Wondering how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace as an employee? Cultivating diversity and inclusion goes beyond the purview of just the HR department or upper management. Rather, it’s a collective responsibility in which every employee can create the organization’s work culture.
While much progress has been made in recent decades toward creating more diverse and inclusive workplaces, there is still progress to be made. For instance, the Pew Research Center found that only 52% of employed adults said their company offers trainings or meetings on DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion). Moreover, gender and racial wage gaps persist, with many employees also facing challenges related to age, disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity.
Employees have the power to drive change and create a more inclusive workplace. In this guide, you’ll learn how to do just that. Each strategy shared in this post not only highlights employee’s individual responsibilities but also how taking action can help teams bond and build a stronger company culture.
Read on to see how you can promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace as an employee with a variety of strategies great for in-person and remote workers!
Keep reading to learn how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace as an employee with these ideas, and more!
- Encouraging the self-education of employees and sharing knowledge with their peers
- Practicing active listening and empathy in all conversations
- Advocating for fair workplace policies and practices for the betterment of all employees
- Celebrating and respecting differences that are present between team members
- How to overcome challenges in promoting diversity and inclusion at every position level
- Harnessing diversity and inclusion for a better workplace today and in the future
In this post, you’ll find:
- Strategies to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace
- Shareable DEI goals for employees
- Active ways for employees to participate in DEI events, celebrations, and holidays
- Impactful ideas on how to improve workplace diversity and inclusion
- How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace as an employee
- Actionable steps on how to promote cultural diversity in the workplace
The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
“Diversity” and “inclusion” are two crucial concepts in the context of today’s workplace. Diversity refers to the presence of a wide variety of individuals from different backgrounds within an organization. It can be reflective among individuals’ race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, disability, socioeconomic status, and more. Additionally, it encompasses the recognition and acceptance of these differences. Moreover, it allows people to bring their unique perspectives, experiences, and talents to the workplace.
Inclusion refers to the deliberate effort to create an environment where all employees, regardless of their diverse backgrounds, feel valued and respected – a space where everyone is empowered to participate fully in an organization. It involves fostering a culture of acceptance and belonging. Furthermore, inclusion often focuses on creating a culture where everyone has an equal opportunity to contribute and succeed.
When present, diversity and inclusion provide teams and companies with many benefits. For example, diverse and inclusive workplaces often experience enhanced business performance, greater innovation, and higher employee satisfaction.
In fact, McKinsey & Company found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 25% more likely to have above-average profitability. Similarly, ethnically diverse executive teams were 36% more likely to achieve above-average profitability. These benefits are just a handful of many that diversity and inclusion in the workplace can bring about.
Role of Employees in Promoting Workplace Diversity and Inclusion
Employees play a pivotal role when it comes to cultivating workplace diversity and inclusion. Team members naturally shape the organizational culture through their everyday actions and attitudes. As a result, their behaviors, decisions, and interactions either foster an inclusive atmosphere or perpetuate biases.
This is why allyship is so important amongst team members. Allyship refers to actively supporting and advocating for marginalized colleagues. Furthermore, amplifying their voices and challenging discrimination are important ways to show allyship. Individual responsibility is also crucial; employees must recognize and address their biases, continually educate themselves about different perspectives, and ensure fairness in decision-making processes.
Collectively, employees set the tone for the workplace culture. By embracing allyship, taking personal responsibility, and championing diversity and inclusion, we can create an environment where all individuals can thrive.
Practical Strategies to Promote Diversity and Inclusion as an Employee
In the contemporary workplace, promoting diversity and inclusion is not solely the responsibility of the HR department or upper management. Every employee plays a critical role in shaping the organization’s culture. In this section, we will explore practical strategies that empower individual employees to actively contribute to creating an inclusive environment. These strategies are essential because they bridge the gap between recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion and taking meaningful actions to bring about change.
Educate Yourself and Others
Self-education is a crucial element in fostering a deeper understanding of different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences. By taking the initiative to educate themselves about the perspectives and challenges of their colleagues, employees can build empathy and develop a more inclusive mindset.
This self-education can involve reading books, articles, and blogs, watching documentaries, or engaging in conversations and holidays with individuals from diverse backgrounds. However, it’s equally important to share this knowledge with fellow colleagues. To create a more inclusive environment, all employees must be actively engaged in learning.
One effective way to share knowledge is by organizing or participating in diversity training sessions or cultural awareness workshops. These sessions provide a structured platform to discuss and learn about various cultures, identities, and experiences.
Furthermore, employees can invite guest speakers, share personal insights, or facilitate discussions on topics related to diversity and inclusion. In addition, encouraging open dialogue and creating safe spaces for colleagues to ask questions and share their own experiences can be invaluable in building mutual understanding.
