2022

What is Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging?

Cultivating a diverse workforce is a complex and worthwhile endeavor. This article aims to provide an overview of diversity in the workplace and what employers should consider when developing their programs.

The term “diversity” describes differences among people. However, recent research suggests that there are many more dimensions of a difference than previously thought. For example, researchers have identified four different types of diversity:

  • Race/ethnicity
  • Gender identity/expression
  • Sexual orientation
  • Socio-economic status

Depending on one’s perspective, these categories may be considered separate or overlapping.

Corporate leaders look at other companies to figure out how to improve diversity inside their organizations. To help you out, let’s start with the workplace overview.

DIB Workplace Overview

Diversity inclusion aims to create workplaces where everyone feels welcome and valued. It also means fostering environments free from discrimination based on these characteristics.

In addition, inclusion means creating workplaces where everyone feels comfortable expressing their beliefs and values without fear of discrimination. It includes those who identify with minority groups and those who do not. Such an initiative demands that we be accommodative.

Employers can take several steps to achieve diversity inclusion. They can make sure they have policies that prohibit harassment and bullying and policies that create inclusive environments.

They can ensure that their recruitment practices reflect the needs of the community. And they can train managers and supervisors on how to address bias issues.

Creating a culture of diversity is a complex and worthy pursuit. It is more than just having a policy prohibiting discrimination.

It requires leaders’ sensitivity and a commitment to providing equal opportunities for all employees. It includes making sure all job openings are equal and fair hiring decisions.

employee diversity and belonging

Diverse Cultures Position Employees for Success

According to Glassdoor, 69% of leading executives see diversity and inclusion as the major factor that companies need to solve. A key element of creating a culture of diversity is understanding why some people experience discrimination. There are three main reasons:

  1. People don’t know what to say. Many people assume that if someone else says something offensive, they must be right. But this isn’t always true. Some people might use words that others find hurtful because they haven’t learned better ways to express themselves.
  2.  People think they’re doing the right thing. Sometimes people believe that they discriminate against another person by offering them a less desirable position.
  3. People want to help. When people see that someone is struggling, they often try to offer advice or assistance. Unfortunately, sometimes this leads to unwanted comments or actions.

If you’re looking to learn how to create a diverse and professional climate inside the office, check out our top-rated diversity & inclusion course.

Diversity and inclusion certification

 

What is Inclusion?

Diversity inclusiveness is a set of principles designed to provide equal opportunity for all individuals. These include:

  • Equal employment opportunity – Although you should focus on hiring stand-out employees, ensure that everyone has an equal chance.
  • Fair treatment – All employees are treated fairly and equitably.
  • Respect – Respect employees for who they are as individuals and what they contribute to the organization.
  • Supportive environment – The workplace provides an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.
  • Open communication – Learning cross-cultural communication is vital because it empowers employees to share ideas and concerns.
  • Accessibility – The workplace offers reasonable accommodations for disabled workers and others who need special assistance.
  • Gender equality – Women and men have equal pay and promotion opportunities.

Diverse members approach work with commitment if the workspace matches their ideals. Although hiring diverse individuals might seem difficult, it has many benefits.

What is Belonging?

People belong wherever they live, work, worship, study, play, and learn. When you create a welcoming and inclusive environment, you create your own diverse staff. You build a sense of belonging among your employees and customers. A diverse workplace can also result in diverse clientele.

When you make it easy for people to join your team, you increase their willingness to do their best work. And when you treat them as valued members of your community, you encourage them to bring their whole selves to work every day.

1. Create A Welcoming Environment

Employees will only feel welcomed when they come to work without worrying about being harassed, discriminated or out of place. They won’t feel welcome unless they have access to information about the company’s policies and practices. They won’t feel included until they understand how those policies and procedures impact them.

Inclusion invites employees to perform better.

Ensure that everyone knows about the company’s policies, including its anti-discrimination policy. Create inclusive strategies where managers and supervisors know how to handle difficult situations.

Finally, provide ongoing support for all employees through regular meetings and other activities.

2. Create Inclusive Recruitment Strategies

Your policies should clearly state that harassment and discrimination are unacceptable. Your practices should ensure that everyone feels comfortable coming to work.

Policies should also address sexual preferences, gender identity, race, religion, national origin, disability, age, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, and genetic characteristics.

If you don’t know whether something is illegal under federal law, consult with an attorney before making changes.

3. Be Transparent About Company’s Values

Enabling diversity and belonging requires intentionality. Here are things you can do.

  • Be open and inform your diverse employees what your values are. Explain why these values matter to your business.
  • Tell your team members what you expect from them. Let them know what behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable.
  • Show employees that you value diversity by hiring diverse candidates and ensuring you create professional environments. It helps you to have a diverse staff.
  • Provide training and education to help people understand your culture and expectations.
  • Ensure that everyone understands the rules of conduct and behavior at work. Provide clear guidelines for reporting misconduct.

How to Promote Diversity & Inclusion?

Diversity means difference. Although a diverse team requires different mindsets, pursuing diversity has its dos and don’ts.

Cultivating diversity requires patience and committed leaders, and it has a positive effect on employee engagement.

To engage in inclusive practices and embrace diversity, here are some tips on what you should and shouldn’t do.

What to Do

Although companies have unique approaches to creating cultures inside the workplace, some things work for every organization.

  1. Create an open environment and amplify everyone’s voices so employees can express their own identities.
  2. Be transparent about your company’s values when creating a diverse space.
  3. Create a diverse professional culture and train leaders to respond to complaints. Ensure psychological safety for employees.
  4. Ensure that everyone has access to information about the organization’s policies and practices.
  5. Consider employee diversity when developing policies and procedures.
  6. Create a singular professional landscape and let employees know what you expect from each other.
  7. Provide opportunities for employees to learn more about your company and your industry through focus groups.
  8. Hire candidates from diverse backgrounds who can look at things from diverse perspectives.
  9. Hire a lead education developer if it helps with harnessing diversity.
  10. Pinpoint any underrepresented groups and help workers thrive individually.

What not to Do

When creating a diversity strategy, corporate leaders might think they need to do anything to make it work. But in reality, you need to be careful with implementing your plan. Here are tips on what not to do.

  1. Treat anyone differently because of their race, color, sex, religion, national origin or ancestry, physical handicap, medical condition, sexual preferences, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, or family responsibilities.
  2. Harass or discriminate against anyone.
  3. Retaliate against anyone for complaining about a violation of this code of conduct.
  4. Threaten to fire or take disciplinary action if someone complains or doesn’t support your diversity initiatives.
  5. Don’t force employees to extra unpaid emotional labor.
  6. Deny employment or promotion to anyone based on their diverse characteristics.
  7. Discriminate against anyone for taking part in legal protests or boycotts.
  8. Discharge or demote an employee solely because they participate in legal protests or boycotts.

Conclusion

Embracing inclusion and diversity can seem like a daunting task. But by creating a diversity program, you start making a positive office climate. Having an inclusive team means companies can form the foundation for efficiency.

Maintaining several leadership positions with multiple perspectives helps incentivize diversity. If employees know that the leadership team has an inclusive mindset, the rest will follow.

Finally, spend time listening to employees before creating a strategic solution since you need to engage outward as much as you engage towards the company’s benefits. Good luck.


If you are looking for how to increase diversity and inclusion inside your office, we recommend taking our Diversity & Inclusion Certification Courses, where you will learn how to build your skillset in human resources, manage employees, and respond to any issues between employees and the leadership.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.