Companies are increasingly prioritizing Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion (DEI) practices in the workplace, striving to create a diverse workforce that is celebrated for its inclusivity.
Establishing workplace diversity is critical, but unfortunately it can be a difficult endeavor for many firms. Change is rarely easy, and companies are often hesitant to invest time and resources into such an initiative; however, the returns of increasing workforce diversity are immeasurable.
The facts speak for themselves. The World Economic Forum has highlighted that many forward-thinking organizations are placing DEI initiatives at the top of their CEO agendas and adding them as part of their core business. Governments around the world have acknowledged how essential resilience, equity, and inclusion are for economic stability — research has already demonstrated that establishing more equitable and inclusive societies leads to greater resilience in times of crisis.
As economies slowly recover post-COVID-19, it is imperative that companies prioritize DEI investments. It is equally important that these organizations establish a structure and plan on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. That’s why we prepared this list of recommendations to promote workplace diversity and inclusion in 2023.
To keep this list of diversity activities for the workplace organized, we’ve separated them into the following categories:
Ideas for Diversity and Inclusion Activities in the Workplace
Workplace diversity and inclusion is essential to creating a welcoming and professional atmosphere. Fortunately, there are plenty of methods on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Recruiting Strategies for Building a Diverse Workforce
1. Recruit diverse workers.
Your company doesn’t become diverse overnight, but you can make progress by taking the first step of recruiting diverse employees. This is especially relevant if you are having problems filling positions. The wider your recruitment scope, the more qualified and diverse candidates you will find.
2. Create a company diversity and inclusion policy.
If you have specific language attached to your workplace diversity and inclusion policy, it makes it much easier for employees to process and implement it. You should make this statement short, and to the point, and it should be posted in relevant places. Consider even implementing it into your mission statement and cover it during new hire training.
3. Initiate equal pay policies across your organization.
This should be a fairly simple one to understand. People in the same position with similar levels of experience in your company should be getting equal pay. No exceptions to this rule should be made. Some companies even took an Equal Pay Pledge with the White House.
4. Make sure that equal pay policies are applied even in the interview process.
Equal pay policies can be implemented in interview processes as well. They make sure that people cannot negotiate their way to a higher salary. These are great equalizers because women are statistically less likely to lobby for higher pay in their initial interviews. Initiating an equal pay policy is a great way to make sure that everyone who has the same experience gets paid the same with no exceptions.
5. Make initial candidate screening a blind screening.
A great way to promote diversity in the workplace and ensure that you are not introducing any biases into your interview process is to have blind screenings. Blind screenings are application screens that are based on applicable experience and skills only. This should allow the candidate some time to discuss their unique assets in an interview.
6. Include varied employees in the interview process.
The best way to continue bringing on a diverse staff is to show them that you have already accepted many diverse individuals. However, there is a fine line to this. Don’t overuse your diverse employees and make them feel like an advertising campaign instead of valued employees with authority to interview.
7. Have a structured interview process.
A highly structured interview process is another great way to promote inclusivity. If everyone gets the same interview process, it gives all candidates the same chance at the job. Stick with consistent questions and give each candidate the chance to shine.
8. Ensure a smooth training and transition period for new hires.
An established training program for new hires is a great way to make sure that they feel welcome and valued as new team members. We also advise frequent check-ins during those first few months so that any kinks in the training program, or their position, are worked out before they become a problem. Establishing a valuable training period can make the transition into a new job easier and allow for flexibility in a remote environment as well.
9. Promote your DEI to attract more DEI.
Many candidates are just looking for a safe space where they can do their job to the best of their abilities. Broadcast that your company is the place they should be for this on all job descriptions and postings. Knowing how to promote diversity in the workplace should also carry into your company brand to draw in any potential candidates.
10. Encourage veteran services and specific hiring practices.
Workplace diversity also applies to veterans. Often a forgotten group, make sure they know what jobs they would be qualified for in your company by including military job codes and specific skills in your job postings.
11. Provide socio-economic assistance.
If your company is in a city that is less affordable for entry-level and junior employees, consider offering affordable housing options, employee cafeterias, and options to help with the cost of living. If possible, provide an opportunity to work remotely to save you and your employee a bit on expenses.
