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How to Promote Equality & Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity and equality in the workplace are vital to a healthy, growing company. Employing people of all genders and races can make an organization stronger. If you hold a position of influence in your company, you can help to ensure that your company is treating people equitably and has appropriate diversification. According to the University of California, San Francisco, diversity includes not just race, but also gender, religion, mental abilities, sexual orientation and culture. Take steps to help your workplace improve in these areas.
Analyze your current employee population. Look through employment databases or ask the Human Resources department for an employment report. Calculate the ratio of women and minorities in management positions as well as the overall minority employment percentage for the organization. Other aspects of diversity might be harder to measure, because employees might fit into multiple categories.
Form a diversity and equality committee. The group should be diverse in nature and be made up of volunteers. The committee should meet regularly to discuss ideas to increase diversity and promote equitable hiring in your organization. Set definite goals, and develop strategies to meet the goals.
Review or write a company equal employment policy. Make certain your organization is in compliance with federal laws. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission watches for harassment, unfair treatment, retaliation and whether a company refuses to provide “reasonable workplace accommodations” to employees in need. Have a labor attorney review any policy before implementation. Set up a periodic review system to ensure your policy remains up-to-date.
Recruit deliberately for new and open positions. According to the University of Florida, a workplace with a diverse population often sees a reduction in lawsuits and finds it easier to recruit new employees. When recruiting for jobs, advertise in ethnic newspapers, enlist the help of local universities, and encourage minorities and women to apply. Create incentives for current employees who recommend prospective employees who meet your organizations standards.
Train current employees on diversity issues in the workplace. According to the Harvard Business School, you should train all employees in sensitivity to diversity issues. Give support to new employees by establishing a mentoring program.
Set consequences for racial discrimination and unacceptable work environments. Include progressive disciplinary procedures that your company will follow if one employee files a complaint against another employee. Counseling, probation and termination are all options. Create an environment that encourages open communication and candor.
Join other businesses in promoting diversity in your community.
Contract with a training company that specializes in diversity awareness.
Examine your current job applications for compliance with federal guidelines.
Keep the lines of communication open between employees.
Be aware of difference in culture and religions when scheduling your organization’s holiday closings.
Consult with an employment attorney before finalizing your employment policies or terminating employees.
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Diane Lynn began writing in 1998 as a guest columnist for the "Tallahassee Democrat." After losing 158 pounds, she wrote her own weight-loss curriculum and now teaches classes on diet and fitness. Lynn also writes for The Oz Blog and her own blog, Fit to the Finish. She has a Bachelor of Science in finance from Florida State University.