LGBTQ INFORMATION NETWORK │ RAINBOW OF RESOURCES

DIVERSITY
 

Avett Brothers: This Land is Your Land

The Love: Joe Biden, Jennifer Hudson, Black Eyed Peas

Ode to Joy: Socially Distant Orchestra

Lean on Me: Canadian Artists for the World

We Are the World 2020: Together at Home

Orchestra Musicians Worldwide: Tribute to Coronavirus Victims

Hope for the Future: Trumpet Tribute From 14 Countries

You've Got a Friend: Worldwide Cast

Lockdown Waltz: 75 People, 11 Countries, 3 Continents

You'll Never Walk Alone: Virtual Choir, 15 Countries, 300 People

Educators: When It Comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, We Can't Be Silent

What World Needs Now

 

 

Love Has No Labels
Imagine by Pentatonix

Good Morning Humanity

Happy People Dancing Around the World 2008

I Am a Work of Art

What the World Needs Now

Kissing Around the World

United: Playing for Change

Sia: Together

Celebrating the Spirit of the Season

Imagine: World Version

Love is Love: Diversity and Inclusion

What is Family?

UN Free and Equal: Be You

Frozen Movie Soundtrack in 25 Languages

Faces: Can You See Past the Label?

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

Preschool Twins Fighting Discrimination

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

What Makes You Two Different From Each Other

Happy: Multicultural Music Video
 



Celebrating Diversity

"We inhabit a universe that is characterized by diversity."
-Desmond Tutu

"We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny. I can never be what I ought to be until you are allowed to be what you ought to be."
-Martin Luther King Jr.

"We need diversity of thought in the world to face the new challenges."
-Tim Berners Lee

 

"What we have to do is to find a way to celebrate our diversity and debate our differences without fracturing our communities."
-Hillary Clinton

"We need to give each other the space to grow, to be ourselves, to exercise our diversity. We need to give each other space so that we may both give and receive such beautiful things as ideas, openness, dignity, joy, healing, and inclusion."
-Max de Pree

"It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength."
-Maya Angelou

 



"If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity."
-John F. Kennedy

"For as long as the power of America's diversity is diminished by acts of discrimination and violence against people just because they are black, Hispanic, Asian, Jewish, Muslim or gay, we still must overcome."
-Ron Kind

"Tolerance is giving to every other human being every right that you claim for yourself."
-Robert Green Ingersoll

"Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. That is not our business and, in fact, it's nobody's business. What we are asked to do is to love, and this love itself will render both ourselves and our neighbors worthy."
-Thomas Merton

"Tolerance implies no lack of commitment to one's own beliefs. Rather it condemns the oppression or persecution of others."
-John F. Kennedy

 

 

What is Culture?

Greetings Around the World

Strangers Are Friends You Haven't Met Yet

Modern Love

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy
Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Frozen II: International Voices of Elsa

Human Rights Covenants: Social, Cultural, Political

LGBTQ Voices: Learning From Lived Experiences

One Love: Playing for Change

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion
Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Happy People Dancing Around the World 2012

 

 

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

UN Free and Equal: Voices for Equality (Seun Kuti)

Black Guy & White Girlfriend in Harlem Barber Shop

What I Be: Insecurities and Images

LGBTQ Rights: Human Rights Leaders Speak Out

Different Kinds of Families

UN Human Rights: The Riddle

Imagine: World Version

Best Friends: Beer and Dialogue

Shy Strangers Kiss Each Other

What the Struggle for Gay Rights Teaches Us about Bridging Differences

Lean on Me: Playing for Change

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

McKinsey & Company: Diversity and Inclusion

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Faces: Can You See Past the Label?

Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

Fans of Love: Love Has No Labels

 

 

Ultimate Wedding Party

Around the World: Beautiful Women

We Are All Different With a Mutual Goal

Boy Consoles Crying Classmate with Autism on First Day of School

Diversity Doesn't Stick Without Inclusion

Colorblind Kids Get Matching Haircuts

UN Free and Equal: Price of Exclusion

Stand By Me: Playing for Change

Heartwarming: Two Toddlers

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Pick Up Lines Around the World

Maha and Lethicia: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

Geography Class for Racist People

 

Types of Diversity

 

How are we different from each other?  In what ways do we look, think, and behave differently?  What types of diversity exist in our society?  There are many factors that impact our identity and our world view. Some diverse characteristics are visible, some are not.  Some features are controllable, some are not. Some are innate, some are acquired.  Some types of diversity are internal, some types are external.

 

 

Internal diversity is represented by those factors a person is born into. They are things that are innate, naturally occurring, and generally unchangeable. These characteristics are not chosen or controllable.  So, internal diversity relates to things that belong to or exist within the person.

 

Race... Ethnicity... Nationality... Culture...

Sex... Gender... Sexual Orientation... Gender Identity...

Age... Physical Ability... Mental Ability

 

External diversity is represented by characteristics a person is not born with. These factors are selected, acquired, adopted, or developed.  These are things that are changeable or controllable.  And they may be related to things that are the result of outside influence or control.


Interests... Education... Appearance... Citizenship... Work Status...
Geographic Location... Family Status... Spirituality/Religion... Political Affiliation...
Relationship Status... Socioeconomics Status... Place of Birth... Experiences

 

 

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

UN Free and Equal: Price of Exclusion

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy

Diversity Journal: Moving From Diversity to Inclusion

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

TED Talk: Inclusion Over Diversity

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion
Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees

McKinsey & Company: Diversity and Inclusion

 

The Concept of Diversity

 

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect. It means understanding that each individual is unique, and recognizing our individual differences. These can be along  the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, or other ideologies. It is the exploration of these differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of diversity contained within each individual.

 

 

Defining Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion

 

Diversity

 

In broad terms, diversity is any dimension that can be used to differentiate groups and people from one another. It means respect for and appreciation of differences in race, ethnicity, gender, age, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, education, and religion. But it’s more than this. We all bring with us diverse perspectives, work experiences, life styles and cultures.

 

Equality

 

Equality is about ensuring that every individual has an equal access to opportunities to make the most of their lives and talents.  It means being equal in status and rights.  It is also the belief that no one should have poorer life chances because of the way they were born, where they come from, what they believe, or whether they have a disability. It means ensuring individuals or groups are not treated differently or less favorably, on the basis of their specific characteristics, including race, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, and age.

Inclusion

 

Inclusion is a state of being welcomed, valued, respected and supported. It’s about focusing on the needs of every individual and ensuring the right conditions are in place for each person to achieve his or her full potential. Inclusion involves respecting individual differences and capturing the advantages they provide. Inclusion should be reflected in an organization’s culture, practices and relationships that are in place to support a diverse workforce.



