How to Talk about Diversity and Inclusion at Work

Hannah Greenwood | | Diversity and Inclusion

diversity and inclusion are important in the modern workforceIn 2019, diversity and inclusion has been a hot topic – one which can be delicate and, therefore, difficult to discuss. These issues require more than employee communications technology to be effectively addressed. What’s the most appropriate way to approach these topics within the workplace? A way that educates and recognizes differences without alienating anyone? Let’s dive in.

Most of us receive HR training that explains diversity and inclusion in depth when we first get hired at a new job. The question is, does it resonate? This training may seem like more of an obligation than authentic to the cause. Additionally, new hires go through so much training in those initial weeks, specific topics like D&I might not command as much attention as others.

We need to have more meaningful conversations about these subjects. New-hire documents and instructional videos rarely offer real-life testimonials and experience that help employees truly understand and internalize the information. We need the human interaction of one-on-one discussion to cultivate responsiveness.

“When you really listen to another person from their point of view, and reflect back to them that understanding, it’s like giving them emotional oxygen.”Stephen R. Covey

Here are some tips for addressing diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Educate yourself and your staff.

Provide information to employees that gives them a deeper understanding of why diversity and inclusion is important. Make sure you and your employees understand the dos and don’ts with various demographics – not just what they are, but the why behind them. Understanding is the first step to everyone accepting people who are different from themselves.

Be open minded.

Model open-mindedness to teach your employees. You may not agree with other people's lifestyles or religious beliefs, but you must remain neutral, understanding and respectful.

Enable open, non-judgmental discussion where employees can ask questions or address concerns.

options for discussing diversity and inclusion concerns should be flexible

Employers should consider in-person group discussions between HR and employees to help get everyone on the same page when it comes to diversity and inclusion. This should serve as a safe space for employees to ask important questions and speak about their concerns. Still, not everyone will be comfortable addressing their concerns in a group so one-on-one time with HR members and an anonymous-feedback system should be available too.

Be an advocate for minorities, women and employees of every background, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation.

When you support diverse people, it's reflected in the workplace. As an employer, be an example for employees and advocate for people who aren’t like you. Employees will learn to follow suit, and this will help with recruiting prospective hires.

Be sensitive and mindful.

If you already support diversity and inclusion in your workspace, make sure you remain mindful of how employees interact. Be sensitive to employees’ needs and preferences. Stay up to date with protocols for speaking to and treating everyone appropriately, regardless of their differences.

Discussing diversity and inclusion doesn’t need to be daunting. You can foster a new outlook within your corporate culture that makes an impact by utilizing employee communication tools like Flimp digital postcards and having productive conversations. When you begin a conversation that encompasses education, open-mindedness, advocacy, compassion and awareness, you help create a positive work atmosphere for all. Be the voice for your employees regardless of their differences. Your efforts will contribute to the overall progress in society.

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