By Ashley K. Taylor, D.B.A.
Faculty Member, School of Business, American Public University
Diversity and inclusion work together. The value of a diverse workforce is lost when the work environment is not inclusive.
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For instance, an organization may appear diverse, but its business practices may not demonstrate that same diversity. The culture of the organization may exclude certain groups from decision-making roles, allow microaggressions to run rampant, or blatantly disregard the opinions and contributions from certain groups of employees.
But achieving better diversity and inclusion takes time and effort. There are three ways that organizational leaders can achieve inclusion in the workplace.
#1: Perform an Organizational Assessment
Company leaders should make an honest evaluation of their current workplace. They should ask thought-provoking questions, such as:
- Is it diverse?
- Do the demographics of the workforce accurately reflect that of the community or population it serves?
- If not, why not?
#2: Schedule Routine Diversity and Inclusion Training
Diversity and inclusion training should be performed on a regular basis. The importance of valuing diversity should be integrated into the organization’s overall mission. The training should highlight recognizing and avoiding unconscious bias, respectful communication across cultures, and fostering an inclusive environment for all employees and leaders.
#3: Make Overt Displays of Inclusivity
Ensure employees can highlight and celebrate their diverse cultures and perspective. This goal can be accomplished in many ways.
For example, consider giving attention to cultural events as they arise throughout the year. Host a luncheon to celebrate the foods and histories of different cultures. Reach out to employees of various cultures, backgrounds, and experiences to get their ideas and include them in the decision-making process.
Diversity and Inclusion Results in More Satisfied and Committed Employees
Organizational leaders should create an inclusive environment that empowers employees through training, development, and opportunities for career advancement. Employees who feel they are valued are more likely to form a deeper connection to the organization’s mission, and that connection manifests in increased productivity and innovation. Overall, enhancing diversity and ensuring inclusion benefits both employees and the organization.
About the Author
Dr. Ashley Taylor is an Assistant Professor in the School of Business at American Public University. She has a D.B.A. from Northcentral University and a M.B.A. from the University of Phoenix. She has been a full-time faculty member at American Public University since 2008 and has spent over 14 years in higher education administration and management.
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