Workplace diversity has become a crucial issue within the business sector. As a result, companies are willing to spend billions on diversity training programs and workshops to make their businesses more progressive. Yet, despite these measures, almost all of them still fall short of their inclusivity and diversity targets.
In 2021, three in every five American employees was found complicit in workplace discrimination. While in 2020, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), over 4,000 discrimination charges were filed in California alone.
This contradicts claims made by businesses of having increased efforts to allow for more diversity. Had companies been willing to work diligently to maintain D&I, these numbers would have looked a lot different than they do now.
Diversity goes beyond just hiring workers from marginalized groups. It is about cultivating an inclusive environment that adequately represents all your employees.
Here, we will provide a general overview of what mistakes businesses are making in their inclusivity and diversification efforts:
1. Using Diversity and Inclusion Interchangeably
Diversity and inclusion are two different terms. When you have a diverse workforce, it does not mean that you also have an inclusive one.
Diversity encompasses the breadth of representation from diverse backgrounds working within your workforce, while inclusivity represents the general workplace culture.
For example, you may have disabled workers on your team but no policies to accommodate them, including an accessible building. This shows you are a diverse organization but not an inclusive one.
Open conversations with your employees can help reveal the cracks in your management processes. This will help you design well-informed workshops which can explore D&I deeply and produce viable solutions.
One of the ways you can facilitate your understanding of diversity and inclusivity is by educating yourself in the principles of modern work. Majors in Online General MBA Program are aware of the reforms shaping the modern workplaces and can contribute to the effective D&I policy structure that will leave no stone unturned to promote a broad-based diversity and inclusivity culture within the organization.
2. Following Outdated Requirements for Hiring Employees
Businesses need to leave old-school thinking behind to progress in the modern era. Technology, creativity, and innovation are now at the forefront of every successful enterprise. As a company, you will need to keep up with this change.
When you stick to the old way of doing things, you can miss out on some really good talent. Outdated methods include stereotyping gender, focusing on education over traits, and ageism. This limits the pool of good applicants, and you will end up with employees that bring little in terms of value.
Therefore, your company should judge applicants on a case-by-case basis. Women, LGBTQ, older adults, and even disabled candidates should all have a spot on your team. These applicants have the necessary skills and talents that connect you to a broader consumer base.
But the longer you are resistant to change and choose old-school methods, the faster your company will shift toward stagnancy.
3. Not Implementing Policies
There is a difference between drafting and implementing policies. Showing little inclination or resolve to implement policies is a flaw many companies have. Employees need policies to safeguard their interests and feel respected and valued within an organization.
You should immediately implement policies, like anti-harassment, anti-bullying, and equal pay because these policies ensure that your work environment is conducive to diversity and inclusion.
Without having any policies to lean on, employees will not know how to exercise their rights legally within a company, leading them to feel discriminated against. This is one of the reasons why only six out of ten American women employees will ever feel comfortable voicing their disagreement against an opinion without fearing repercussions that would follow.
In contrast, nine out of ten working male employees voice their thoughts without hesitation. While three in every twenty LGBTQ members feel their careers will get sidelined if they decided to come out since there are no policies in place that can safeguard their interests.
Therefore, you should ensure that you have active management that can carry out your policies thoroughly. In addition, there should be strong deterrents in place to discourage behavior that goes against the grain of those policies. Diversity and inclusivity will thrive only if backed up with realistic and ruthless self-accountability.
4. Expecting Marginalized Communities to Represent Themselves
Most companies hire black, Asian, disabled, and LGBTQ employees or anyone who falls on the minority scale with the expectation that they will then represent themselves. In addition, these minorities are expected to educate their colleagues, raise their voices on important issues related to diversity and help the management design a D&I program.
In contrast, unmarginalized employees are not held up to the same standards. This puts your marginalized employees in a precarious position where they will then have to balance activism with their workload.
Reshaping your company’s environment is not your employees’ job, marginalized or not, but yours. You should actively educate, train and inform all employees in avoiding unconscious biases and stereotyping while also shedding light on the critical political movements, like Black Lives Matter.
Burdening your employees with responsibilities that were never theirs to handle will make it hard for them to work for you.
5. Focusing On One Group
Your workplace is a diverse environment. You have people from different backgrounds working together. Therefore, focusing on one demographic is a misrepresentation of inclusivity. Making policies, practices, and processes, keeping in mind only one group of employees, is discriminatory, to say the least, to all the other groups of employees.
For example, listening only to your female workers and ensuring they get more leaves, higher wages, and fewer working hours will be disregarding the other employees. You will be creating imbalances in work by favoring one group over the other.
An optimum workplace should focus equally on all the employees, regardless of their sexual orientations, genders, or ability and disability. However, all policies should be made with equity in mind.
For example, Michigan has made weight discrimination illegal in the workplace. So, regardless of gender, age, or educational status, being overweight will not limit your opportunities. If you wish to destroy stigmas, ensure equality in the perks you offer at work as well.
D&I is the cornerstone of an evolved and modern workplace. However, when you don’t properly create a diverse and inclusive environment, you disrupt the culture of your organization. Consequently, what you get is an ableist office where you pay mere lip service to diversity and inclusivity. When proper D&I policies are not implemented at the workplace, it can lead to overburdening and exclusion of certain employees, limiting their contribution to the organization. The true spirit of D&I policies needs to be implemented to overcome the mistakes most companies make in trying to become progressive workplaces.
This infographic was created by CoachDiversity Institute, a provider of diversity coach training
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