Home » How to Support Others to Promote Diversity, Equality and Inclusion
The need to promote equality, diversity and inclusion in the workplace is greater than ever, but knowing how to go about it can be tricky.
It’s down to HR departments and individuals such as diversity officers to implement schemes to promote a more inclusive and diverse workplace. However, without buy-in from all employees, such schemes may have only limited success, meaning that some groups of people may still experience discrimination.
If you want to do something about this by supporting such schemes in your office, you don’t have to be a militant campaigner for change in order to make a difference. In fact, simply being an advocate and supporting the drive for greater inclusivity, equality and diversity in your office can have such an impact.
If you’re eager to help you’re the designated equality and diversity personnel in your workplace make these positive changes, here are some ideas to get you started:
Understand what discrimination looks like
Key to being able to support greater inclusivity, equality and diversity is being able to spot when it isn’t happening. Familiarising yourself with discrimination and the different forms it can take will mean that you can spot if it happens, putting you in the position to be able to report the issue to management (especially useful if the person who’s suffered the discrimination doesn’t feel comfortable about reporting it themselves).
Do some background reading so that you understand what behaviour to look out for.
Discrimination can be more subtle than overt behaviour such as name-calling, inappropriate comments or sweeping generalisations about a person’s characteristics based on stereotypes associated with, for example, their:
- Sexual orientation
If you see it happening, make a note of the time, circumstances, people involved and what happened, and report it to your HR department and/or whoever is responsible for promoting diversity and inclusivity in your office.
Be the first to volunteer for company-wide events
Fun events are a great opportunity to promote diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, and you can help ensure that these events achieve their aims successfully by being quick to volunteer and get involved.
This will help encourage others to get involved too; many people are uncomfortable about being the first to sign up for something. For example, a company ‘Come Dine With Me’ inspired event with a focus on international cuisine would be a great way for people of different cultures to share their country’s cuisine with colleagues, but some may feel shy about putting themselves forward for this.
By volunteering yourself to go first, you’re effectively breaking the ice, and hopefully others will be more likely to soon follow suit.
Volunteer your help with recruitment events
Increasing diversity among new recruits is an important part of widening the demographics of a team, but committing to diversity goals as part of the recruitment process places extra burden on the HR department.
For example, encouraging job applications from as wide a variety of candidates as possible may mean ensuring that the job vacancy and your organisation as a whole is showcased to people who may not normally be aware of it. That requires further resources.
To help support the recruitment of a diverse set of candidates, volunteer your services in any way you can.
For example, you could help to compile statistics on the demographics of applicants, or you could volunteer your time to be a friendly face representing your company at a recruitment event designed to promote careers to a wider audience, acting as a company ambassador to whom potential candidates can ask questions.
It’s good to talk
The person who’s making these positive changes in your organisation will want to know how their initiatives are being received among employees. Employees often talk differently among themselves to how they talk to managers. You could therefore be a useful set of eyes and ears in gauging the level of engagement among your colleagues, as you may overhear comments or see behaviour that reflects staff attitudes that may not be obvious to senior management or HR. To this end, you could talk informally with colleagues about the changes being made, getting a feel for how they’re being received, and then reporting this back to the person or team responsible for increasing diversity and inclusivity.
Voicing your own ideas
Finally, you may also have your own ideas on how positive changes could be achieved in your office, in which case you could voice your own feedback.
You may have come up with ideas as a result of speaking to colleagues. For example, from discussing issues with your co-workers, you might feel that an anonymous staff survey might provide useful insights to the HR department or diversity officer, particularly if you suspect that colleagues may have experiences they wish to share but are too afraid or shy to speak up about them.
Alternatively, you might simply have a great idea for an event that would help further your organisation’s goals of being more inclusive and diverse. Whatever your idea, don’t keep it to yourself: your HR department almost certainly wants to hear your input, as government guidelines encourage actively involving all employees in achieving equality in the workplace.
The success of inclusivity and diversity schemes are reliant on everyone in an office being on board, both engaging with the scheme’s aims and getting involved in events. If you’re quick to support and champion these initiatives, you’ll help encourage your colleagues to get involved too – and the more people who are proactive in taking part, the more likely a scheme is to be successful. The end result is that everybody in your workplace will feel equally respected and valued – and that’s surely worth striving for.
- Equality & Diversity Quiz
- How Equality & Diversity Improves Your Workplace: Examining the Benefits
- Equality and Diversity Training
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Jordan mainly writes about business and mental health, having learnt to adapt to the business environment after graduating in Marketing Management. On the weekend you’ll find Jordan visiting friends that he wished lived closer and attempting to keep active.