Updated November 2, 2022
Diversity and inclusion drives employee engagement, generate innovative ideas, and improve products, processes, and solutions. But have organizations lost focus on D&I in 2022?
Business continuity, growth and resilience have naturally shifted into the forefront as economic concerns rise. However, diversity and inclusion (D&I) should be seen as a key piece in fueling business growth and resilience.
Companies with higher-than-average diversity had 19% higher innovation revenues.
These efforts aren’t set and forget. An ongoing communication and education campaign is required to develop a culture of diversity and inclusion.
As Brian L. Roberts, Chairman and CEO of Comcast, says, "Diversity and inclusion is not an initiative or program with an expiration date. It's the right thing to do and also a core principle for the way we do business."
- Benefits of D&I
- Creating a D&I Program
- Diversity Program Ideas
- Tips on How to Promote D&I in Your Workplace
- Diversity and Inclusion at SnapComms
1. Benefits of D&I
The benefits of diversity in the workplace are vast, from improving your employee experience to creating a more innovative business. Conversely, lack of gender and racial diversity hits an employer’s bottom line. Companies with low rates of diversity are 29% more likely to make less money.
- Diversity delivers: Companies with diverse teams perform 35% better, and those that are gender-diverse perform 15% better, in financial returns compared to their industry median.
- Asia leads the way: Japan and China most value diversity and inclusion in the workplace (86% and 81% respectively).
- Happy engagement: 83% of Millennial workers are more engaged at work when they believe their company has an inclusive culture.
- Positions vacant: 67% of job-seekers believe that a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.
2. Creating a D&I Program
When creating your program remember that Diversity and Inclusion are two distinct concepts.
Diversity is about the practice of including unique backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.
Inclusion is the practice of providing equal opportunity to diverse people in a workplace where they feel safe, welcome, and valued.
Remember that workplace equality and diversity isn’t a short-term exercise. Diversity and inclusion activities must be an ongoing part of organizational planning to achieve sustained improvements.
3. Diversity Program Ideas
These diversity program ideas will help you start embedding positive D&I practices into your organization.
1. Promote diversity goals and your organization's inclusive vision
Highly visual messages on Corporate Screensavers and Lock Screens can passively communicate to employees at times when they are more receptive.
Think of how powerful billboard advertising is. Passive yet repetitive communication channels are a superb way to change perceptions.
2. Use inclusive language
Ensure the way you speak caters to D&I. This means using gender neutral language, including pronouns in email signatures, and avoiding unnecessarily gendering inanimate objects.
Continue this practice throughout the whole employee experience, from job listings and role descriptions to company policies and day-to-day communications employees regularly interact with (e.g. newsletters, intranet, emails etc.).
3. Celebrate holidays and events
Focus on underrepresented cultures and backgrounds like Black History Month, Chinese New Year, and Pride Week. Diversity initiatives like these are a valuable way to help every employee feel represented at work. Plan these events using an annual planning calendar.
4. Use counter stereotype imagery
Overcome unconscious bias through imagery, for example, a picture of a woman in a hard hat, a woman at her desk breastfeeding a baby, a Hispanic man in his barristers' gown, and so on. Images like these jolt people into addressing their own unconscious biases.
Unconscious bias needs regular confrontation and people need to use conscious thought to overcome them. This takes repetition and practice.
5. Highlight executive support
Demonstrate leadership backing of D&I in employee newsletters and other relevant internal communication channels.
6. Hold international potluck dinners
Occasions like these help employees to get together, share their cultures and traditions, and meet each other. Fear of the unknown prevents people from connecting. Once people understand that differences aren’t so significant, it’s easier to break down barriers.
7. Use data smartly
Track changing employee demographics and perceptions using organizational data around diversity and inclusion. Segment employee experience surveys by diversity groups to see how employee experience is impacted.
8. Spotlight champions and allies
Regularly identify and promote ‘internal champions and inclusion allies’ to ensure diverse employees can seek support when they need it.
9. Use employee quizzes
Challenge people to confront their own unconscious biases. Many examples can be found online but here’s one example:
A father is killed in a car crash and his son is taken to hospital. The surgeon on duty says, “I cannot operate on this boy because he is my son.” How could that be?
