In most businesses, diversity and inclusion are approached using a top-down strategy; however, bottom-up employee involvement is crucial to making any initiatives come to life.
First, it’s important to make a distinction between diversity and inclusivity. From a human resources point of view, diversity is mostly about representation, ensuring that an organization’s personnel reflects both the surrounding community and the customer base in terms of race, religion, gender, and other characteristics.
Inclusivity takes this a step further by ensuring that people from various backgrounds in an organization are suitably included in important conversations and decision-making. The idea is that just having diversity isn’t enough, and people from traditionally disadvantaged backgrounds must have “a seat at the table” in terms of status and influence.
You and other workers may be wanting to take part in the process but don’t have the know-how and confidence to act. Below are several approaches to play a role and support diversity and inclusion efforts that do not necessarily call for status or expertise.
6 Ways To Support Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives as a Co-Worker
1) Understand Company Policy
It is important to be aware of the inclusivity vision and goals of your company. Asking leadership how it connects to overall business objectives can help. Dedicate yourself to the process by finding out how diversity affects your position and how your position affects the results of inclusivity initiatives.
2) Be Active
If your company has a committee for diversity and inclusivity, ask to join it. If it does not, ask to start one. Also, Look at becoming a mentor or entering into a co-mentoring partnership. These steps call for a time commitment, but they represent an important opportunity for professional and personal development.
3) Educate Yourself
Invest time to find out about different cultures, religions, backgrounds, and points of view. Take an interest in your coworkers’ background and traditions. It is okay not to know everything right away. Make a point to acquaint yourself with culturally sensitive terminology. If you are not sure, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you don’t know how to discuss a topic.
4) Keep an Open-Mind
Commit yourself to consider ideas that happen to be different from your preconceived notions and support ideas that seem unconventional to you. More diversity means more creativity, but only if new, unconventional ideas that can improve a process are seriously considered. Being more open can also make your job more fascinating and fun.
5) Support Equal Input
Keep in mind who is dominating the conversation and who seems to be getting cut off. There is a whole lot of power in speaking up for others and amplifying voices that have trouble being heard.
When you can, help underrepresented peers to speak at conventions, teach others, appear in promotional material, and so forth.
6) Be an Ally
Allyship is a powerful way to make underrepresented people feel safe and confident, relieving any fears related to being in the minority.
Allyship often isn’t comfortable, as true allies speak up when it is uncomfortable to do so. For instance, you may hesitate to call out non-inclusive language for fear of possible repercussions. However, change starts with discomfort. Just make sure your actions as an ally match the company’s vision for allyship.
We Can Help You Find a Workplace that Supports Inclusivity
If you are currently looking for a more inclusive workplace, you can help you find one. Please contact ZDA today to learn more.