12. Implement hiring practices to avoid ageism.
Workplace diversity and inclusion does not just include people of different cultures, races, and genders. It also includes people from different generations and age groups. When interviewing candidates, qualifications are the key component to be mindful of.
Workplace Strategies to Improve Morale and Inclusivity
13. Prioritize diversity and inclusion.
Knowing where your company’s priorities lie can help employees understand the significance of workplace diversity and inclusion. This can mean including these in your company values, hosting regular training events, participating in regular diversity activities in the workplace, or simply having open conversations. When employees understand that DEI is a high priority for the company as a whole, they tend to make it a higher priority personally as well.
14. Keep company language gender-neutral.
Making sure that all company communications are gender-neutral is a great start to making your company inclusive. We also advise that this language be used in all company job postings. The use of inclusive language will lead to a more diverse pool of candidates. If you’re unsure how to promote diversity in the workplace within this method, consider having an open conversation with a diverse group of employees regarding what language would be best.
15. Treat colleagues the way they want to be treated.
This is a common lesson we are taught in childhood: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” While this is a good piece of advice when you’re teaching little kids how to behave around other people, it doesn’t translate as well to adulthood.
Create a workplace culture that promotes good communication between coworkers and makes them feel comfortable voicing how they would like to be addressed and treated. This should even transfer over to Zoom call meetings and email communication in a virtual environment.
16. Have open lines of communication.
Having an open communication policy, especially with your HR department, is a great way to promote workplace diversity and inclusion. When everyone feels valued and their opinion is heard and matters, they are more likely to be happier in your workplace. Use this open line of communication to set clear expectations for work behavior and outline policies.
17. Provide sensitivity training.
Sensitivity training or diversity workshops educate your employees on how their attitudes and behaviors may unwittingly cause offense to their co-workers or others around them. Offering regular training, either in-person or via a virtual call, can increase the awareness of employee treatment.
18. Support the creation of affinity groups within your office.
Sometimes employees need a safe space to build a community with like-minded people, and employers should support that through employee resource groups. Check out a great example of this with Workiva’s Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion initiatives.
19. Allow company groups to do community outreach.
A great way to promote diversity is by doing outreach to local groups that are meaningful to your company and mission. Axon is a great example of this, with continued initiatives to support community outreach.
20. Encourage management involvement in affinity and outreach organizations.
Diversity and inclusion happen from the top down. Encourage management to take part in diversity activities in the workplace with their teams. It will allow for bonding and a better understanding of their teams.
21. Initiate corporate-wide culture change for diversity and inclusion.
In order to have a truly diverse and inclusive company culture, your whole company has to adapt. Implement these changes at a higher level, not just departmentally, to start the process of creating a diverse workplace.
22. Have your company participate in communication assessments.
Communication assessments are a great start to building better teams. By knowing how each employee communicates, you can create a place that fits those needs and establishes more efficient communication.
Diversity Workshop Ideas: How to Plan and Facilitate
Diversity workshops can be planned either in-house or by an external consultant. Many choose to outsource the whole experience to experts specializing in hosting workshops and customized events for inclusion promotion. If you choose to plan and host your own internally, here are a few diversity workshop ideas to set the stage:
- Decide on how to organize attendees.
You can have an organization-wide starting point followed by smaller breakout sessions that mix all departments or keep working teams together. If group members aren’t familiar with each other, extra icebreakers may be necessary.
- Set clear ground rules and expectations for the workshop.
Include end-of-day goals and how to speak respectfully to others during discussions.
- Carefully plan the workshop’s content.
Whether this comes from off-site consultants or leadership, the content should be focused on organizational goals and pain points.
- Incorporate diversity games and activities.
Engage participants and create a more casual environment online or in person with plenty of activities.
- Solicit feedback.
After the workshop ends, collect feedback that may help with improvements for future events on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
23. Give recognition for a job well done.
This is an easy one to implement across teams. Giving recognition to someone doing an exceptional job is a wonderful way to promote inclusion in your company. Host a celebratory Zoom meeting or small office party to congratulate your team on wins. A great diversity and inclusion workplace example is hosting a weekly Zoom meeting to celebrate small wins throughout the week so every employee feels consistently valued.
