In recent years the sensitivity and attention to the topic of diversity and inclusion has increased immensely and rightly so. All people, regardless of their color and race should be made to feel safe in society, public places and workplaces. To help these human beings feel safe at their workplaces HR needs to encourage acceptance of diverse age, religion, ethnicities etc.
Moreover, for a company to thrive it needs people from different backgrounds and social settings for they bring in diverse experience. In these digital times, where physical workspaces are sparse, handbooks which cater to modern work culture can be a great tool to instill and encourage the spirit of diversity and inclusion among people in an organization even when we’re all working remotely. Here’s how you can do it:
1. Clearly Stated Policies On Diversity & Inclusion
A zero tolerance policy against making anyone feel excluded on the basis of their differences with you shall be included in the handbook and specifically mentioned on the day of the orientation.Not only is it a great first impression but it also makes people from different backgrounds, age, ethnicities feel welcomed and at ease.
These policies should be practiced in company’s day to day operations as well as little activities. Teaming up for work projects, celebrating or healthy little competitions are some examples.
2. Equal Employment Opportunities
The company should aim to hire at least a 50% diverse audience than their regular people living in the area. The hard part reported by several companies in a Forbes study done on 300 companies was to keep the employees retained. The HR would do their best to hire people from diverse backgrounds but as we say it takes a village to make it happen. It would take the entire company’s inclusive culture for retention of those employees. Code of conducts mentioned in the Employee handbook will help create an air of mutual respect.
3. Tailored Leaves
Diversity and Inclusion is not limited to gender, age or race, it expands to socio economic status, physical health, religion of the person etc. It covers anything and everything that is a personal choice.
Apart from the regular annual leaves, holidays tailored to accommodate people from different religions and cultures makes the organization overall inclusive. E.g having a muslim employee leave early during their holy month of fasting ( Ramadan) or letting your christian employees take extra leave on christmas will communicate inclusiveness towards others. This will also help with retention and mutual respect. The employee handbook can highlight this section separately for people from diverse backgrounds to visit for clarity on their holidays.
4. Flexible Working Hours For People
Catering to single parents or people who have to take care of their children or elderly should be offered flexible hours. In this day and age of digital revolution this has become much more easy to manage and execute. People love their jobs, usually they just don’t like the company policies. If the policies are for the people, they should be centered around people’s comfort whilst taking care of the company’s interest. A surprise section for flexible hours in the employee handbook will catch your new employee off guard and create a great mental association between you and them.
5. Procurement Policies
Company policies should be reflected in not only full time employees but also vendors, contractors etc. Having done good work with a diverse portfolio of contractors in terms of cultures and backgrounds helps the company make a name and also get another chance to show and encourage employees to do the same. There is a better chance of customers being treated equally and with more respect when the managers treat outsiders the same.
These are some of the ways to make your employees feel included and safe in the company culture. Other things should include open communication and voicing your opinion. These types of policies written in the handbook impacts more rather than only mentioning them by word of mouth. Let us know how your company makes you feel included.