Diversity and inclusion initiatives and departments have been the hottest topic in the corporate world for the past few years. However, equitable workplaces aren’t just crucial for giant organizations with 1000+ employees but businesses of every size.
Supporting cultural diversity and inclusion look different in every organization. But hiring a diverse workforce, fostering inclusion, and maintaining top talents is a tough row to hoe, especially for small and medium-sized businesses.
So, here is a simple seven-actionable guide to ensure your small business is fostering diversity and inclusion:
The Role of Diversity and Inclusion in Small Businesses
Diversity and inclusions (D&I) are vital in the workplace, irrespective of the size. And a growing research data is dictating solid proof that a diverse workforce leads to more innovation, employee engagement, retention, and satisfaction.
Businesses today emphasize diversity and inclusion because it:
- Boost creativity: More diverse points of view and unique experiences contribute to your company’s success. When you’re actively inclusive, you’re 1.7 times more likely to be a leader in your field.
- Recruit and Retain Top Talent: Having a more inclusive firm attracts better individuals who work for you longer. According to a study, 67 percent of job searchers think workplace diversity is essential when considering employment prospects.
- Growing your business Quicker and Making More Money: There is mounting evidence that diversity offers your organization a competitive advantage and helps you generate more money. In fact, you’re 35% more likely to outperform the national sector average in terms of financial returns.
But, how can you foster diversity and inclusion in your small business?
How to Foster Diversity and Inclusion in Small Businesses?
Despite the fact that small firms lack the resources of large corporations, they are better positioned to integrate diversity and inclusion into their workplace culture from the start. Here are the top 7 ways you can foster diversity and inclusion in your work culture:
Update Your HR Policies for Better Inclusion
Ensure that your HR rules, policies, and employee handbook have been updated to non-discrimination based on gender identity, secular orientation, and gender expression. Furthermore, verify your benefits and ensure no stereotypical roles or genres are at play.
The parameters of your parental leave program are one way this might manifest. Regardless of gender or sexual orientation, all parents should be eligible for parental leave. Allow workers to identify caregiver status, including adoptive parents. Allow your employees to choose their job if your company offers a tiered parental leave scheme. Make no assumptions.
Also, encourage a culture that values parental leave. Hidden prejudices and pressures can lead to a discriminatory working culture.
Join In-Person and Online Groups & Discussion
Making relationships with professional affinity groups or participating in talks about diversity in your business is one of the greatest ways to broaden and diversify your business networks as a small business. A small legal practice, for example, may form a partnership with a local Black attorneys group or a women’s bar association.
With the plethora of online group and offline events available in almost every niche, you always have the opportunity to connect and extend your professional network and thus diversify your partnerships and sponsorships opportunities.
Establish New D&I Objectives
Start making constructive adjustments to enhance your D&I status after identifying it. Research and consulting groups such as the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and TSNE have published recommendations to aid you with planning and execution, including understanding how D&I projects might help you accomplish business objectives.
Additionally, attempt to implement inclusive procurement strategies, such as purchasing items and services from underutilized minority-owned firms.
Normalize the Using Preferred Pronouns
Always remember and utilize someone’s pronouns. Also, use your pronouns while introducing yourself. Then, others will be more inclined to follow suit.
When presenting oneself in a meeting, you can include your pronouns in your email signature, Zoom, LinkedIn, Slack, and other social and chat platforms. If the platform doesn’t currently enable you to add them, put them after your name in brackets.
Determine and convey how your corporation- and your employees—can visibly demonstrate allyship. But, again, the issue is for workers to recognize the difference between long-term allyship and just being performative.
Creating an inclusive workplace where everyone can be their authentic selves fosters a strong feeling of belonging and helps you retain varied talents.
Measure the Effectiveness
Evaluate the success or failure of your plan regularly and make any adjustments. Because the demands of the industry, the marketplace, your organization, and your people are constantly changing, your strategy should be adaptable.
Small company owners may expect to enjoy their efforts’ operational and financial rewards as they proactively change their surroundings and processes to accommodate a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Diversity and Inclusion: In Conclusion
As a small business, one of the most crucial things to remember is that this type of activity cannot just fall under the purview of HR. D&I is more than a checklist or an extracurricular. It’s more about cultivating a culture that generates a sense of belonging and attracts top talent.
Bringing in many perspectives and viewpoints can help you make better judgments and handle challenges more creatively. It also allows for a variety of views and experiences, which may aid in the creation of distinctive goods that serve a larger audience.