Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: Best Practices for Employers and Recruiters

January 11, 2024

Diversity and inclusion are a business's policies and practices to ensure different types of people, or groups, are accepted within the workplace. With this in mind, businesses that focus on diversity and inclusion will hire a range of individuals who best reflect the diverse society we live in.


What is Diversity?

Diversity focuses on political beliefs, race, culture, sexual orientation, religion, class, or gender identity differences. In the workplace, a diverse team would consist of individuals who offer unique perspectives and backgrounds.


What is Inclusion?

Inclusion in the workplace would mean that all individuals in the diverse mix feel valued, respected and embedded in the company culture. Empowering your staff and recognizing their unique traits is part of creating an inclusive company.


Diversity and Inclusion Are Critical For Business Success

Diversity and inclusion are critical for a business's success because research has found that diverse businesses report nearly 20% higher revenue. Higher revenue also goes hand in hand with a happier and more productive workforce, with higher retention rates, Studies have found that diverse businesses enjoy over 2% higher cash flow per employee.

Bear in mind that when staff feel accepted within the business, they become more engaged with their work and are more likely to work hard for the business. This therefore enhances profitability and boosts team morale.

It has also been found that individuals working in inclusive workplaces tend to have improved physical and mental health, and in return, they take fewer sick days. When businesses support diversity and inclusivity initiatives, over 80 percent of millennials are actively engaged in their role.

Furthermore, companies that are in the top quartile for racial, ethnic, and gender diversity are found to have over a 20% higher chance of being more profitable than the national median for their industry.


Common Barriers To Diversity in the Workplace

Whilst diversity and inclusivity are critical for business success, there can be challenges in creating or building a diverse workforce.

The first step to building a diverse workforce is to look within your existing workforce and ask the business uncomfortable and critical questions that could bring about positive change. It is the responsibility of the HR department and individual managers to bring about this positive change by asking these vital questions. These groups in particular should undertake special training on diversity and inclusion to fully understand their importance before taking the appropriate action to move forward. This will then enable the business to make changes towards newly set diversity and inclusivity goals.

In addition, it could help to try and develop a policy for honoring a variety of cultural and religious practices. When workers perceive their business as committed to diversity and inclusion, the business benefits from higher employee retention.


Creating Inclusive Job Descriptions

Studies have found that recruitment processes are full of bias. A lot of this bias is unconscious sexism, racism, and ageism. If left unquestioned, your business could be harmed. It is important that recruiters and hiring managers de-bias their practices, which includes writing inclusive job descriptions.

For most businesses, the journey of writing more inclusive job descriptions starts with understanding which of their language choices can leave individuals feeling excluded or discriminated against.

In a job market where the demand for digital natives is high, it could be useful to understand instances of experience bias and ageism in job descriptions. Job descriptions need to be gender-neutral and use words that suggest a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs.

Gender Coding is the decision to rely on words or phrases that have in the past been linked with either gender. This can lead to a false impression about who the ideal candidate for the role could be.

For best practice, racial or cultural phrases that could be seen as offensive should only be used in a job description if they are completely relevant to the job role itself. For many job descriptions, they are not, so they should not be used.

To write inclusive job descriptions, your listing should encourage candidates of all backgrounds to feel welcome to apply.


How to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace?

Improved diversity and inclusion policies in your workplace will offer you better engagement and employee retention. To achieve this, businesses need to, analyze and take a look at the language being used in business documents, job descriptions, and across workforce communication. On top of this, by fostering diverse thinking across the business. Embracing diverse thinking is largely beneficial for the company in a multitude of ways.

Businesses need to make sure that staff feel included and respected despite of their age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, physical conditions, cultural background, or country of origin.

In conclusion, it is critical to create an environment where employees feel a sense of connectedness to the business and its people.