The importance of a company’s culture cannot be underestimated, but many companies still struggle with workplace diversity and inclusion. Trying to change the culture of a company can be extremely challenging, but the benefits can be enormous.

Workplace diversity refers to the gender, race, values, beliefs, backgrounds and experiences of employees that make everyone unique. Inclusion refers to the workplace behaviours and social norms that makes all employees welcome, regardless of their diversity.

A recent study has found that gender and ethnic diversity at the executive level within a company are both correlated with profitability.

Another study asked why diversity and inclusion works so well for a company’s profitability, suggesting that people with different backgrounds challenge the cultural norms. This dynamic prevents companies from becoming insular and out of touch with their customer base. Another often touted theory is that happy employees work better, so a company that understands the needs of its employees has a positive impact on retention rates and performance.

If you want to change your company’s culture and increase workplace diversity and inclusion, here are 5 best practices that will ensure your initiative is successful.

1. Leadership is key to changing your company’s culture

Leaders within your company need to commit to increasing diversity and inclusion within the workforce. Managing and embracing diversity and inclusion should be an essential leadership trait that raises awareness and rebuilds your company’s culture through accountability. Diversity and inclusion should be one of your company’s core business competencies, embedding this compliance into your HR department, as well as your business systems and processes.

2. Promote fairness and equal opportunities

To feel valued and accepted within the workplace, employees need to be treated fairly. Promotions or benefits based on different backgrounds leads to an unhealthy workplace culture and a lack of diversity. Equal opportunity is one of the main aspects of a company that attracts high quality employees and reduces attrition rates. All advancement opportunities should be fair, regardless of background. If issues arise, a workplace investigation can be useful.

Workplace diversity in office

3. Educate employees on diversity and inclusion

Leading from the top is a good start, but employees still need to be educated about these new priorities within your organisation. They need to understand the day to day meanings of diversity and inclusion within the workplace and the benefits to themselves and the company. They also need to understand best practices so that they can actively support these initiatives.

4. Support teamwork, innovation and collaboration

Companies that do not support innovation and creativity usually find it difficult to build and maintain workplace diversity and inclusion. Teamwork and collaboration is just as important, because many younger employees expect these to be the accepted norm in successful companies. To attract a more diverse workforce and encourage inclusion, your company must support collaboration and teamwork as one of your core values.

5. Revamp your recruitment processes

Rewrite your job ads so that they highlight your company’s support of a diverse and inclusive workforce and restructure your recruitment criteria so that it doesn’t decrease diversity. As an example, looking favourably on private school education during the recruitment process can often lead to reduced diversity within the candidate pool, and by extension, less diversity and inclusion within the company.

For assistance increasing diversity and inclusion across your company, call AWS on 1300 011 111.