Friends talk about diversity and inclusion in the workplace
People + Culture

How to build diversity and inclusion in the workplace

There isn’t a one size fits all approach to building inclusion in the workplace.

Diversity and inclusion are key priorities for Verve Partners. In our continued learning on the subject, we’ve come to appreciate that there isn’t a one size fits all approach to building inclusion in the workplace.

Here we look at the basics of diversity and inclusion, tips to start building these priorities into your work culture and the benefits of doing so.

The basics of diversity and inclusion

Diversity refers to the mix of people in your workplace.

Inclusion is how you empower, respect, and appreciate what makes each person in your workplace different. For example, this could be age, gender, ethnicity, disability or sexual orientation.

Groups who experience exclusion

When talking about inclusiveness, we need to be honest about groups that face exclusion. When polled, the following self-identified groups reported they had experienced discrimination at high levels:

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • People with disability
  • Carers
  • Non-Christian Religion
  • Culturally Diverse

Build diversity and inclusion and you can help groups who experience exclusion

The benefits of diversity and inclusion

According to Diversity Council Australia, an independent not-for-profit championing diversity and inclusion, inclusive workplaces are better for business in a myriad of ways. Their data states inclusive workplaces boast employees:

  • Five times more likely to innovate.
  • Three times more likely to work “harder”.
  • Three times more likely to provide exceptional customer service.
  • Three times less likely to leave their current employer.
  • Five times less likely to experience discrimination.

Based on this data, it’s not a stretch to say that an inclusive workplace contributes to positive workplace culture. There are benefits for the employee and employer, but even more than this, it makes an individual feel valued and respected on a personal level.

Diversity and inclusion can benefit the business in many ways

Changes you can make to improve diversity and inclusion

Every person in a business plays a role in creating and maintaining an inclusive workplace. Here’s a roadmap on how you could start a discussion on diversity and inclusion in your workplace.

  1. Diagnose the problem

Hold a team meeting and discuss areas where you see the business could improve. An obvious one might be evening the ratio of male to female workers in your business. Another might be making positions accessible to people with disability.

  1. Identify what success looks like

This should be something you can measure and track. Having a firm goal gets buy-in from the team and holds everyone accountable for making the changes they promise.

  1. Create a committee

These should be the champions of change in your workplace. This could be a specific DEI committee or take the form of an Employee Resource Group (ERG). Typically, this might in the HR department.

  1. Experiment

Try implementing changes and checking in every month to ensure that it is having the desired effect. You might trial software to improve opportunities for people with disability or reach out to suppliers who specialise in helping groups who are discriminated against for advice.

  1. Communicate your vision

Diversity and inclusion need to be a part of your workplace culture. It should be a topic of discussion in workplace meetings, in official company communication and understood by each employee. This works to foster a positive and inclusive workplace and helps give a voice to each person in the business.

  1. Make your changes permanent

Once you have identified what works for your business, ensure this is reflected in your policies.


Related insights

Access the latest on hiring trends, people + culture and putting your best foot forward.