 

"Leaders have long recognized that a diverse workforce of women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals confers a competitive edge in terms of selling products or services to diverse end users. Yet a stark gap persists between recognizing the leadership behaviors that unlock this capability and actually practicing them. Part of the problem is that diversity and inclusion are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case. In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen."
-Laura Sherbin & Ripa Rashid, Harvard Business Review

 

 

 

"Over the past decade, organizations have worked hard to create diversity within their workforce. Diversity can bring many organizational benefits, including greater customer satisfaction, better market position, successful decision-making, an enhanced ability to reach strategic goals, improved organizational outcomes, and a stronger bottom line. However, while many organizations are better about creating diversity, many have not yet figured out how to make the environment inclusive—that is, create an atmosphere in which all people feel valued and respected and have access to the same opportunities. That’s a problem. Minority employees want to experience the same sense of belonging that the majority does to the group."
-Christine Riordan, Harvard Business Review

 

“Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.”

-Verna Myers, Diversity Advocate

 

Different: Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus

What Makes You Two Different From Each Other

UN Free and Equal: Be You

LGBTQ: Feeling Different, Feeling Alone

How to Deal With Being Different

Twin Teens: One Black One White Celebrate Differences

I Grew Up Knowing I Was Different: Being LGBTQ

Being the Odd One Out: Survival Tips on Being Different

We Are All Equal

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Same Love: Different Types of Families

Exploring and Celebrating Differences

 

 

Embracing Difference

 

People are not all the same. We don't all look the same, act the same, have the same abilities, or have the same religion or values. Some people can walk, see, talk, and hear easily, while others need help with these things or have different ways of doing them. In order to deal with being different you can embrace your distinctive qualities, build positive social relationships, and cope healthily.

 

"If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."

-Maya Angelou

"Freedom means nothing, unless it means the freedom to be different."

-Marty Rubin

"Stop hiding what makes you different and learn to embrace every part of who you are!"

-Amanda Foust

 

"He who is authentic assumes the responsibility to be what he is, and recognizes himself free to be what he is."

-Jean Paul Sartre

"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

"I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself."

-Rita Mae Brown

"The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen."

-Albert Einstein
 

 

Different: Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus

What Makes You Two Different From Each Other

The Good News About Being Different

LGBTQ: Feeling Different, Feeling Alone

How to Deal With Being Different

I Grew Up Knowing I Was Different: Being LGBTQ

Being the Odd One Out: Survival Tips on Being Different

Exploring and Celebrating Differences

Twin Teens: One Black One White Celebrate Differences

Monica and Nikki: Mexican Indian Wedding

 

Being Different

 

We're all different, but we conform to a norm that honestly doesn't come naturally to any of us. No one is born with the abilities to meet the world's expectation of “normal,” so we spend our days conforming to a checklist or explaining ourselves over and over in hopes others will be able to make sense of our differences. But what if we embraced what makes us different?

Being different helps you make a difference. Your differences stand out, and the world needs them. New ideas, perspectives, and actions are required if you want to positively impact the world! Progress will never be made if you're just like everyone else. How can YOU make a difference?

 


 

Relationships don't always require having things in common. Do you feel as though you have to put on an act to make or keep friends? Maybe you need a reminder that friendships require much more than having things in common. In fact, it's said that opposites attract! Your differences can compliment each other, and you don't have to worry about being in competition. In some cases, your differences may positively push each other outside of your comfort zones! How can you embrace your differences in your friendships?

You can use your differences to teach other people. What you try to hide or cover up could be the very thing another person wants to learn! Instead of making excuses for your differences, explain and teach others about them! This will help you connect with others and learn to love every part of yourself. What could you teach others about your differences?

Successful people are different people. Individuals who are successful typically pave their way because of their differences and willingness to take risks. The mega-successful don’t play by the rules. They don’t conform to all of society’s norms. They don’t follow what everyone else is doing. They do their own things –- in their own ways. They make decisions that work for them. They set goals for where they want to go. They think out of the box firstly because they aren’t standard issue, and can’t fit into the regular packaging… but mostly because they like to. How can you use your differences to earn success?

[Source: Amanda Foust, Daily Positive]

 

 

Different: Joan Jett and Miley Cyrus

What Makes You Two Different From Each Other

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

When You Don't Fit in: The Value of Being Different

The Good News About Being Different

Being LGBTQ: Perceptions of Society

Same Love: Different Types of Families

Reasons to Embrace Being Different

Feeling Different: Dealing With LGBTQ Issues

We Are All Equal

What I Be: Insecurities and Images

Exploring and Celebrating Differences

 

 

Love Thy Neighbor

 

Thy Homeless Neighbor

Thy Muslim Neighbor

Thy Black Neighbor

Thy Gay Neighbor

Thy Hispanic Neighbor

Thy Liberal Neighbor

Thy Hindu Neighbor

Thy Elderly Neighbor

Thy Poor Neighbor

Thy White Neighbor

Thy Queer Neighbor

Thy Buddhist Neighbor

Thy Urban Neighbor

Thy Jewish Neighbor

Thy Rural Neighbor

Thy Christian Neighbor

Thy Asian Neighbor

Thy Conservative Neighbor

Thy Transgender Neighbor

Thy Wealthy Neighbor

Thy Atheist Neighbor

Thy Non-Binary

Thy Immigrant Neighbor

Thy Lesbian Neighbor

Thy Disabled Neighbor

Thy Arab Neighbor

 

 

Faces From Around the World

Celebrate Diversity
We Are America: Love Has No Labels

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

Colorblind Kids Get Matching Haircuts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

No More Trouble
I Think You’re Beautiful: Social Experiment

Diversity: Differences Are Essential

LGBTQ Human Rights: Why They Matter

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

Happy People Dancing Around the World 2006

Lean on Me: Playing for Change

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

Oddisee: You Grew Up

What the World Needs Now

Blind People Describe Racism

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

 

 

UN Free and Equal: Voices for Equality (Alice Nkom)

Shy Strangers Kiss Each Other

What the Struggle for Gay Rights Teaches Us about Bridging Differences

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Jeanette and Yaris: Diversity and Inclusion

History of LGBTQ Human Rights

We Are All Equal

Best Friends: Beer and Dialogue

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Respectability Politics: Can You Be Too Gay?

BBC Big Question: Has Britain Become Less Tolerant?

