, and more importantly, as a society.

women working on a diverse team

Fortunately, this new and refreshing concept of actively curating a workforce that reflects all kinds of people and perspectives is causing many companies to do a double take, thanks to recent studies that show that diverse teams do better. When it comes to your hiring practices, leadership teams, and office culture, it pays to assess your success through a diversity lens. Here’s why:

Diversity boosts your bottom line.
This isn’t just about ethics and appearances. Your business will benefit financially by creating a culture that values diversity. A study by the Boston Consulting Group shows that "increasing the diversity of leadership teams leads to more and better innovation and improved financial performance” to the tune of a 19% growth in revenue.

That’s not the only study that supports the theory that more diversity equals more success. McKinsey’s research shows that racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to outperform companies that do not have a diverse workforce. Both studies cite vary perspectives lead to better innovations which result in higher revenue.

Your candidates and employees care about diversity.
Trying to fill some critical roles in your company, but not having much luck? You may garner more interest by highlighting your company’s investments in promoting a culture that supports diversity and inclusion. Glassdoor reports that 67% of job seekers consider a diverse workplace an important characteristic when evaluating companies.

6 Ways to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Your Office
Promoting diversity and inclusion at your company isn’t a one-time, catchall initiative. This practice is achieved through a series of moves and adjustments that best suit the needs of your employees and your business as a whole. Here are 6 ideas you can try to help you get started.

a diverse group of employees at a meeting

Adopt a Blind Recruitment Process
A study by Princeton and Harvard revealed that “blind applications” that do not reveal gender resulted in 5 times more women being hired. Consider testing a blind recruitment process that lets candidates know from the get-go that your company hires employees based on skills and experience. This type of recruiting has been shown to result in more diverse teams with talented, innovative individuals.

Ditch College Degree Requirements
Tech giants Apple and Google recently removed college degree requirements for applicants. With the emergence of coding boot camps, a la carte online classes, and open-to-all internships, the most skilled and experienced candidates you can find won’t necessarily be the ones with a 4-year degree in business. By removing arbitrary degree requirements on job postings, you’ll attract candidates with real-world experience and packed portfolios they pursued on their own.

Include the Doers in Meetings About Their Work
Collaboration allows for standout employees to make their mark, so implement meeting best practices that credit and elevate employees who pitch in at all levels. When star employees demonstrate promise and drive, reward them through professional development opportunities, mentorships, and invitations to high-level meetings to help influence strategy - because the truth is, they’re already doing it through their daily contributions.

Allow for Flex Scheduling and Remote Days
Support working parents by implementing policies that provide them a better balance when it comes to responsibilities that tend to pile up between work life and home life. Flex scheduling and occasional or set work-from-home days make it easier for parents to arrange daycare pick-ups and drop-offs, doctor’s appointments, conferences, and other obligations that come along with caring for a young child.

working parents using flex time to take children to school

Take the Glassdoor Pay Equality Pledge
The gender pay gap is real. According to salary reports on Glassdoor, men in the US earn 24.1% more than women. And for women of color, the gender pay gap is even greater. Have you examined salaries and leadership opportunities based on gender, race, sexual orientation, and other characteristics? Do these numbers reflect your company values? If you stand for equal pay, make it public by taking the Pay Equality Pledge from Glassdoor.

Get Involved with Organizations that Promote Diversity
Your employee volunteer program provides endless opportunity to introduce your team to all types of causes that call for a more equitable world. From your area YWCA chapter to startup nonprofits focused on race and gender, many organizations would welcome your team to lend their talents to help their mission grow. Whether your team presents at a high school’s career day, donates a sizeable check to a girls’ STEM program, or provides marketing tips to a local nonprofit, there are many ways your employees can bond while doing good in both your community and your workplace.