24. Honor loyal employees.
Similar to celebrating wins, throw Zoom parties or host an in-person event to congratulate employees who have stuck with the company for a certain number of years. Celebrating big milestones, like 25 years with the company, can improve morale and show all employees that your company values their dedication, especially through any hard times that occurred when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
25. Create inclusive company swag.
Your company gear should have options for all genders, like t-shirts or jackets with a more feminine cut. One-size-fits-all tees aren’t always the desired look for everyone.
26. Provide unconscious bias training.
We don’t want to admit it, but we all have unconscious biases. Unfortunately, they are ingrained into us via society, and there is little we can do to prevent them from existing. However, providing unconscious bias training is a wonderful way to make people aware of it and help them move past it.
27. Adjust the work environment to make it comfortable for everyone.
Comfortable for everyone means temperature, desks, chairs — essentially your whole office. Make it the place you want to be. Give people, especially those with disabilities, the ability to adapt their work environment to make them more comfortable and productive. Offer to send necessary supplies to employees’ homes in a remote work environment.
28. Promote team bonding activities.
Encourage your manager to build better and more cohesive teams with diversity and inclusion activities at work. A great way to do this is with team bonding activities. This can be anything from playing an online game via Zoom to going bowling as a team to doing a full company retreat weekend. Create better teams to promote more inclusion!
How to Plan a Diversity Day in the Workplace
While having occasional workplace diversity and inclusion activities to engage your organization will bring attention to an integral part of work, planning a designated day of the year puts the spotlight on understanding everyone’s unique differences.
By setting time aside, employees won’t need to worry about running to the next meeting or checking their inboxes as they listen to a diversity training video in the background. In addition, it’s a fun way to engage with coworkers in a stress-free environment and break the ice. Here are some ideas to plan a diversity day in your organization:
- Appoint a diversity committee. This can be a group of employees or an HR individual that will lead the planning.
- Get leadership’s buy-in. Free up a day or half-day organization-wide for this event.
- Plan a schedule. Using the diversity activities on this list, schedule a day full of interactive activities for your workshop.
- Hire keynote speakers. These individuals can be from your committee or experts in the field.
- Cater food and beverages. Promote a laid-back atmosphere and engage workers by offering snacks or catering a lunch during in-person events.
- Solicit everyone’s feedback. After the event, ask for feedback to make improvements for next year’s diversity day.
29. Bring in a third-party observer.
If your company is struggling to put together an effective workplace diversity and inclusion strategy, you might need to bring in a third-party expert or a Diversity and Inclusion consultant. There are many companies that specialize in diversity and inclusion policies that would be able to look at your organization from a subjective point of view.
30. Hold inclusive meetings.
Inclusive meetings are a great way to promote diversity in the workplace. Allow anyone relevant to the meeting to attend. These meetings will open the lines of communication, and the attendees will likely have some helpful ideas to contribute! Keep in mind that representation matters, so you should be hearing from a diverse group of individuals during these meetings.
31. Institute a “no-interruptions” policy.
During these inclusive meetings, institute a no-interruptions policy. Everyone should get to contribute their ideas, and should not be talked over.
32. Keep bathroom signage inclusive.
During these inclusive meetings, keep bathroom signage inclusion. Consider gender-neutral facilities for your company.
33. Make sure office tasks are split equally if your office is small.
There is always one employee who ends up doing the office dishes or general cleaning. It should not be this way. Instead, split up these tasks equally between teams or create a chore chart.
34. Publish signage and notification of policies.
Having company policies published across your office is a great way to make sure everyone is aware of your diversity and inclusion policies, and it’s a good reminder throughout their day. Frequent reminders will teach your employees how to promote diversity in the workplace.
35. Instill a PTO Day for voting.
Providing a PTO day for voting is another way to encourage diversity in the workplace and allow people to partake in their civic duty.
36. Maintain the work-life balance mantra.
Work-life balance is a challenge in any office, but the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on a new form of this challenge. Many employees find it difficult to set boundaries between work and personal life when their office is just a few steps away from their kitchen. Encourage employees to stick with their set hours and spend their out-of-office hours focused on their personal life. Burnout is real, and it can happen quickly.
37. Allow for religious practices in the workplace.
Allow employees to practice their religion in the workplace. Many religions practice prayer multiple times a day — this is a great way to make them feel included and promote diversity in the workplace. This can also mean providing time off during religious holidays.
38. Provide health and wellness reimbursements.
Workplace diversity can also be fostered by workplace well-being. Promote this with health and wellness reimbursements for gym memberships, on-site yoga classes, or once-a-month massages.
