By Expedi USA, December 21, 2021

How employers are making workplaces more inclusive and equitable?

It is the sort of question which is not inquisitive. Instead, it leads into the answer like a river into the ocean! Coming to the answer, employers are always doing something or the other to make work and workplace inclusive, diverse and equitable. Like the melting pots of New York and California in mini avatars! Their idea of a perfect workplace is one where a mingling, tingling mixture of diverse races and languages all speak in the universal language of love and camaraderie that everyone understands.

What employees think matters! Employers across the globe know that a diverse and equitable workplace reflects in many ways—increased innovation, everybody is quick when it comes to problem-solving, far greater engagement is ensured. More money is shown on the balance sheet at the end day. Women of color and ethnic minorities get their place in the office environment under the sun. The LGBTQ, too! Companies are investing and are actively engaged in giving representation to diversity. But, says a Harvard University study, very little has been done in real terms, actually—as much as 75% of employees of “underrepresented groups” aren’t convinced there is earnestness in the attempts. Mostly, the efforts have been insufficient, perhaps even halfhearted.

Striking a balance It boils down to what steps can be taken to tailor the system to increase diversity in the recruitment process. It is an effort to balance diverse candidates and current employees. The workplace should not erupt in differences at the slightest visibility of diversity.

Top-down First things first, the three—diversity, inclusivity and equity—should be embraced top-down, meaning top management should be committed to the resolve. The different cultural backgrounds should be evenly spread at the maximum levels of the company. Like the wise lady executive said, “Diversity attracts diversity.” That elicited kudos and smiles, too.

Freedom to express freely Managements must ensure policies are in place to encourage employees to express themselves freely, without fear or hesitation. Nothing should impact employees adversely. Motivation and engagement should lead to retention and enhanced turnover.

Conditions for diversity The workplace model for an inclusive work environment should straightaway indicate that diversity is the priority and the goal. The model should preferably have these features… A flexible work schedule, work-from-home option, robust telecommuting policy, reimbursement of reasonable business expenses Anti-discrimination/anti-harassment policies that are legally up-to-date An inclusion body made up of diverse employees Dedicated nursing rooms for new mothers Onsite daycare Gender-pay equality Meditation/prayer room Holidays according to diverse religious practices

Avoid implicit bias It is acknowledged that the hiring is highly biased, affected by “sexism, racism and ageism”. Employees should be informed of how to tackle and combat biases at work. One way to beat inclination is by concealing personal info on resumes. Personal information can influence decisions. A standardized set of questions should be used while interviewing candidates for a position in the company. It will limit personal biases. The interviewer will be objective and impersonal to the extent possible. Also, the decision-makers themselves should be a diverse bunch. Implicit bias is a dangerous thing. It causes hurt and the injustice of it all.

Two-in-the-pool-effect Companies should ensure that diverse candidates get jobs. There should be an adequate number of minority candidates for at least one to be selected. A single minority candidate may not fetch even that one candidate the job. Besides, unconscious bias should be eliminated. Companies use the “two-in-the-pool-effect” to get over this bias. The final pool should have at least two female candidates—the odds of hiring at least one female increase by leaps and bounds. That said, this policy shouldn’t be baked into the recruitment practice.

Bonus for recommending diversity Yet another way diversity is encouraged is by giving a bonus to employees who name diverse candidates to fill a job vacancy, like a $10,000 bonus for recommending a minority candidate—less for suggesting the name of a nonminority candidate. That should not mean a less qualified candidate should get preference. All other factors should remain the same. If companies make it a policy, even unwritten, to hire only Hispanics, it will be against the law and discriminatory.

Missing on leadership roles What should be addressed, however, is that despite all the good intentions and conscious efforts to keep the workplace diverse and inclusive with equity at its base, minorities, including women and persons of color, people of such representations, do not find themselves considered for lead roles, leadership positions. Somehow, willy-nilly, their candidature is set aside, and they don’t see themselves in the final pool of candidates for top management posts. But even on this score, hopefully, things are changing, and diversity and inclusivity are slowly but surely edging their way into the recruitment policies of companies and corporations.

Prospects The fact that big tech firms have embraced diversity and inclusivity is at their core is highly encouraging and promising. Jack Dorsey stepping down and Parag Aggarwal filling his shoes is, perhaps, another indication of diversity, inclusivity and equity finding their way into the consciousness of big corporations and big businesses. Someday, there will be black and Latina CEOs in the realm, not too far in the future. It is essential to recognize and remove bias and practice inclusive leadership.

Get your dream Job on ExpediUSA An inclusive and equitable workplace is good for both employees and the companies. For informative and educational blogs on career-related topics, you should visit ExpediUSA. It hosts a highly resourceful blog section that offers tips for interviews, group discussions, panel discussions, and a host of other issues.

Summing up Like the 110 meters hurdles in the Olympics, imagine the athlete who wins is followed by the person of a color hurdler. The last one past the finish line is another minority! But the thing that mattered was that diverse people participated and were cheered on. It is the same in the workplace. There are many people of color in the office—and many different accents. Also, persons of color are stepping out in high fashion. Jack Dorsey stepped down at Twitter, and the replacement CEO is the Indian-origin Parag Aggarwal, a person of color? Parag has been ten years in Twitter— in the same office set-up for a decade, rubbing shoulders with Dorsey and others of Dorsey’s ilk—white besides other colored, African-American and Hispanic.

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