How to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace

How to promote a diverse and inclusive workplace

If you’re looking for guidance on how to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace then you’ve come to the right place

As one of Charlie’s CIPD-qualified advisors, I help hundreds of small businesses across the UK with their HR policies and advise them on how to promote diversity, equity and inclusion. 

And time and time again, I witness the same obstacles and frustrations:

  • A lack of representation - you’re increasingly worried about the absence of diversity and inclusion at your business, including the underrepresentation of certain demographics in leadership positions.
  • Limited opportunities - you suspect that certain groups within the business are hindered in their professional development because of the lack of opportunity.
  • Resistance to change - other colleagues are a barrier, making it challenging to implement meaningful diversity and inclusion initiatives.

Feel familiar? Then keep on reading. 

How to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace 

There’s no single one thing you should do as a business to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Instead, you need to do multiple things consistently and at the same time

But as a small business, knowing where to start can feel pretty overwhelming. We know this because we’ve been there. 

To help you out, I thought I’d share what we do at Charlie to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace. You’re welcome to start using all or any of these ideas straight away.

Invest in and support diversity, equity and inclusion

As a business, you need to be committed to diversity, equity and inclusion at all times. Which means you’ve got to invest in it

You can’t just hope that your business is diverse and inclusive and move on. You have to care about it, and actively take steps to promote and nurture a diverse and inclusive culture. This means investing your time, thought, resources, and people, and regularly reviewing the difference you are making or if anything has changed. 

The framework for this investment is your diversity and inclusion strategy, which sets the tone for your business. To help you with this, we’ve written a blog on how to write a diversity and inclusion policy and included our own policy for you to take inspiration from.

Create a positive and safe working environment 

A positive and safe working environment is free of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination.

At Charlie, we promote dignity and respect for all, where individual differences and the contributions of all team members are recognised and valued

As the business owner or HR lead, the workplace environment starts with you. It’s about treating everyone in your team with respect and welcoming their ideas, feedback and contributions. And vitally, giving each and every member of your team an equal opportunity to progress.

Ensure that everyone understands the law

At Charlie, we believe it’s our responsibility as the employer to ensure that all employees understand that they can be held liable for acts of bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination — whether that’s towards our customers, suppliers, members of the public, or other people in our team. 

Under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, harassment is a criminal offence.

Take complaints seriously

Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t just about the positive stuff — it’s about dealing with the negative too. Good employers take complaints seriously and handle them deftly and professionally

Under our grievance and disciplinary procedures, we deal with bullying, harassment, victimisation and unlawful discrimination as misconduct at Charlie. Particularly serious complaints could amount to gross misconduct and lead to dismissal without notice, and sexual harassment is likely to amount to both an employment rights matter and a criminal matter.

Have an employee handbook

Having a single reference point for your policies and procedures is good for your team and good for you. Everything your employees need to know is easily accessed via your employee handbook. 

Our grievance and disciplinary policies and procedures, for example, are in our employee handbook, and it’s also where our employees will find our diversity and inclusion policy. Whenever we update anything at Charlie, we update our company handbook as well. 

But how do you put together an employee handbook if you’re not sure what it should contain?

Well that’s where we can help!

Our HR Advice service is here to support you with your company handbook, your diversity and inclusion policy, and more. And it’s free for an initial chat with one of our advisors. 

Click here to book a call with one of our HR advisors

Review your practices and procedures 

Building regular reviews of your practices, interview questions focused on diversity and procedures into your business calendar is also a good thing.

Not only does reviewing ensure that nothing fails to get updated (employment legislation and regulations change often!), but it also means you're regularly checking in on yourself as an employer (and your own unconscious bias in the workplace). 

And when you update something, tell your team. And explain how any change affects them. Open and regular communication is so important for promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Monitor and report on your diversity

To achieve our commitments set out in our diversity, equity and inclusion strategy, we monitor and report on certain diversity attributes of team Charlie.

This is one of the ways we check in with ourselves as an employer. After all, how can we promote Charlie as being inclusive if our own team is not diverse?

Monitor and report on complaints

The flipside to monitoring diversity is recording and reporting the number of complaints (grievances) and cases of harassment at your business. 

You’ll be able to spot potential problematic trends and do something about them before they become bigger, more serious issues.

Make reasonable adjustments 

Whenever possible, at Charlie we make adjustments for our employees. 

Promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace is as much what you do as what you say, so we adapt to new ways of working or acquire new technology to help our team do their jobs more easily. 

In order to adjust, we need to know what our employees require from us — so open communication is essential. We encourage our team to talk to tell us what they need to be healthier and happier at work.

Regularly review your diversity, equity and inclusion strategy 

Promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace is an everyday exercise, not a tick-box exercise. So we review our own diversity, equity and inclusion strategy bi-annually.

Our Chief of Staff and People and Talent Manager lead on this, and set goals to address any obvious or potential issues after each review. 

At Charlie, diversity and inclusion are fundamental to who we are and what we want to achieve, so we’ve embedded the principles into our business processes and across all areas of our work. 

As a fellow small business, you’re perfectly placed to do this too.

If you want to know how to promote diversity and inclusion in your workplace more effectively, Charlie’s here to help you. Our HR advisors can run a ‘diversity, equity and inclusion health check’ on your business so that you’re better informed to achieve your diversity and inclusion goals. 

Together, we’ll help you build a fulfilling work environment where your team always feels supported and engaged. What could be more inclusive than that?

Click here to book a call with CharlieHR

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