Human Rights Covenants: Social, Cultural, Political

Rainbow Riots: Freedom

UN Free and Equal: Be You

McKinsey & Company: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity Resources for the Workplace

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion
Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Imagine by Pentatonix

One Love: Playing for Change

 

Fostering an Inclusive Environment

"If you dream of a world in which you can put your partner's picture on your desk, then put her picture on your desk, and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can walk down the street holding your partner's hand, then hold her hands, and you will live in such a world. If you dream of a world in which there are more openly gay elected officials, then run for office, and you will live in such a world. And if you dream of a world in which you can take your partner to the office party, even if your office is the US House of Representatives, then take her to the party. I do, and now I live in such a world. Remember, there are two things that keep us oppressed: them and us. We are one half of the equation."
-Tammy Baldwin, US Senator

 



"When schools and other institutions seek to convey to the public that they value diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism, oftentimes they tend to take a rather narrow approach. In making genuine efforts to create an open and affirming environment for all their students or constituents, they may define diversity in a manner that is sometimes too limiting. To foster a truly inclusive environment, schools and institutions must consider a broader definition of diversity and more all-encompassing view of multiculturalism. Any diversity training with broad-based credibility must address a wide range of minorities and sub cultures that necessarily includes race, ethnicity, nationality, gender, age, religion, politics, and personality. However, any meaningful discussion of diversity issues should also include sexual orientation and gender identity and seek to raise awareness about the concerns of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer people."
-M Lebeau, LGBTQ Ally, Affirming Counselor

 

Celebrate Diversity

Stand By Me: Playing for Change

Jide Zeitlin: Black CEO Talks About Diversity and Inclusion

Proud to Be: Coming Together to Celebrate Identity

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

Faces: Can You See Past the Label?

UN Free and Equal: It's Time

Multiculturalism Documentary

Around the World: Beautiful Women

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity Journal: Moving From Diversity to Inclusion

Born Free and Equal

Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

Workplace Diversity Trends

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Imagine: World Version

 

 

Love is Love: Diversity and Inclusion

Geography Class for Racist People

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

History of LGBTQ Human Rights

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter

Cultural Diversity: Stereotypes and Communication

Happy People Dancing Around the World 2016

Diversity and Inclusion: Millennials Have a Different Definition

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Heartwarming: Two Toddlers

What I Be: Insecurities and Images

United: Playing for Change

 

"There's a fear that when you're talking about gays and lesbians, you're talking about sex. I don't think that's true. I think you're talking about a community, and you're talking about people relating to each other, and not specifically about sex. I don't think talking about gay and lesbian sex is appropriate for elementary school. But talking about relationships and different communities and about bias and discrimination and how it affects people's lives is appropriate."
-Cora Sangree, School Teacher

 



"Thousands of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are out of the closet in the corporate world today, including senior executives in Disney, AT&T, American Airlines, Microsoft, McDonalds, Goldman Sachs, Clorox and IBM, to name a few, but the majority of us are still hidden despite promises by our companies that nothing bad will happen to us if we come out. Toward the end of 20 diversity training sessions I did for 800 senior managers at a major banking firm, having heard them all describe the company's working environment as very welcoming for gay people, I asked them why it was then that only two people out of the 800 had yet to identify themselves as gay in an affirming four-hour program on gay and transgender issues. If it's so safe, where are they? I asked. They decided maybe it wasn't as welcoming as they had assumed. Gay and transgender people who are out of the closet today often report feeling invisible. They either become the person to whom every heterosexual turns for information on the gay community, or, more likely, they are marginalized. Closeted gay people see how their openly gay colleagues have become identified more as gay than as team players, and they decide to continue to expend the extraordinary energy it takes to hide who they are. This problem can be solved.
-Brian McNaught, Diversity Trainer

 

 

"Diversity is about differences. Each of us is different. We value and respect individual differences. We think broadly about differences including background, education, gender, ethnicity, nationality, generation, age, working and thinking styles, religious background, sexual orientation, ability and technical skills. Inclusiveness is about leveraging these differences to achieve better business results. It is about creating an environment where all of our people feel, and are, valued, where they are able to bring their differences to work each day, and where they contribute their personal best in every encounter."
-Ernst & Young Diversity Report

 

"Companies should start from the simple but fundamental understanding that there are different perspectives, each of them valuable, and work to explore and identify the range of barriers holding these individuals back. Organizations can then formulate plans and programs that offer options and provide signposts that help women, LGBTQ people, and people of color find the path that’s right for where they are in their lives and careers."

-Laura Sherbin & Ripa Rashid, Harvard Business Review

 

 

“Millennials yearn for acceptance of their thoughts and opinions, but compared to older generations, they feel it’s unnecessary to downplay their differences in order to get ahead. Millennials are refusing to check their identities at the doors of organizations today, and they strongly believe these characteristics bring value to the business outcomes and impact.”
-Deloitte Diversity Study

 

Celebrating Diversity: Photography That Sounds Good

Be My Honey Pie

Colorblind Kids Get Matching Haircuts

Lean on Me: Playing for Change

McKinsey & Company: Diversity and Inclusion

UN Free and Equal: Price of Exclusion

Proud to Play: Celebrating LGBTQ Athletes

Best Friends: Beer and Dialogue

Imagine by Pentatonix

Around the World: Beautiful Women

Sia: Together

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy

Same Love: Different Types of Families

People React to Being Called Beautiful

 

 

Shy Strangers Kiss Each Other

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Imagine by Pentatonix

UN Free and Equal: Voices for Equality (Alice Nkom)

People From Around the World

White Toddler and Her Black Doll

We Are America: Love Has No Labels

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Geography Class for Racist People

Stand By Me: Playing for Change

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace
 

Diversity Quotes

 

"Strength lies in differences, not in similarities."
-Stephen R. Covey

"Celebrate diversity, practice acceptance and may we all choose peaceful options to conflict."
-Donzella Michele Malone

"We are all different, which is great because we are all unique. Without diversity life would be very boring."
-Catherine Pulsifer

"Diversity in the world is a basic characteristic of human society, and also the key condition for a lively and dynamic world as we see today."
-Jinato Hu

 



"We have become not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic. Different people, different beliefs, different yearnings, different hopes, different dreams."
-Jimmy Carter


"Diversity is not about how we differ. Diversity is about embracing one another's uniqueness."
-Ola Joseph

"Diversity is about all of us, and about us having to figure out how to walk through this world together."

-Jacqueline Woodson

"Society is unity in diversity."

-George Herbert Mead

"It is never too late to give up your prejudices."

-Henry David Thoreau

"I know there is strength in the differences between us. I know there is comfort, where we overlap."

-Ani DiFranco
 

"What the world needs most is openness: Open hearts, open doors, open eyes, open minds, open ears, open souls."
-Robert Muller

"No culture can live, if it attempts to be exclusive."
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

"Diversity is the art of thinking independently together."
-Malcolm Forbes

 

 

Diversity in the LGBTQ Community

African American/Black
Hispanic/Latinx

Arab/Muslim/Middle East

Asian/Pacific

Indian/Hindu/Sikh

Jewish/Israeli

Native/Two Spirit

Appalachian/Rural

European/International

 

Key Diversity and Inclusion Trends

 

Times have changed. The growing tension in our society is impacting the workplace and many workplaces feel the internal tension growing as they scramble to figure out ways to address it. Research showed “1 in 4 US employees have been negatively affected by political talk at work this election season, with younger workers in particular experiencing diminished productivity and more stress.”

