Cultivating diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace is a significant step toward building a supportive and trusting workplace culture. With DEI, any team member, regardless of their level and role, will be able to learn from a variety of experiences, thoughts, and perspectives that can add meaningful and lasting value to the company. While there is no one size fits all approach, there are core tenets to DEI that can help you on your journey. Here are 5 tips to help cultivate DEI in your workplace.
1. Educate Organizational Leaders
No matter how “flat” your organization might be, leadership still sets the tone. The actions and perspectives of your leaders set the tone for other employees and ultimately the culture of the workplace. It is imperative to educate leadership about unveiling biases to embrace diversity and increase equity and inclusion. Invest in training and programs that will help leaders and managers recognize DEI and implement it through their leadership.
2. Create a DEI Committee
While companies have an HR department that largely addresses workplace issues, cultivating DEI needs focus, attention and bandwidth. Concerns, challenges, suggestions, and solutions to implement steps toward DEI must have a home in the organization. If your org is not ready to make full-time DEI hires, a Committee can be a helpful place to start.
3. Create Not Only a Safe Space but a Brave Space
More than just a safe space, we must also create “brave” spaces in the workplace. For DEI to be experienced in a meaningful and productive way, there must be a place where people are comfortable to grow, learn, and share their experiences. Brave spaces are those that foster support where DEI concerns are heard, valued and embraced. Remember, no space can be “safe” for all people – one person’s safety may not look like others. When we can be brave, we encourage vulnerability and accountability and we can navigate tensions together.
4. Celebrate Differences
The diversity of a workplace contributes to the level of creative problem solving, adaptability, and productivity of an organization. Diversity is an asset, and should be celebrated. Dig deep – don’t settle for surface celebrations of culture and identity. Include new voices in the conversation and get curious about what brings joy and celebration for different people.
5. Build Stronger Communication
Roundtable discussions, open forums, surveys, and other avenues to strengthen communications between leaders and employees will help build DEI in the workplace. Valuable change begins when everyone knows they are being genuinely heard. Communication is not a one-way, or even a two-way street — it is a roundabout. Share candidly and transparently about the journey, while you continue to collect feedback and perspective.
Plant the Seeds of Change
Cultivating workplace DEI is similar to planting a seed: we must prepare the soil upon which the plant must take root. By following these 5 tips to cultivate DEI in your workplace, we are laying the foundation for beautiful and rewarding growth.