By Joanna Samuels, M.Ed., Employment Resource Supervisor, REENA
The majority of articles in social media that cover the challenges of diversity and inclusion in the workplace agree that it’s much more than simply meeting the required quotas for employees based on race, gender, and disability. This blog will focus on four issues that will hopefully prevent and address any challenges that may occur when designing and implementing diversity and inclusion strategies in the workplace.
1. Acceptance and Respect
True diversity is when employees accept the differences between each other. It results in a sharing of ideas and effective collaboration. Acceptance fosters mutual respect and prevents conflicts from arising. It can include from the very beginning to establish an unbiased recruitment process from the job description, and the interview to the job offer. Training employees to develop empathy for others as well as to understand, accept, and respect each’s other’s differences and identify biases is very helpful. Staff need to make sure to keep their ethnic and personal beliefs independent of their work responsibilities and duties. Internal company policies with clear and objective regulations should be put in place to prevent employees from demonstrating prejudice.
2. Accommodations of Employees / Job Seekers with Disabilities
Often, employees with disabilities (including job seekers) have a difficult time navigating through the job interview or the workplace because of a lack of proper accommodations such as inaccessible entrances. Accommodations are key to ensuring an employee has what he or she needs to be successful on the job. For example, does an employee with Autism require a quiet room to gather his or her thoughts together when he or she feels anxious? Having an on-site job coach to help with the training and problem solving is a popular accommodation that employees supported by Reena utilize. Be supportive to your staff by focusing on their abilities and avoid discriminatory or derogatory remarks. Ensuring a fair and comfortable work environment for employees with physical and mental disabilities helps successfully create a more diverse workforce.
3. Developing, Communicating and Following Policies and Procedures
One way of dealing with some of the issues that stem from diversity in the workplace is to review existing company policies and training. If necessary, develop and implement new ones that are relevant to the specific issues. This can help diversity leaders establish a culture of acceptance within an organization. Diversity-related initiatives can be integrated into an organization’s mission statement and onboarding process.
4. Diversity Training Relating to the Issues
Include ongoing and mandatory employee diversity training relating to those issues that can benefit the company in many ways including productivity, retention, and engagement. Holding all staff from all levels accountable – for their actions (for example, non-compliance to the policy) is key. Addressing inappropriate behaviours should be addressed immediately.
For more information on how we can partner with your organization to help you can build an inclusive and diverse workforce, including CSR initiatives, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.