Employees are demanding their leaders take a political stance. The boundaries between workplace and political movements are blurring and employees are urging their leaders to speak out on key issues impacting them and their loved ones. According to research, “almost half of Americans between 18 and 36 years old saying they believe CEOs have a responsibility to publicly express their opinion about social issues such as equal pay and health care.” Another recent research by Edelman revealed 64% of survey respondents believe CEOs should take the lead on change rather than waiting for government to impose it.

 


Inclusion is now a requirement for being a good manager. With no signs of political and social movements slowing down, managers in today’s workforce need to be equipped to lead diverse teams and build team resilience. We’re seeing a desperate need to fill the gap that exists in the traditional manager training approach, where essential managerial skills don’t include skills to foster an inclusive work culture for their teams. For example, managers are being taught to provide “effective feedback” but are not being educated on how to ensure their feedback isn’t rooted in bias. In order to get the buy-in from managers and to make the learning practical, “D&I” education needs to be tightly woven into the core business and be seen as a business imperative rather than a “nice to have.” Remember, great managers are inclusive managers.


Companies truly committed to D&I are looking to do more than just check a box. This desire may be stemming from the pressure building from the employee base as well as the public. We heard from many companies’ employees and organizations’ engagement survey results that there is a lack of “real” commitment to Diversity and Inclusion by their leaders beyond marketing slogans. This lack of trust in leadership leads to increased cynicism, which makes launching successful D&I programs that much more difficult. Having a one-time 2-hour long Unconscious Bias Training seems like the most basic box to check nowadays, but truly committed leaders are wanting to do more. Unfortunately, according to a nation-wide survey, 57% of US workers said they did not know what actions their company is taking to address the issue of discrimination and harassment. An additional 25% did not believe their companies were taking any action.

 


There is a clear distinction between diversity and inclusion. Companies are finally realizing having a diverse workforce doesn’t in and of itself guarantee inclusive culture. Without a conscious effort to develop an inclusive culture, retaining a diverse workforce becomes nearly impossible.


Companies are struggling to measure and quantify inclusion. In an effort to build a business case, leaders are challenged with measuring and quantifying “inclusion.” Without a proven way to quantify inclusion and unclear proof of return on investment, some companies feel gridlocked on how to move forward.


As we look ahead, more pressure will undoubtedly be put on today’s leaders to do more to make their organizations inclusive, while providing opportunities for those passionate about D&I to have a voice. In order to skillfully navigate the tension that’s building in and outside of our workplaces, organizations’ leaders need to pay close attention to identifying true thought leaders to help guide their journey, and commit to doing more beyond signing off marketing slogans or memorizing soundbites.

[Source: Michelle Kim, Awaken, 2017]

 

 

PBS First Person Series

 

Being Queer and Orthodox Jewish

Black Trans Woman's Journey

Asian Trans Person Talks About Gender Dysphoria

Surviving Racism and Cancer as a Queer Black Woman

Queer and Muslim in America

Growing Up Lesbian in Jamaica

Boundless Black Masculinity

Olivia Has Two Moms

Differently Abled and Bisexual

Religion and Sexuality

 

 

Practicing Love for Your Neighbors

 

See your neighbors as real people. See them for who they really are. Look past the obvious, the surface, the outer shell, and look into their eyes, their hearts, and their circumstances.

Be humble. Ask for forgiveness and offer forgiveness.

Celebrate and mourn with others. Walk alongside your neighbors. Put yourself in their shoes. Be empathetic and compassionate. Rejoice when they rejoice and mourn when they mourn. Laugh with them and cry with them. Share in their joy and also share in their pain and anguish.

Learn and be teachable. Allow your neighbors to challenge your thinking without taking offense or becoming bitter. Be open to new ideas and perspectives. Try to understand someone else's point of view. Accept constructive criticism. Be informed and knowledgeable.

Ask hard questions of yourself. Examine your thoughts, behaviors, and beliefs.

Refuse to be judgmental.

 

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Stand By Me: Playing for Change

Monica and Nikki: Mexican Indian Wedding

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

UN Human Rights: Something I Believe In

Desmond Tutu: Why We Should Celebrate Differences

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Shy Strangers Kiss Each Other

Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

Proud to Love: Celebrating Marriage Equality and LGBTQ Pride Month

Sia: Together

Colorblind Kids Get Matching Haircuts

Oddisee: You Grew Up

Educators: When It Comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, We Can't Be Silent

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion
Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Intimate Portraits of Strangers

Don't Put People in Boxes

 

 

Promoting Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

For diversity practices to be successful, you also need to facilitate an inclusive work culture. Here are some ways employers can build or improve upon their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.

While many companies have been putting diversity, equity, and inclusion into greater focus over the last few years, there is still significant room for improvement. Diverse teams foster better employee engagement and productivity and they allow for better problem-solving abilities as varying perspectives often approach business challenges in a new way.

The research that diversity in the workplace powers innovation and financial performance continues to stack up. Some studies have found that companies with pro diversity policies performed better and had greater resilience during the 2008 financial crisis. The reason for this is clear: more diverse companies have greater levels of innovation.

However, certain industries in particular (such as financial services) still have significant lack of representation of people of color, mainly at senior levels. Two factors contributing to this underrepresentation are the rate at which employees leave a company and the rate at which employees get promoted. As well, research conducted by McKinsey has found that women in particular have been negatively impacted by the pandemic as it has intensified preexisting challenges that working women already faced – such as finding childcare.

LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends report found that diversity is a key trend that has impacted the way organizations hire their people. According to the report’s findings, 78% of companies prioritize diversity to improve culture, and 62% of companies prioritize it to boost financial performance.

The report adds that companies making meaningful efforts towards diversity, equity, and inclusion, as well as providing a sense of belonging, have invested in their people through supporting employee resource groups (ERGs) and having a strong backing from their leadership teams.

 


The power of diversity, equity, and inclusion during a crisis
 

Over the last year, diversity and inclusion receded as a strategic priority for many organizations as they continue to address threats to business continuity and recovery. Workforces are more dispersed as some employees are working remotely while others are at – or returning to – the physical office or worksites. These new working arrangements can further exacerbate existing diversity challenges and highlight unconscious biases that may exist. Essentially, a dispersed workforce can distance employees and teams from one another, undermining inclusivity efforts and initiatives that existed in the traditional working environment.

Making organizational change last


Recent events have sparked important conversations around racial bias and social injustice, calling upon institutions and organizations to do their part in taking meaningful action. However, new LinkedIn data shows that companies talked about diversity in June 2020, but that discussion began to decline just a few months later. Businesses need to take this opportunity to not only continue the conversation, but to implement and uphold more impactful strategies to see real, lasting change within their organization.

Hiring for diverse backgrounds and promoting diversity initiatives is only a first step. Diversity, equity, and inclusion go hand-in-hand, and to experience real organizational change, companies must build a truly inclusive work culture. This means extending initiatives beyond the hiring process and providing equal opportunity and treatment throughout every touchpoint of the employee experience.

