July 15, 2020
By Brett Beveridge, South Florida Business Journal
Look around your business. Scan the faces of the people that work within your walls. Think about vendors that you support or come in contact with daily. Do they all look alike, sound alike, or have the same preferences? If you’ve watched or even joined recent protests against racism, hopefully it’s pushed you to re-evaluate your company’s makeup. Most likely, we’ve all discovered places where we can do better.
A diverse company is made up of different ethnicities, genders, ages and sexual orientation. The result is a group with differing ideas, perspectives and ways to accomplish results. Over the years, I’ve reaped the personal and professional benefits of employing people from various backgrounds. It gives your company a competitive edge, increases innovation and ultimately ensures success. Diversity and inclusiveness shouldn’t be viewed as a trend, but a top priority and a foundation of business. Here are five ways to create a workplace for everyone.
1. Education in the workplace
Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” Mistakes in the workplace, from improper comments to actions, often stem from a lack of knowledge and understanding. While every company must enforce tough policies against discrimination and inequality, education is also critical. A training component focused on diversity and inclusion can offer employees the understanding of fair practices and highlight appropriate behavior in the workplace. I would also suggest creating an inclusion committee comprised of employees of different ethnicities, gender, ages, disabilities and lifestyles. You want this group to be organic and authentic, so they can help you mold and craft genuine initiatives around equality and inclusion. Depending on your situation, outside help may be necessary to assess company culture and create a solid foundation of inclusiveness. One thing to note, you don’t want people to be afraid to come to work for fear that they may say or do the wrong thing. Through regular training, you can help instill understanding and thoughtfulness.