Think about this before you scroll down for the answer.*
10. Help people empathize with others
Most people who are in the “inside group” (e.g. white males) are unaware of their privilege. Help them empathize with the experiences of those in the “outside groups” by sharing stories in your company newsletter and in face-to-face and online discussions.
11. Deliver privilege tests
Tests like these or unconscious bias tests, such as the Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT), help employees identify their own blind spots. Awareness of unconscious bias helps people use conscious thought to overcome it.
12. Create a forum for discussions
Consider having a forum or employee survey channel that permits anonymous submission. This allows people to ask ‘dumb questions’ to help them understand the perspectives and preferences of diverse groups. This helps to overcome a fear of getting it wrong and causing offense and breaks down diversity barriers.
13. Give everyone a voice
Some cultures are more outspoken than others. For example, Americans tend to feel comfortable speaking up in groups, whereas other cultures see it as disrespectful or threatening. Overcome these natural tendencies by providing ample opportunity to hear voices from all groups.
Use Round Robin techniques in meetings and supporting channels like staff surveys to allow less outspoken employees to submit their ideas. If appropriate, keep these channels anonymous so that consideration of ideas is not impacted by unconscious bias.
14. Celebrate global heritages
Rotate international flags from around the world that represent your employee mix, both physically in your workplaces and digitally on computer wallpapers.
15. Promote employee resource groups (ERGs)
Spotlight these groups in your communication channels. At Everbridge, SnapComms parent company, we're proud to have ERGs for Women's Leadership, BridgeOut (LGBTQ+), Bridgers of Color, Veterans and more.
However, remember that an inclusion program is about breaking down barriers, not encouraging people to stay in ‘safe groups’.
16. Maintain an open dialogue
Speak regularly with diverse staff to understand their unique perspectives and evolve your approach as you need to. Accept the fact that you might get some things wrong with your inclusion program. An interactive employee survey, whistleblower hotline, and anonymous feedback channels provide plenty of opportunities for dialogue.
* The surgeon is the boy’s mother
4. Tips on How to Promote D&I in Your Workplace
Now more than ever it’s essential for businesses to walk the talk – living and breathing the values of workplace equality and diversity every day. There are a number of actions employers can take to embed the right attitudes across their business.
1. Refocus on core values
Define why diversity and inclusion is central to your values. Formalize your commitment so that these values are embedded at the highest level. Demonstrate why you are committed to these values to foster the right workplace conditions for success.
2. Reinforce the benefits
Equality and diversity inspires creativity, drives innovation, enriches employee experience and supports competitive advantage. Emphasize the strength and resilience that results from this, both at personal and organizational levels.
3. Remove unconscious bias
Use consistent positive wording through your internal communications to remove unconscious biases people inadvertently practice and therefore need to be educated on.
4. Promote heroes from within
Champion employees who belong to minorities to build their status. Empower them to be proud of their heritage and the unique perspective it gives them. Encourage them to be authentic at work and celebrate their accomplishments. These employees can become valuable mentors to others in your organization.
5. Raise awareness
Spread the word about the value of diversity at work by promoting campaigns and events through digital newsletters, prompting employees to get involved in initiatives like Diversity Week. Or tell human interest stories using video alerts to showcase the vibrant personalities of your team.
5. Diversity and Inclusion at SnapComms
Diversity is part of the DNA at SnapComms. Our employees are 42% female, originate from 22 different countries, speak more than 10 languages and range in age from 18 to 60+. The world map in our office shows the country of origin of every employee – there are very few areas of the world not yet represented!
We celebrate many different types of culture and lifestyle such that everyone in our team can be authentic at work and feel truly included. At SnapComms, we have strength in diversity.
Operating a fair, diverse and inclusive workplace is essential for businesses today. It embodies the positive attributes which drive success and demonstrates being a good corporate citizen. Your employees will thank you for it and your business will benefit from it.
SnapComms internal communication tools are perfect for informing and inspiring staff about the power of diversity and inclusion. Discover our platform for yourself or contact us to speak with a communications specialist.