Diversity can be defined as a measure of difference in identity; things like gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, ability, or religion. Inclusion is a respect for and appreciation of these differences – the deliberate act of welcoming and valuing diversity and equity. Here are some tips and action items to help managers and HR leaders build on their existing DEI efforts or develop new ones for the first time.

 



Be aware of unconscious bias


Understanding bias and building awareness is a first step towards real change. According to Associate Dean and Director of Office of Inclusion, Belonging, and Intergroup Dialogue at Stanford University Mohammad Bilal, there are a couple of different forms of bias. The first is unconscious bias, which can include associations or feelings of bias that may be hidden underneath the surface. Bilal explained to the audience at INSIGHTS 2020 that unconscious biases do not necessarily align with our conscious beliefs or declared beliefs, which means unconscious biases are even more important to pay attention to.

Leaders can start addressing this by helping employees understand how individuals are impacted by unconscious bias, and what actions continue to reinforce biases. One way to build awareness and address unconscious bias is to encourage every employee to review, question, and analyze their own personal biases and assumptions.

Bilal underscored the importance of leaders and employees keeping a thought journal to process their own biases. Recording instances of stereotyping as they occur will help people become more aware as they start to make those biases more conscious. This will help people observe when they begin to stereotype individuals so they can refute and replace biases.

 

Communicate the importance of managing bias
 

Cultural humility is another way leaders and employees can manage bias and foster more inclusive environments. This concept involves remaining curious and humble about cultural differences. Bilal emphasizes the importance of understanding that no one is an expert, but is on a continuous learning journey when it comes to respecting and embracing other people's experiences and realities. Becoming culturally competent, Bilal adds, is a lifelong practice.

One way organizations can help employees manage their own bias is by leveraging technology and training that provides guidance on actions for moving forward. Joelle Emerson in Harvard Business Review suggests that a concern with diversity or unconscious bias training and teaching is that people can become defensive, and using technology can help alleviate that concern.

“Training can be designed to reduce defensiveness by explaining that we don’t have unconscious biases because we’re bad people – we have them because we are people,” she explains. The article adds that internal bias training is an effective way to inspire change and higher understanding amongst employees, citing Google’s internal training findings as one example.

 

Faces From Around the World

Celebrate Diversity
We Are America: Love Has No Labels

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Diversity: Differences Are Essential

LGBTQ Human Rights: Why They Matter

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

Happy People Dancing Around the World 2006

Lean on Me: Playing for Change

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

What the World Needs Now

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace


 

Promote pay equity
 

Managers must level out the playing field and provide fair opportunity for each employee. Organizations can leverage analytics to identify which employees are underpaid for similar roles or responsibilities. For example, people analytics can help managers pinpoint any pay gaps that may exist within their team, and leaders can assess patterns within various departments to get to the root of underlying issues. This insight can help identify patterns or trends that may exist where certain groups of employees like people of color, for example, are being underpaid within certain areas of the business.

Develop a strategic training program
 

Diversity training helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work and interact at work. It can cover anything from concepts of time and communication styles to self-identity and dealing with conflict. Diversity training that is offered as optional tends to be more effective than that which is made mandatory.

Companies should also focus on training that’s relevant to their specific organization and employees, and that aligns with their broader diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and identified challenges. In addition to using internal resources, partnering with a consultant can help leaders build customized training programs for both the organization as a whole, as well as those that are function-specific.

It’s critical that leaders are clearly communicating why training is taking place, problems you’re trying to solve, and what comes next. This will help keep people motivated and also help them understand how the learnings tie back to broader company goals.

 

Acknowledge holidays of all cultures
 

One way to build awareness of diversity and foster greater inclusivity is to be aware of and acknowledge a variety of upcoming religious and cultural holidays. When closing out a team call or meeting, if the audience isn’t too large, ask how people what their plans are to celebrate the holiday. Use your company’s intranet to help employees become aware of and keep track of multicultural religious or holiday celebrations. Be respectful of these days when scheduling meetings, and understand that employees have different needs that may require flexibility.

Make it easy for your people to participate in employee resource groups

 

In a Wall Street Journal article, LinkedIn’s Rosanna Durruthy discussed leveraging employee resource groups (ERGs) as an opportunity to grow and develop talent, and help managers learn from these groups in a safe space. ERGs help build a culture of connection and belonging. Building on this, in addition to leveraging ERGs, employers can make it easy for all employees to participate, whether it be creating a differing pay code for easy time tracking for ERG meetings, or asking employees to share initiatives or projects the ERG is focused on. Provide a toolkit or guidelines that employees can follow to encourage them to set up a new ERG.

Getting senior leaders on board is also critical. An executive and/or leadership sponsor can not only help to increase visibility, innovation, and awareness, but can also help align ERG activities with business goals. Additionally, commitments from senior leaders signal a wider, organizational commitment to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion practices.

  

 

Mix up your teams


Jacob Morgan, author of “The Employee Experience Advantage” said a key part of diversity is understanding and learning from different voices, experiences, values, and cultures. Morgan likened team diversity to focusing on all 64 squares in a chess game instead of getting stuck on one aspect of the board, or where you happen to be playing. In the context of the workplace, getting stuck is similar to focusing only on a particular geography, or your own department or team.

A diverse cross-section of talent allows enhanced perspective, which will spur creativity on teams. If your team is homogeneous, invite someone who is a different gender, cultural background, or age, to weigh in on an initiative or project.

Much has been written about how diversity in teams positively impacts creativity and innovation, and the case for an inclusive culture is only growing stronger. There’s value in experiences with multiple perspectives, which inspires novel thinking, connecting thoughts in new ways, and different approaches to problem-solving.

Facilitate ongoing feedback
 

Organizations can encourage their people to share their feedback to get a better understanding of what’s going on under the surface. Deploying pulse surveys across the workforce will arm leaders with the information needed to make smarter decisions and reduce or eliminate any patterns of discrimination or biases within a particular branch or area of the organization, for example. Anonymous feedback via an employee pulse survey can help build a case to take immediate action on smaller, more pressing issues as well as inform long-term strategies. HR leaders and managers can encourage employees to use engagement and check-in tools to facilitate conversations and transparently communicate about how they’re feeling.

 

Assess company policies
 

Employers will also need to assess areas of the business in which discrimination can exist. Company policies and interpersonal interactions (such as the way an internal issue is handled) plays a key role in perpetuating existing problems. Bilal explains that a main reason why employees leave an organization is a result of poor interpersonal interactions.

If employers start to rethink their policies, they can address and replace negative processes or interactions with more positive ones. Leaders first need to determine whether policies enable or perpetuate discrimination in the workplace such as racism or sexism and reshape them to move towards a more equitable workplace. “Policies live beyond people,” Bilal added.