Practice Active Listening and Empathy
Another impactful strategy to engage in as an employee is active listening. Active listening helps in fostering an inclusive environment within the workplace. It signifies a genuine commitment to understanding and valuing colleagues’ experiences and viewpoints. Furthermore, it is an essential component of empathy.
One way to display empathy towards colleagues’ experiences and viewpoints is by giving them your full attention during conversations. Show interest in what they are saying and refrain from interrupting, immediately offering solutions, or looking at your phone or computer.
For example, if a colleague is sharing their experiences related to a particular cultural or identity-based issue, actively listen by asking open-ended questions. Seek clarification when necessary and acknowledge their feelings and experiences. Then, validate their emotions and experiences. Even if you disagree, it can go a long way to respond with, “What I hear you saying is…” and then repeat back what your colleague shared. This can both show you understand what they’re saying and provide an opportunity to clarify any miscommunications.
Active listening demonstrates respect and fosters mutual understanding. Ultimately, active listening contributes to a workplace where individuals feel heard, respected, and valued – essential for building a truly inclusive environment for the workplace.
Advocate for Fair Policies and Practices
Employees can actively promote diversity in the workplace by advocating for fair policies and practices, helping to ensure equal opportunities for all.
One effective way to do this is by voicing concerns about biased or discriminatory practices when you encounter them. For example, this might occur during hiring, promotions, or in meetings. By bringing issues to the attention of management or HR departments, employees can initiate conversations that lead to change.
Additionally, employees can support inclusive identification policies such as the active use of pronouns. To start, add your pronouns to your email signature and work profiles. Collaborate with others to propose policies encouraging pronoun use. Fostering the respect and usage of others’ pronouns can show your commitment to acknowledging and valuing fellow colleagues’ personal expressions. Advocating for policies and practices that support each other’s gender identities and pronouns is just one of many ways in which employees can foster a more inclusive atmosphere.
Participating in DEI committees and Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) within the organization can also be instrumental in shaping policies and practices. In doing so, employees contribute to creating a work environment that not only values diversity but actively promotes it.
Celebrate and Respect Differences
Celebrating diversity and respecting individual differences in the workplace is another crucial strategy for building an inclusive environment. One way to achieve this is by actively participating in cultural celebrations, holidays, and awareness events. Doing so not only demonstrates support for diverse backgrounds but also provides opportunities to learn and engage with other colleagues’ cultures.
Moreover, it’s essential to challenge stereotypical assumptions and biases when celebrating differences. Do so in both your own thinking and in conversations with colleagues. By actively seeking to understand and appreciate the differences that each person brings to the table, teams can foster a greater culture of respect and inclusion. Ultimately, this leads to better teamwork, creativity, and overall job satisfaction for everyone.
By fostering a culture where these conversations are not only welcome but also encouraged, organizations can create an environment in which employees feel valued for their individuality. Rather than judged based on preconceived notions. In turn, this leads to stronger teamwork and opens the door for diverse viewpoints. These factors contribute to more innovative problem-solving and increased creativity. In essence, by embracing diversity and challenging biases, workplaces can harness the full potential of their workforce.
Overcoming Challenges in Promoting Diversity and Inclusion
It is important to acknowledge that promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace as an employee can be challenging due to various barriers. One common obstacle is resistance to change. Indeed, colleagues or even leadership may be hesitant to embracing diversity initiatives or events. To overcome this, employees can engage in open and constructive conversations to address concerns and misconceptions.
Another barrier is insufficient resources allocated to diversity and inclusion efforts. In these instances, employees can seek support from leadership by demonstrating the business case for diversity and advocating for the allocation of resources. (Pro tip – reference the stats included in this blog post!)
Additionally, practicing resilience and patience is essential. It should be noted that change often takes time, and setbacks may occur. By remaining committed to the cause, employees can gradually break down these barriers, contributing to creating a workplace that values and embraces diversity and inclusion.
Harness Diversity and Inclusion for a Better Workplace
In summary, employees have immense power in promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We can all make an impact by educating ourselves and others, practicing active listening and empathy, and advocating for fair policies and practices. By celebrating and respecting differences at every turn, promoting diversity and inclusion can become second-nature to every employee.
Though setbacks may occur and challenges must be overcome in every workplace, diversity and inclusion is possible when all are involved. Start implementing these strategies amongst your workplace today and see the benefits of diversity and inclusion bloom amongst your work culture!
For more ideas on how to harness diversity and inclusion for a better workplace, check out our guides on diversity training and activities for diversity months, such as Pride Month work ideas and virtual Black History Month ideas. Plus, schedule ongoing diversity and training activities with your remote or in-person teams with turnkey DEI training programs led by Unexpected Virtual Tours & Training!
Let’s connect! Reach out below to learn more about our programs, ask questions, and schedule your team’s session.