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Creating A More Diverse and Inclusive Workplace

When it comes to acceptance and diversity, workplaces have come a long way. Workplace environments are evidently moving away from outdated and stale norms and are actively taking steps towards more diverse and accepting workplaces. According to the 2019 Market Inspector report, in the UK, 1 in 8 of the working age population is from a black or non-whiteand background, and these groups now take up 10% of the workplace. However, diversity doesn’t just fall on race and culture. It also includes women and the LGBT community. And right now, women are still underrepresented in certain industries and very few of them make it to managerial positions. According to the same study, only 9.7% of executive positions in 100 companies are held by women. When it comes to the LGBT community, you would think that they are now more comfortable than ever after the UK government made it illegal for employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation. However, 32% of them still choose to hide their sexual orientations for the fear of employment discrimination. With the passing of Equality Act 2010 that legally protects people from discrimination, discrimination in the workplace is now a criminal act and there are many lawyers in London that actively protect minorities. There have been improvements with acceptance of minorities in the workplace but according to a study for the National Inclusion Week of 2018, more than a quarter of British workers say that they have experienced discrimination. While work environments are more inclusive now than ever, there are still initiatives that employers can implement in order to promote and support diversity in the workplace.

Educate yourself and every employee

While informing your employees about the legalities of employee discrimination can go a long way. This might come across as instilling fear which might result in just a superficial understanding for the need of an integrated workforce. And in the workplace, tolerance is not the goal. Acceptance is. Make it a point to give employees time to know their colleagues and employees who come from different countries and backgrounds. Recognising holidays and celebrations such as Eid or Diwali will go a long way and can make your employees feel seen.

Foster an accepting company culture

A diverse and inclusive workplace doesn’t mean just hiring more people of colour and more women. More importantly, it means valuing their contribution and recognising their ideas and efforts. Make it a point to create a workplace where different perspectives and opinions are valued and embraced. In a New York Times article from 2017 titled ‘The Universal Phenomenon of Men Interrupting Women’, women opened up about constantly getting interrupted by men when speaking up at work. Make sure that these kinds of incidents don’t happen at your workplace as not getting heard and feeling undermined can make employees leave.

Form an inclusion council

4 employees working together Select people in your company that you think will be influential leaders when it comes to building a more inclusive workplace. This council should be involved in every aspect of retention and hiring people of minorities, and protecting and taking care of these people as well. This council should be as diverse as possible, representing not only different ethnicities but genders and sexualities as well. There is obviously still a lot of work to do before every workplace becomes fully inclusive and diverse. Right now, what can be done is to keep vigilant about discrimination and promote equality.
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