A timely example, as noted in Ceridian’s 2021 Pulse of Talent, relates to working from home and the COVID-19 pandemic. The ability to work from home has largely been considered as a perk synonymous with flexibility. But after several months of remote working in crisis mode and with rapidly changing conditions, the current definition of workplace flexibility, and the policies that support it, are due for an overhaul.

True workplace flexibility should provide every employee with the opportunity to work fairly and equitably, whether they’re on-site, in the office, or working at home, says Ceridian CHRO Susan Tohyama in the report. Facilitating flexibility for all employees, she adds, helps to establish a more equitable and inclusive culture across the organization.

 

Track progress over extended periods of time
 

Diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts aren’t successful overnight. In fact, making structural changes to workforce strategies and systems can take many months, especially as businesses face new challenges around hiring and managing their people. A cultural shift takes time, which means organizations must set benchmarks and track their progress to assess how their efforts are moving the needle. This will not only show leaders what strategies are working, and which ones are falling short, but it will also help to hold them accountable in reaching their long-term goals.
 

Taking bolder action with diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts
 

While diversity, equity, and inclusion are at risk during a crisis or downturn, it’s important for companies to recognize the key role they play in recovery, resilience, and overall success in the future. Effective DEI strategies will help better support employees, build culture, and create a thriving business. Employees will feel more engaged as they show up to work every day – whether in person or online – feeling safe, connected, and heard.

Diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environments also appeal to candidates as they remain highly engaged in conversations about breaking down systemic discrimination and bias and are more likely to apply to companies that are outspoken about diversity. Organizations must assess how they stack up when it comes to their DEI programs and identify areas that need to be put into even greater focus. Most importantly, companies must recognize that diversity, equity, and inclusion is not an option or a “nice-to-have."  It’s a necessity.

[Source: Ceridian, January 2021]
 

Cultural Diversity: Making Music Together

A Place for Everyone

United: Playing for Change

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

UN Free and Equal: Be You

We Are America: Love Has No Labels

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

UN Free and Equal: Price of Exclusion

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

We Are All Equal

Around the World: Beautiful Women

McKinsey & Company: Diversity and Inclusion

Educators: When It Comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, We Can't Be Silent

Different Kinds of Families

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

Speaking Up for Inclusion
Defining a Diversity and Inclusion Messaging Strategy

What the World Needs Now

World Faces

 

Diversity Training

Human diversity is a normal, natural thing. We teach our kids that it is alright to be different, but we don’t tell them how different it is okay to be. Today, the most common place to study differences of the world is in the classroom. If children are to grow up prepared to live in a complex, multicultural society, more issues of diversity need to be discussed in the classroom. The issue of sexual orientation has become of great importance to today’s children. Researchers and social scientist suggest that 1 to 3 of every 10 students is either gay or lesbian, or has an immediate family member who is.

With the an increasingly diverse workforce and consumer market, and the rise of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workforce over the last decade, many employers struggle to help their established workforce adapt, and furthermore to bring new staff into the organization's culture.
 


 

In a 2006 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) survey, 76 percent of HR professionals indicated that their organizations provided training on diversity issues. SHRM broke diversity training into several categories: anti-discrimination training, diversity awareness training, cultural awareness training, diversity management/leadership training, diversity knowledge/skills-based training, or dimension-specific workshops.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation's records show that more than half of the Fortune 500 provide some form of diversity training that includes sexual orientation, and most of all the employers that prohibit discrimination based on gender identity have some form of related diversity training.

 


 

Apart from having an inclusive equal employment opportunity or non-discrimination statement, employers need to communicate these policies to all of their employees. But, in doing so, many employees will require guidance with basic information:

Who does this affect? The non-discrimination policy applies to everyone, including employees, job applicants, customers and clients.

What are we talking about? What do the terms "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" mean? How do those terms apply to everyone?

Why does the business care? Explain the business rationale. For example, "we want all employees to feel safe and comfortable so they can be productive." What laws come into play?

How does this affect us? How should we acknowledge people who differ from ourselves on these characteristics?

Preferably, most diversity training is done proactively, and many employers opt to go into greater depth with managers. However, employers may find an issue arise within a particular worksite or workgroup that requires follow-up.

 

 

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Diversity Journal: Moving From Diversity to Inclusion

LGBTQ Voices: Learning From Lived Experiences

Born Free and Equal

TED Talk: Inclusion Over Diversity

Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

Workplace Diversity Trends

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Diversity Doesn't Stick Without Inclusion

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees

We Are America: Love Has No Labels

Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter

Cultural Diversity: Stereotypes and Communication

 

Why Diversity and Inclusion Matter

 

Employees report experiencing trust and increased engagement at work when they both feel included and perceive that their employer supports diversity practices, such as recruiting diverse job candidates.

Strong diversity climates are also linked to reduced instances of interpersonal aggression8 and discrimination.


In a 2016 study, nearly two-thirds (65%) of employees felt that respectful treatment of all employees was a very important factor in their job satisfaction.

When a workforce reflects the racial/ethnic diversity of its consumer base, employee productivity increases.

 



Diversity in gender, country of origin, career path, and industry background are all highly linked to innovation among managers.

Teams that include different viewpoints or thinking styles (cognitive diversity) solve problems faster.


In a study on the decision-making behaviors of board directors, “deep-level diversity” (differences in background, personality, values) contributed to a higher degree of creativity.

Employees who feel included report higher levels of innovation and team citizenship.

Gender-diverse corporate boards are associated with more effective risk-management practices when investing in research and development (R&D).

Companies with gender-diverse boards have fewer instances of controversial business practices such as fraud, corruption, bribery, and shareholder battles.


Gender-diverse boards are also associated with better collection and transparent disclosure of stock price information, as well as fewer financial reporting mistakes.

 

 

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

As national politics and discourse seem to grow more inward-looking and divisive across America and Europe, successful businesses must continue to think inclusively and globally. Embracing cultural diversity in the workplace is an important first step for businesses that want to be competitive on an international scale.

From the Virgin Group to Disney and PricewaterhouseCoopers, organizations across industries are embracing the benefits of a diverse workforce. But with benefits necessarily come challenges of working across borders, cultures, and languages.

