7 ways to boost workplace diversity and inclusion in the next normal

A practical guide to diversity and inclusion in the next normal

Recent #Blacklivesmatter protests have highlighted the deep-rooted racial inequalities in our system and the need for diversity and inclusion training amongst other approaches.

Equally, calls to action such as the #blackpoundday movement, inviting consumers to shop with black-owned businesses, have created new expectations for diversity and inclusion to become a business priority.

Leaders and HR professionals are striving to understand what impact racism, discrimination, and harassment have on their employees, on their engagement and retention rates and their bottom line. Are they doing enough?

DiversityQ spoke with Perrine Farque, a Diversity, Inclusion & Equity Advocate, and the Founder of Inspired-Human, who believes there are fundament steps actions HR professionals and leaders can take to boost inclusion in the next normal.

Here are her seven top tips; and if required, be sure to engage a professional diversity consultant, and inclusion expert to guide you.

1. Develop continuing diversity and inclusion training

Many organisations lean on mandatory unconscious bias training to help with diversity and inclusion. However, compulsory one-off training can have a limited ability to change behaviour. Mandatory training can even be met with resistance, as people do not like to feel pressured. However, offering recurring and voluntary training can have a greater impact on changing behaviour, allowing employees to feel in control. Voluntary training programmes also signal a commitment to inclusion. A lot of diversity courses can be delivered online, which makes them accessible to remote-workers; like Inspired Human’s bespoke diversity training.

2. Review your hiring practices

Make inclusion and diversity part of your hiring culture. Companies still hire based on “culture fit” which means “people like us.” Instead, build a culture that’s looking for “culture add” which means “people adding a new perspective” so that diversity and inclusion become part of your future success.

Prioritise the most important skills you are looking for before you interview. Don’t use a long list of requirements that put off certain candidates from underrepresented groups; keep it small, and if appropriate, include transferable skills. This helps you fairly and effectively attract candidates with diverse experiences and backgrounds.

3. Create a safe space for minorities

With unhappy workers being 10% less productive, according to a report by Growth Everywhere, providing your employees with a safe space is vital to the success of your business. Build trust by focusing on communication. Create Slack channels and Employee Resource Groups (ERG) for minorities. Get comfortable with uncomfortable discussions: now is an excellent time to discuss some uncomfortable issues minorities face daily and encourage them to address these concerns openly, and without fear of retribution.

Promote dialogue about differences such as gender, ethnic background, race, age, disabilities and sexual orientation and promote curiosity so that employees know they are valued, and that you expect them to value others no matter how divergent their views.

Adopting tools establishing a trusted line of communication with employees, such as Vault Platform, allows employees to use direct messaging features to raise concerns or questions, anonymously or in-name.

4. Hold your leaders accountable for inclusion

Understand how to measure and track success with an inclusion assessment for your workforce. You can measure how many of your employees feel included in regards to certain characteristics, then see how those statistics compare to the national average to identify problem spots. Tie inclusion goals into other business goals such as employee retention and employee productivity. Make accountability personal by adding it as a goal measured during performance reviews for your leadership team.

5. Revisit your company’s mission to unite people of all backgrounds

Mission-driven employees are 54% more likely to stay for five years at a company. Mission-driven companies are high-performance organisations. Ask this question: “How have you seen the company mission in action lately?” Engage your employees of all backgrounds in this conversation. Conduct a customer survey asking a series of questions about what they think your company mission is.

6. Encourage management to lead with empathy 

Teach your leaders to watch for signs of overwork in others. Leaders who are educated about empathy can recognise signs of burnout before it becomes an issue that results in disengagement or employee turnover. Educate leaders on showing genuine interest in the needs and hopes of their team. Employees who see their manager recognising them in this way are more engaged and willing to go the extra mile. Teach your leaders to demonstrate a willingness to help employees with personal problems. Empathetic leaders recognise that it’s part of their role to lead and support team members when they need it most.

7. Make diversity and inclusion a business priority

Prioritise a metric that tracks inclusion progress over time. Research shows that 85% of diversity and inclusion leaders cited “organisational inclusion” as the most crucial talent outcome of their efforts. Yet, only 57% of organisations currently use that metric to track diversity and inclusion progress.

By making diversity and inclusion a business priority measured with the organisational inclusion metric, you can make real changes in your organisation.

Embed diversity and inclusion into your existing talent and business processes. Research shows that 67% of diversity and inclusion leaders believe that leveraging processes is more effective than using people to champion diversity and inclusion at achieving diversity and inclusion goals. 

Today more than ever, companies are expected to have robust diversity and inclusion programmes in place, to share them with the public and to take concrete actions on inclusion, diversity and equity in the workplace.

Organisations that fail to invest in diversity and inclusion, and that fail to challenge themselves on their inclusion practices continually, fall behind their competitors, have worse employee retention and engagement and worse customer reviews.


If you need help with your diversity and inclusion journey or if you are interested in a diversity and inclusion training, book your 60-minute diversity and inclusion consultancy with Inspired Human.  Alternatively, sign-up to Inspired Human’s live webinar on Tuesday 4 August at 2 pm BST “5 ways HR can boost workplace inclusivity and equality” to learn more tips on that topic.

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