From Revaluation to Making Changes — How Businesses Can Boost DE&I in the Workplace

re-evaluation
Diverse companies had a 19% higher innovation revenue, according to one study from Harvard Business Review. While additional benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace include increase in creativity and innovation, many businesses out there haven’t been quick to integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), highlighting a need for positive change. From the value of DE&I to how a business can work towards creating a more diverse and inclusive environment — such as through eliminating unconscious bias in everyday practices — here’s what you should know.

The importance of revaluation

Boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace wields a variety of unique benefits, such as the ability to gain multiple perspectives, generate a multitude of unique ideas, and higher employee engagement. One way to do this effectively is to reassess processes that can be unfair to individuals. For example, a large body of research highlights that the hiring process is often full of bias and generally unfair, with applicants with white sounding names being 50% more likely to receive interview requests than those with black sounding names. Through simply implementing positive changes, companies are better able to boost their diversity and inclusion, and can be done in a way that mitigates issues like unconscious bias. 
While software programs such as Unbiasify Chrome Extension allow recruiters to remove visibility of names and photos from sites like LinkedIn in order to prevent issues regarding unconscious bias, other efforts, such as changing the hiring process entirely so that it better promotes inclusion also offers a positive solution. At Microsoft, for instance, managers realised that individuals with autism weren’t getting hired — despite having the knowledge needed. “We discovered that the problem was the interview process, so we did away with that process entirely for candidates with autism,” says Jenny Lay-Flurrie, the company’s chief accessibility officer, told Harvard Business Review. Making the hiring process as accessible as possible, such as through offering remote interviews, or by streamlining the process for individuals with disabilities are additional considerations worth taking when reassessing such practices as well.

Cultivating a positive (and inclusive) work environment

While using software that helps to eliminate unconscious bias and altering the hiring process to accommodate candidates can aid greatly in promoting diversity in the workplace from the start, cultivating a positive environment that caters towards DE&I is essential. While pay equity can help when it comes to issues like the gender pay gap, acknowledging all holidays will aid in including employees of all cultures. Additionally, providing DE&I training can help in promoting a positive and supportive workplace that’s comfortable for all. 
Only 21% of employees with disabilities disclose their disability at work, underlining just how important it is to cultivate a workspace where employees feel comfortable in being themselves, and one where their differences are embraced and celebrated. This can be done in several different ways, such as by providing accessibility throughout the workplace or a workplace support network. For those with cerebral palsy, for example, having access to resources like the Cerebral Palsy Family Network, or CPFN, ensures that they’re able to access a community of individuals who are going through the same challenges in addition to the ability to ask questions and access additional resources on CP. However, it’s important to realise that a support network can be cultivated among employees as well, such as through providing training in disability inclusion.
Boosting diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace can be a challenging task to accomplish, though it’s not impossible. Through the revaluation of policies and by cultivating a positive and inclusive workplace culture, boosting DE&I can be made simpler for all.

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