Getting serious about equity, diversity and inclusion (ED&I) pays off through better innovation and financial results. But knowing how to improve diversity in the workplace can feel tricky.
The key is seeing ED&I as an ongoing learning journey – not some final destination. Small, collaborative steps inevitably drive real improvement over time.
So if you’re wondering how to improve diversity in the workplace, fear not! Here are 6 practical tips any organisation can use to get started.
Lead by Example
ED&I efforts struggle without visible leadership buy-in. When managers embrace flexibility, admit knowledge gaps around bias, and model openness to grow, it encourages vulnerability at all levels.
You can’t force diversity overnight. But leaders visibly willing to tackle taboo topics signals it’s safe to try new initiatives. Employees follow behaviours demonstrating willingness to get comfortable with discomfort.
Keep having public, judgement-free discussions to expand perspectives together.
Avoid one-size-fits all “solutions” like one-off awareness events. These often increase rather than ease tensions by implying only one “right” way exists.
Instead, start by genuinely listening to where current systems disadvantage some groups unfairly. Create safe spaces for single parents or neurodivergent staff to share what flexible arrangements would help them contribute fully, for example.
How to improve diversity in the workplace with Wotter
If we’re talking about listening, it would be remiss of us to not mention our own anonymous surveying platform.
Wotter’s daily automated pulse surveys provide the perfect forum to anonymously unfold nuanced inclusion topics over time. We crafted each psychologically safe question hand-in-hand with experts like Dr. Olga Frańczak to gently shift conventional thinking.
Recurring participation lets underrepresented groups emerge freely while cumulative perspectives grow together, dismantling barriers to our shared potential.
The aim? Sparking lifelong self-examination of hidden biases with compassion. A more equal society starts with individuals daring to rethink assumptions. Our surveys intend to kindle that continual process.
Go Beyond Surface-Level Differences
Having visible diversity in leadership helps, but isn’t enough. True inclusion means tackling systemic barriers different groups face daily.
Regularly review everything from HR policies to office events through an equity lens. Ask honestly, “Could this further exclude people somehow?” Then involve said groups directly in finding better approaches.
Incrementally breaking down old imbalanced structures helps unlock diversity’s full rewards.
Cultivate “Yes, And” Thinking
See introducing new perspectives not as clashing with “the way things have always been” but as creatively improving how things could progress together. Counter unhelpful either/or talk with an enthusiastic “Yes, and!” spirit.
Rather than resist staff wanting to celebrate religious days not on your calendar, try blending holiday schedules. Enable people to honour personal commitments while maintaining shared workflows through flexibility.
Each “yes, and” mindset shift brings us closer to options and policies benefiting everybody long-term.
Take Action as Allies
Gradually cultivating this supportive culture means marginalised voices get amplified by allies advocating for them. A white man validating an Asian woman’s ignored idea in a meeting could be the difference between it getting adopted.
Coach everyone as upstanders prepared to challenge racist, sexist or ableist remarks respectfully. But also talk openly about positive intentions sometimes still doing harm unconsciously.
Building understanding, patience and speaking up for each other – that is diversity’s beauty and business case made real.
Focus on Progress Over Perfection
Diversity can feel messy to navigate but leaders demonstrating compassion and deep listening will get results. But it’s important to know that this won’t be instant. It’s a a continuous learning process and celebrating the small wins is key.
Platforms like Wotter allow you to do this through our recognition features and customisable pulse surveys for tracking granular insights on how specific teams experience your culture week to week. This means pragmatically addressing issues as they surface while continually getting more diverse and promoting new ways of thinking.
So there we have it. We hope you’ve come away with little more understanding on how to improve diversity in the workplace. The main takeaway is that helping inclusion to blossom is a continuous journey as our collective understanding forever deepens. To use an old cliché, it’s a marathon, not a sprint!