The fintech company Upgrade not only funds 100% paid coverage of medical, dental, and vision insurance for all employees but also supports company wellness programs and incentives, including paid parental leave. Check out current openings at this employee health-focused company.
39. Offer tuition reimbursement and support for continued education.
Education is only getting more and more expensive, and it is a large burden on potential employees. Offer tuition reimbursement programs for employees, as well as tuition help for those who want to pursue graduate-level education.
Desert Financial Credit Union is an employer proud to offer 100% covered Arizona State University (ASU) tuition for interested employees. They also offer both a tuition reimbursement program and a student loan repayment program. This provides employees with plenty of opportunities to seek higher education and pay off existing loans.
40. Create offices suited for all physical abilities.
Your office should be suited and comfortable for people of all abilities. Discuss any changes that may need to be made to your office space during internal meetings or offer the option to continue to work from home for individuals who may struggle to commute.
41. Schedule regular check-ins with employees.
Since the emergence of COVID-19, working remotely has left many employees feeling disconnected and alone without their regular work interactions. Establishing scheduled check-ins with these workers can not only show that they are valued but also remind them how much their contributions to the company are appreciated even from a distance.
Inclusive Retention Strategies to Keep Your Star Players
42. Keep your workers happy and gain the loyalty of all employees.
People leave jobs because of practical reasons that affect work and life balance, relationships and respect, and lack of career potential. Apply this knowledge to your workplace. A positive workplace coupled with diverse recruiting practices will ultimately lead to a better, more inclusive workplace.
43. Give educational workshops.
Giving your employees chances to learn about new cultures, different viewpoints, and other lifestyles is a great way to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Implement educational workshops where employees can work together to learn new perspectives.
44. Offer flexible PTO.
This is one of our favorite workplace diversity and inclusion initiatives. Flexible PTO is really one of the best things you can offer your employees. Apart from parents with erratic schedules, others may have chronic health issues or personal reasons to need time off. It shows that you care about them as people and will lead to them wanting to stay with your company longer.
45. Provide subsidized child care.
Parents are often not included in diversity and inclusion initiatives, and we think that needs to change. The best companies for working parents provide subsidized child care or on-site daycare, which is a great way to take a load off of parents and keep them thriving in your workplace.
Leading companies Axon and Workiva both offer subsidized child care and support working parents through dedicated paid parental leave policies, other excellent PTO structures, and cultures that support all employees’ work flexibility.
46. Offer wide-ranging healthcare options.
Having the option to cover your family with comprehensive health insurance is a great way to be inclusive of your workers and their families. Be sure to provide coverage to those with domestic partners or who take care of elderly relatives.
47. Facilitate employee mentorship programs.
Employees who do not feel that they are encouraged to learn and move up in your company will ultimately find somewhere else to work. A great way to foster employee engagement is by implementing mentorship programs. This can promote communication between employees and encourage a more connected workforce.
48. Encourage management to support diversity & inclusion.
As mentioned earlier, workplace diversity and inclusion start from the top down. Partaking in diversity activities in the workplace as an executive team and understanding how your actions trickle down to the company is imperative.
Diversity Committee Ideas: How to Start One
A diversity committee is a group of volunteers at work who are passionate about diversity and know how to promote diversity in the workplace.
Rather than having leadership or HR trickle-down diversity awareness programs, a designated diversity committee acts as the main organizing body for all initiatives. Members can consist of workers or managers from all departments, increasing perspective and representation. Here are a few diversity committee ideas to get started:
- Announce a call for volunteers. Find passionate individuals who are ready to tackle diversity in the workplace.
- Define what diversity means. Using diversity and inclusion in the workplace examples, define what these terms mean for your company and its employees.
- Establish a mission statement. Set clear goals in this statement for the diversity committee.
- Hold periodic meetings. Discuss new initiatives that align with organizational goals and involve business partners, the community, and non-committee members.
- Decide on an implementation process. Include the buy-in of leadership and make the committee’s presence known to the entire organization.
- Get inspired by the diversity and inclusion activities. Using this endless list of activities, plan your first movement and get started!
49. Make your HR team available.
Make sure someone is always available to listen to team members’ problems or ideas for diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Your HR department should never be viewed as ‘“too busy” to help and listen.
