Diversity and Inclusion Activities for the Workplace

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Diversity and inclusion are two terms that received an increased amount of attention in the last years, especially in the organisational context. Growing consideration has been attributed to these terms to raise awareness of neurodiversity and have a better understanding of how workplaces deal with diversity and inclusion activities which are meant to keep employee’s engagement high. This article will address several activities that may help promote diversity and inclusion in modern organisational environments. Furthermore, other essential aspects, such as the importance of having a diverse and inclusive workplace and who is responsible for creating this work setting will be discussed.

Why are diversity and inclusion important in the workplace?

In order to have a better knowledge of activities that promote diversity and inclusion in the modern workplace, it is important to understand the terms and their importance. Researchers stated that it is hard to have a single definition, but the wider picture represents “diversity” as being different, including both visible and not visible individual features. On the other hand, “inclusion” has been defined as the way organisations and their members engage and treat individuals who are different. Taking into consideration that being diverse is context-dependent and implies having other individuals around you to have a comparison, it is significant to understand the importance of having diverse and inclusive workplaces. Therefore, by creating work environments where employees are valued, respected, listened to, and have a feeling of belonging, organisations will continue to prosper and reach their goals. Other benefits of diversity and inclusion may consist of an increasing number of employees (especially women and minorities), which may lead to increased globalisation of business markets, a growth of multinational companies which may positively influence diverse cultures, improved interaction among team members due to immigration and abroad recruitment, increased commitment from employees, enhanced employees’ confidence, morale, and job satisfaction, and so on.

Activities to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace

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Therefore, what should the organisational culture do in order to achieve the above-mentioned benefits? Here is a list of six activities that may help employers support their employees to remain engaged, focused, and fulfilled.

Create a snapshot board

Considering statistics, it has been found that board diversity snapshots deal with increasing pressure to prioritise the recruitment of minorities. For example, it has been observed that the number of racial/ethnic diverse individuals who are new directors has increased 22% in the past ten years. Moreover, minority women have also made greater improvements over the past ten years.

Diversity calendar celebration

Diversity calendars include a combination of religious celebrations, equality, diversity, and inclusion-related events. Having diversity calendars in the workplace may involve team members being ready to make reasonable modifications to working hours, and approaching at the same time a supportive manner. This activity may benefit employers and employees by respecting other individuals’ needs and wishes.

Disability awareness training

Disability awareness training may include more than one activity and it should be perceived as an umbrella term. Researchers claimed that diversity training programmes had been one of the most important features in diversity management. Having these types of programmes, it may promote harmony in the workplace, improve cross-cultural communication, develop transferable skills and so on.

Icebreaker questions

Icebreaker questions may be used in the modern workplace in order to confront biases and develop a more diverse and inclusive environment. Using these types of activities may shape your perspective to understand different points of view and take decisions through a diversity and inclusion lens. Thus, icebreaker questions represent a useful way to mitigate personal and organizational biases.

Learn what has shaped people in your workplace

Highlighting the complexity involved in learning what has shaped people in modern workplaces, it is essential to understand individuals’ psychosocial backgrounds. Therefore, having in mind organisational behaviour and diversity management are some of the most important factors in keeping employees’ engagement high. Professionals need to be aware of these practices and they should have and apply the knowledge for providing support to specific individual needs.

Walk in someone else’s shoes

Understanding that people can differ from each other in terms of physiological gender appearance, skin colour, age or physical disabilities represents the first step of walking in someone else’s shoes. Thus, being aware of these differences may help employers and other team members help employees who do not feel they belong to feel they actually belong to that workplace; also, it may help individuals who already feel they belong to continue to do so.

Considering this short list of activities that may help organisations maintain feelings of inclusion and belonging among their employees, could represent an impressive number of potential advantages for modern work settings. Existing literature focuses on these benefits associated with inclusion, highlighting improved organisational practices and organizational goals. Moreover, statistics demonstrate how diversity and inclusion activities in the workplace have positively contributed to employees’ engagement and satisfaction.

Who is responsible for inclusion and diversity in the workplace?

Another significant aspect that should be discussed is about people who are responsible for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. First of all, it should be made clear that being responsible does not involve having control over who fits in the organisation and who does not. It is more about how employers make individuals perform their best in the organisational setting. This requires leaders who are aware of the concept of inclusion and leaders who are proactive and committed. This responsibility involves the organizational culture adopting a new mindset considering differences between people and new approaches to treating employees. However, it should not be ignored the fact that not only employers are responsible for inclusion and diversity in the workplace. In contrast, all individuals who are contributing to the specific work setting should be made aware of this responsibility.

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This article aimed to offer a better understanding of why inclusion and diversity are important in the modern workplace, why individuals should be interested in this, and how to become more inclusive. It is essential to understand that being inclusive is not something “nice” to be done, rather is something that must be done because it has benefits for both organisations and employees.

Related Links

Characteristics and traits of a diverse workplace
How to find inclusive employers
Why diversity makes better business sense
How to create inclusive workspaces
Employer workplace needs assessment

Blog Author

Oana Gherasim