Many employers understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. But sometimes certain errors can be made when it comes to encouraging a diverse workplace. This post lists a few of these important dos and don’ts when it comes to workplace diversity.
Do Try to Be Open-Minded When Hiring
Sometimes discrimination while recruiting can occur subconsciously. You may find yourself skipping over applicants who otherwise have the skills and qualifications simply because of a personal bias. Try not to let a person’s age, gender, race, sexuality, class background or disability be a deciding factor. In fact, you should embrace the benefits that these differences could bring to your team – having lots of employees from different walks of life can help creativity to thrive and force employees to be more adaptable at working with different people.
Don’t Try to Meet a Diversity Quota
Some employers like to introduce a diversity quota to ensure that all demographics are represented within their team. However, this is typically not a fair or effective way to hire applicants. An employee could be more insulted if they are led to believe that they were hired based on their race or disability rather than their skills and experience. All in all, aim to build a team that is diverse and well qualified.
Do Try to Be Inclusive With Company Rules
Certain company rules could be viewed as discriminatory if you try to enforce them on certain people. For example, you cannot ask a Sihk employee to shave their beard or an orthodox jew employee to work on Saturday if it is against their beliefs. Some inclusion may go against health and safety (such as a crucifix necklace being a risk when working with machinery), in which case you need to weigh up which is more important. In some cases you may be able to find a happy medium (such as covering up piercings with plasters when working in a kitchen rather than having to take them out).
Don’t Ignore Workplace Accessibility
Encouraging diversity may include having to improve accessibility within your workplace. This is particularly important when it comes to allowing employees with disabilities to work within your premises. If your workplace is only accessible via stairs, consider whether you are able to build a lift or ramp. An easy access toilet could also be essential. If this is not feasible, make sure that such employees have the option to work from home.
Do Have a Policy for Dealing With Discrimination
As discovered in this diversity, equity and inclusion survey, 75% of respondents said that they had confidence that their employer would deal with any discrimination in an appropriate manner. Make sure that you have a policy in place for dealing with discrimination so that you can take action if an employee discriminates against a colleague. This could include giving warnings or dismissing employees for serious acts of discrmination.
Don’t Assume Certain Employees Require Certain Privileges
While it’s important that certain employees receive certain special treatment, you should always ask them what their preferences are first. Some employees who have minor disabilities may not want to be allowed to work from home if other employees cannot – make sure to respect their wishes.