50. Have a firm structure for moving up in the company.
A solid structure and knowing how to move up in your company can go a long way for inclusivity. Everyone should have the same opportunities for promotion and be well aware of what that entails.
51. Provide career development.
Career development workshops for women, people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and other groups within your company help promote a diverse and inclusive workplace.
52. Have regular company meetings.
Secrecy and rapid changes with little information are surefire ways to create a toxic work culture. Avoid this by ensuring employees are up to date with happenings and feel they are an important part of the company. A quick weekly Zoom meeting or smaller team meetings in the office are a great way to keep everyone in the loop!
53. Offer flexible parental leave for new parents.
Maternity and paternity leave is a great benefit for new parents. This leave should also include those parents who have recently adopted or are fostering children. An additional program to offer is flexible scheduling for parents and non-parents alike to address family matters, as life happens to everyone.
The banking company American Express proudly offers backup childcare, 20 weeks of paid parental leave, and an additional 6 to 8 weeks for recovering mothers.
54. Create programs and appropriate disability health coverage.
Offering comprehensive health coverage for employees of differing abilities can go a long way toward workplace diversity. Cover programs for employees with disabilities or employees with family members that have a disability.
55. Provide transportation reimbursements.
Another great perk to offer employees coming back into the office that promotes inclusion is to do public transportation reimbursements, carpool reimbursement, or have a company-specific transport like Google does with their buses.
56. Allow for telecommuting, flex time, and remote work.
Giving employees the freedom to work remotely, have flex time, and permanently telecommute promotes an inclusive and diverse workplace. Since you may have already been remote for some time during the pandemic, the transition to staying remote should be seamless.
At Voya Financial, employee work flexibility is supported through their continuous offerings of full-time remote work. This innovative financial company also supports a healthy time-off program where employee wellness is put first.
57. Make your office a place people want to be.
Promote those positive office vibes. Have a meeting room with a ping pong table for employees to enjoy on their lunch break, provide nap pods, or make a corner of the office devoted to hammocks and bean bags for employee meetings. Making your office space feel more comfortable and a little like home can promote higher productivity and morale.
58. Provide grief support for employees.
Life happens to all employees, and unfortunately, loss is a part of life. Make your employees feel supported by offering grief support and leave if needed.
59. Offer mental health resources.
Offering mental health resources is a great way to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace. Setting aside designated time to get counseling or psychiatric treatment, as well as offering in-office therapy and support groups, are great places to start.
How To Make Organizational Change Last
Organizational change can be difficult to implement and maintain because of the time and energy involved. To ensure lasting success, here are some tips on how to make organizational change last:
60. Make sure your employees are on board.
The most important part of implementing successful organizational change is ensuring that your employees have a clear understanding of how the change will affect them, how their roles may need to shift, and how the change will improve their workflow. Explain the change in detail to ensure that everyone is on board with it.
61. Encourage open communication.
Encouraging employees to communicate openly and honestly is key to successful organizational change. Make sure everyone knows how to give and receive feedback in a constructive way.
62. Make sure the change is sustainable.
When making organizational changes, consider how they will affect day-to-day operations and how the changes can be sustained in the long run. Make sure that the change does not introduce too much complexity or require additional resources.
63. Celebrate successes!
Celebrate small victories to keep morale high during organizational changes. Acknowledging progress is a great way to motivate employees and build team spirit.
64. Analyze how successful the change is.
Finally, keep an eye on how successful the organizational changes are by analyzing how well employees are embracing them and how much of a positive impact it has had on your workplace culture. Make sure to make adjustments where needed in order to ensure that the change has been properly implemented and is lasting.
When implementing organizational changes, keep in mind how they will affect diversity and inclusion. Always prioritize creating an inclusive and diverse workplace, as this will have a positive impact on all aspects of your business.
With the right strategies in place, you can ensure that organizational change will last and benefit your workplace in the long run.
Now, let’s make your company the next great example of diversity in the workplace!
In conclusion, we can all agree that diversity and inclusion are extremely important measures to implement in your company. With recruiting, retention, and overall workplace happiness benefits, there isn’t any reason not to. Knowing how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace can make your company’s future a little brighter and more welcoming for all individuals.
Not sure where to get started? Contact BestCompaniesAZ to learn all about workplace diversity and inclusion training and the companies that are rocking the DEI game!