 

Benefits

--Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation
--Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable
--Cultural sensitivity, insight, and local knowledge means higher quality, targeted marketing
--Drawing from a culturally diverse talent pool allows an organization to attract and retain the best talent
--A diverse skills base allows an organization to offer a broader and more adaptable range of products and services
--Diverse teams are more productive and perform better
--Greater opportunity for personal and professional growth


 

Challenges

--Colleagues from some cultures may be less likely to let their voices be heard
--Integration across multicultural teams can be difficult in the face of prejudice or negative cultural stereotypes
--Professional communication can be misinterpreted or difficult to understand across languages and cultures
--Navigating visa requirements, employment laws, and the cost of accommodating workplace requirements can be difficult
--Different understandings of professional etiquette
--Conflicting working styles across teams

[Source: Katie Reynolds, Hult international Business School]

 

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

LGBTQ Voices: Learning From Lived Experiences

Speaking Up for LGBTQ Inclusion
Universal Declaration of Human Rights

TED Talk: Inclusion Over Diversity

Kids Around the World: Being a Boy or Girl

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Diversity in the Workplace: Global Intercultural Fluency

Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

We Are All Equal

United Nations: Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Rainbow Riots: Equal Rights

Wake Up Everybody

 

Diversity in Organizations

 

To ensure the success and satisfaction of all team members, it is critical to foster an organizational culture that is increasingly inclusive and participatory, which values the diverse ideas, experience and background of every individual, and empowers an innovative, flexible and resilient team. To this end, three elements are key: relevancy, diversity, and inclusion.

 

--Relevancy is achieved when all team members are able to establish a personal connection to the organization and find meaning and value in the mission of the organization.

 

--Diversity represents the practice of actively incorporating people of different backgrounds, perspectives, thoughts and beliefs throughout the organization to ensure that the overall team is advantaged by the best thinking possible. Diversity represents the wide range of visible and invisible differences and similarities that make each of us unique.

 

--Inclusion is the practice of intentionally building a culture that is flexible, that values diverse ideas, and embraces the meaningful participation of all.

 

[Source: National Park Service, Diversity Training Program]

 

New LGBTQ Workplace Has Arrived

Sia: Together

Forbes: Diversity and Inclusion

Educators: When It Comes to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, We Can't Be Silent

Benefits and Challenges of Cultural Diversity in the Workplace

Diversity is Useless Without Inclusivity

UN Free and Equal: Price of Exclusion

Diversity Journal: Moving From Diversity to Inclusion

Born Free and Equal

Workplace 2020: All Types of Diversity

Frozen II: International Voices of Elsa

Accelerated Conversations: Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

TED Talk: Inclusion Over Diversity

What the World Needs Now is Love Sweet Love

Faces: Can You See Past the Label?

Stand By Me: Playing for Change

UN Free and Equal: Be You

LGBTQ Rights: Human Rights Leaders Speak Out

Trends in Diversity and Inclusion

How to Create an Inclusive Environment for LGBTQ Employees

Respectability Politics: Can You Be Too Gay?

 

Improving Diversity and Inclusion

 

Diversity in the workplace statistics show that most companies need to desperately consider aspects of inclusivity to create a diverse workforce.

Mention diversity in the workplace and you’ll generally get a positive response from executives. That’s because most of them understand the many benefits of a diverse workforce. They know that innovation and terrific customer service are two key ways any company can stay competitive in tough markets and show consistent revenue growth.

And execs know a diverse workforce (in age, race, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, and gender) brings diverse viewpoints and perspectives to the company; these elements can help you develop great new products and great new ways to cater to customers. A recent Medium article (The Top 5 Diversity Workplace Statistics) shows the benefits of diversity include higher revenue, more innovation, better decision making, higher rates of job acceptance when you make offers to qualified candidates, and better performance than competitors.

Therefore many execs have no problem embracing policies, initiatives, and tools designed to increase levels of diversity among employees. A diverse workforce, however, is just the first step. That’s because diversity in the workplace does not necessarily mean inclusivity in the workplace. Yes, making diversity a priority is important; but so is the next logical step: creating a culture where people from all backgrounds feel included. Inclusivity is the key to actually maintaining (not just creating) diversity in the workplace.

When it comes to establishing and following through on a commitment to diversity and inclusion, however, you can have a big impact. Here are the ways you can support inclusion and diversity in your workplace.

 



Use the “Inclusive Workplace Model”
 

What’s the difference between diversity and inclusion in your workplace? If your company doesn’t score high inclusivity marks, you risk alienating some of your workforce.

For example, consider the employee who’s a native Spanish speaker but doesn’t feel entirely comfortable to speak any language other than English in workplace common areas. Or the breastfeeding mother just returning to work who has no space to pump her breast milk. Or the Muslim employee who feels insecure about maintaining his daily prayer routine on company grounds.

When your employees feel they have to hide or mask core parts of themselves at work because they feel unsure, unsafe, or invisible, it can take a toll on motivation, engagement, and (ultimately) employee retention and turnover rates.

Diversity in the workplace statistics show that most companies desperately need to consider aspects of inclusivity as part of their efforts to create a workforce that reflects a variety of backgrounds and experiences.

When your employees feel they have to hide or mask core parts of themselves at work because they feel unsure, unsafe, or invisible, it can take a toll on motivation, engagement, and (ultimately) employee retention and turnover rates.
 

Evaluate your executive team – Do they portray diversity and inclusion?
 

How diverse is your executive team? The makeup of your executive team is a huge signifier to the rest of your workforce (not to mention your customers, partners, and other stakeholders). The top management of a company speaks volumes about your culture.

Accordingly, it is essential to have diversity among top management that is diverse. Are men and women equally represented? What about people from various cultural and religious backgrounds?

A survey report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found among the Fortune 500 companies, only 24 CEOs are women, which represents just 5% of the total number of CEOs. The same report pointed out that, among the 500 CEOs, only three are black, another three are openly gay, and one identifies as a lesbian.

As an HR professional, you may not have much control over your executive team; but if you do have the means to make a case about diversity and inclusion to the C-suite, you should. And you can help your executives communicate with employees authentically and transparently.

A survey report from Boston Consulting Group (BCG) found among the Fortune 500 companies, only 24 CEOs are women, which represents just 5% of the total number of CEOs.
 

 

Acknowledge and honor multiple religious and cultural practices.
 

Introduce a policy for honoring a variety of cultural and religious practices. You can do this by focusing on holidays and celebrations. This Forbes article suggests designating a special refrigerator to keep Kosher food items separate, for example. And the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) notes some companies still give Christmas Day off, but also offer “floating holidays” to accommodate the religious preferences of all employees. (Speaking of Christmas, make your holiday party nondenominational.)  When employees feel satisfied with and supported in their work environment, the company benefits from higher employee retention.

Foster a company culture where every voice is welcome, heard, and respected


Most often employees quit jobs when they feel that their authentic self and uniqueness is not appreciated or valued. As such, it is vital to create an environment where they feel a sense of connectedness to the company and its people.

Employees need to feel free to express themselves based on their unique perspectives. Companies must make sure employees feel included and respected regardless of...

--age
--gender
--race
--religion
--sexual orientation
--physical conditions
--cultural background
--country of origin
 

When it comes to supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, don’t play favorites, practice basic courtesy, and pay special attention to how you can embrace non-discriminatory practices and policies. Employees feel included when they feel “safe” to voice their concerns and opinions without fear of victimization. The freedom of expression without fear also empowers companies to not just listen to but also actively embrace diverse viewpoints.

One great way to do this is to invest in a workforce communications platform. By integrating all your communications channel into one platform, you will reach each worker on their preferred channel. You will truly help your workforce feel connected and included in larger company initiatives and goals. Also, you will gain insights from unified analytics to understand how best to meet their needs and help them thrive. And you’ll provide a personalized employee experience that is inclusive and allows all voices to be heard.

 

Open a dialogue about gender pay inequality
 

Want a culture of inclusion built on trust and transparency? Get ready to talk about gender and potential pay disparities, and possibly reveal some of the company’s data points around compensation.

Gender pay equity is a big point of contention at many companies. Workforce trust and a sense of inclusion are built around a company’s transparency in its policies and communication about those policies. For companies that have gender pay imbalance, it is important to open the communication channels so that employees can give their feelings and opinions. Additionally, present to them with clarity, the strategy the company is or will be using to address the gap. That way, they will feel safe knowing that the company is committed to taking action to bridge the gender pay gap.

It is crucial to avoid being defensive in presenting your company’s data around such policies. If data is skewed for a variety of factors (such as maternity leave vs. untaken paternity leave, for example), explain this the employees in a straightforward, clear way. Gender pay equity is a big point of contention at many companies. Workforce trust and a sense of inclusion are built around a company’s transparency in its policies and communication about those policies.

Welcome a multilingual workforce


Imagine being part of a working environment where almost everyone regularly speaks a language not native to you? If you truly want everyone to feel included, make sure you take into account language barriers and preferences. Global companies deal with this sort of thing all the time; let’s say they have different teams, working in different countries, speaking the same language … but they want to invite all those teams to participate in a virtual event. What language should be spoken by the person who introduced that event? What language will your CEO make her speech in?

Global companies know to offer translation services so that everyone can understand what’s being said and also feel included. (If the CEO speaks multiple languages, she might opt to leverage that in her speech as well.) But just as important in small companies is simply to make sure everyday employees feel secure and comfortable communicating in whatever language they find most suitable for them, especially in common areas or during company-sponsored or sanctioned events.

As a long-term approach, having a multilingual workforce may call for educational opportunities for workers to learn other languages. This might sound prohibitively expensive but think of it as an investment that yields returns in due time.

It is also a good idea to consider applicants’ language skills during the recruitment process. For example, with the same qualifications, it might make more sense to hire an individual who speaks more than one language.
 

 

Foster diverse thinking


When you make an effort to hire for diversity, you put your company in a good position to think in culturally diverse ways. But for diverse viewpoints to really stick, you must account for inclusivity.

This is important because different people from different backgrounds and generations sometimes have vastly different perspectives on all sorts of issues, from what they choose to wear to work, to how they compose an email, to the kind of feedback they give on employee reviews, to what kinds of ideas they pitch in meetings. So it’s not just important for an individual employee or even a small team or department to understand thinking patterns; it’s also important that they know and understand how other people at the company think.

Embracing diverse thinking is useful in generating ideas and getting useful feedback while at the same time creating an environment where everyone feels relevant and part of a shared mission.

Build a multigenerational workforce
 

Today, millennials make up the vast majority of the workforce. Having a workforce that recognizes and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce. And while millennials are generally known for being tech savvy, bear in mind this generation encompasses ages 22 to 38. The older millennials might not have the same proficiency with tech tools as their younger counterparts.

You can really see this at work in communications practices. Sometimes certain employees are more comfortable using social channels, for example, or group chat functions. On the other hand, employees of older generations might not embrace such communications channels so readily.

Again, communications professionals can invest in a workforce communications platform to easily and efficiently create and send messages via channels that employees prefer; this will help communicators craft messages that will appeal to all generations, and encourage engagement. Having a workforce that recognizes and accommodates multiple generations is essential in building a diverse and inclusive workforce.

 

Reflect everyone’s needs and preferences at everyday gatherings
 

In addition to holiday parties, many offices celebrate minor holidays (like Halloween) or events like birthdays. Whenever you have even a casual company event, be sure to include food and beverages that everyone can eat and drink. For instance, include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks during events, and you may want to avoid hosting offsite events at bars. (Happy hours can be held in bar/restaurant spaces.)

Also, not everyone likes to celebrate birthdays, so be sure to ask the employee what he or she prefers (and never reveal the employee’s age or year of birth). Make sure employees know such events are optional. For example, some employees may suffer from intense shyness and would panic at the thought of having to attend a work-sponsored karaoke event.

This doesn’t mean you have to forgo small, ordinary celebrations altogether. But asking proper questions about preferences and offering a variety of food and drink options will go a long way in making such experiences more inclusive.

Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies


A Harvard Business Review survey found that 75% of respondents found that superficial policies and language was insufficient to truly institute real change. They believed that leadership commitment and strengthening anti-discriminatory policies were critical. Also, every organization is different, so a tailored approach makes sense for success.

Make your workspaces inclusive


You can establish gender-friendly bathrooms and restrooms and also set up dedicated nursing rooms for mothers. (Mothers should not have to book a conference room or hide in the bathroom.) A nursing room needs a door that locks, a comfortable chair, covered windows, proper ventilation, and a special refrigerator to store the pumped milk.

 

Eliminate bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities
 

A large body of research shows that the hiring process is unfair and full of bias. Much of it is unconscious sexism, racism, and ageism. If left unchecked, it can harm your company. Iris Bohnet, director of the Women and Public Policy Program at the Harvard Kennedy School and author of What Works: Gender Equality by Design explains, “Seeing is believing… If we don’t see male kindergarten teachers or female engineers we don’t naturally associate women and men with those jobs, and we apply different standards” when we hire, promote, and evaluate job performance. “Managers have to learn to de-bias their practices and procedures.”

Some strategies to combat bias include:

--Rewriting job descriptions so they are gender neutral and use words that strike a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs
--Create a blind system of reviewing resumes so you don’t see “demographic characteristics”
--Set diversity goals as an organization, which will help you track your progress
 

Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups
 

The annual pulse survey is common among companies, but many neglect to segment that data according to gender, generation, ethnicity, geography, and others. By only looking at total numbers, HR pros may miss the whole picture and an opportunity to identify issues pertaining to those groups.

Use independent groups to conduct focus groups


Focus groups are a good way to collect qualitative data and gain deeper insights into employees. By using an outside facilitator, employees may be more comfortable speaking freely, and the outside company will maintain a neutral position.

Personalize one-on-one discussions


One of the best ways to learn what employees care about is one-on-one talks with their manager. In order for these discussions to truly be effective, managers must have an “open door” policy. Workers need to feel comfortable in speaking their mind honestly and openly. Managers (and leaders in general) can do this with authentic executive communications. By showing they too are human, employees will feel comfortable speaking up and trusting their leadership.

[Source: Social Chorus, December 2020]

 

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