Are you building an inclusive workplace? Ask these five questions to assess how effective your efforts are and identify areas of improvement.

While many UK employers identify as being inclusive and an advocate for diversity, many miss the mark when it comes to tangible results. Indeed, when we drill down and look at statistics related to the representation of minority groups in leadership positions, we can see that there’s still a long way to go.

So how can employers promote inclusion at work at every level? 

Answering these five self-assessment questions is a great place to start.

Each of these questions aims to encourage you, as an employer, to truly determine whether you’re doing enough to champion diversity and inclusion at work. That way, you can tweak your EDI strategy and meet your inclusion goals in 2024.

Inclusivity Questions To Ask At Your Next EDI Strategy Meeting

There’s no easy answer or ‘one size fits all’ solution for how to create an inclusive workplace. Instead, as an employer, you must adapt best practices and policies to align with your workforce and unique organisational goals.

That said, these five inclusivity questions can certainly set you on the right path, showing you where you should focus attention. Here’s a closer look.

1. Do you prioritise gender equity?

The gender pay gap remains, especially at leadership levels.

In fact, research shows that women only make up 19.7% of employees on company or organisational boards. 

What’s more, for every 100 men who receive promotions to managerial roles, only 86 women receive promotions to the same roles.

Incredibly, in the UK, women’s hiring chances increase by as much as 46% when they take part in blind applications.

All of these statistics indicate that employers must do more to foster gender equity in the workplace.

Start by asking yourself if your business makes gender equity a priority. If the answer is yes, list the tangible actions you take to do this. Then, define more actions you can take to expand this list and promote gender equity more. This might include employee education on gender equality, inclusive language, and unconscious bias

It could also include initiatives, such as leadership programmes, job shadowing, and other training that aims to support women in reaching C-level positions.

You may also want to review your job descriptions, ensuring that the language empowers women to apply for high-level roles. After all, women are less likely to apply for a position if they don’t meet every piece of the criteria. 

Related content: How To Run A Diversity Audit 

2. Do you make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities?

Statistics show that 89% of UK employees would like their employer to include people with intellectual disabilities in their diversity and inclusion.

However, the disability employment gap remains prominent in the UK.

Even though inclusive workplaces that welcome and support disabled employees tend to perform better, many employers still fall short on disability hiring. So, ask yourself what measures your business takes to attract and retain talent with different abilities and needs.

Do you offer reasonable accommodations for candidates and employees? Are your workspaces accessible? Do you provide flexible working arrangements to adapt to employees’ lives?

What about your company culture? How do you promote inclusion? Are you aware of the disability laws in the UK?

The more measures you have in place to attract, retain, and empower disabled employees in your organisation, the more inclusive your company can become.

If you feel like you’re falling short, speak to disabled employees within your company, local disability charities, and third-party experts to learn how you can do better.

3. Do you have a DEI Policy in place?

A Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) policy provides guidelines, rules, and procedures surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion in an organisation. It demonstrates your company’s commitment to workplace inclusivity and diversity.

From outlining how your company handles discrimination to assuming accountability, an up-to-date D&I policy ensures your business is prioritising building an inclusive workplace. Every interaction, discussion, and action in the business should align with the policy. It should also indicate a zero-policy approach to discrimination in the workplace.

If you already have a DEI policy, great. But the work doesn’t stop there.

Think of your policy as a living, breathing document. In other words, you must review it regularly to ensure it fits the latest best practices. You also need to assess how effective it is and make any necessary changes to improve this area.

Finally, many organisations fall into the trap of not promoting the policy enough. Make sure all employees know about the policy, where it lives, and its implications. Including it in your onboarding package, offering refresher training, and sending regular reminders or updates will help keep it at the forefront of employees’ minds.

Related content: Equality, Diversity, And Inclusion Policy Template

4. Is your workplace open to mental health discussions?

Did you know that around 1 in 4 Britons experience a mental health issue each year? Despite this high figure, mental health remains stigmatised, especially in the workplace.

Ask yourself if your company does enough to create dialogues around mental health. If the answer is yes, list your current actions and think of ways that you can improve on this further.

By creating an open dialogue, you create a safe space for staff to share their own experiences and struggles. Of course, not every employee will want to share this at work, but creating a space where they can is an excellent way to support workforce wellbeing.

On top of creating opportunities for discussions, consider mental health trahttps://www.aspiringtoinclude.com/what-is-cultural-competency-training/ ining, employee counselling, and ERGs to build a workplace that supports wellbeing.

You may also want to consider introducing mental health days and flexible working options to support colleagues who may be struggling. 

5. Do you employ inclusive recruitment and promotion practices?

Despite many employers claiming to uphold inclusive recruitment practices, the data suggests otherwise.

In the UK, ethnic minorities hold just 1 in 16 of the top managerial positions.  And of the 1,0999 most powerful jobs in the UK, ethnic minorities fill only 52.

It’s time to dig deeper into why these disparities still exist and how your business can participate in closing the gap.

That starts with hiring.

As we know, unconscious bias plays a large role in recruitment. Since many hiring managers will assess candidates to ensure they’re a good ‘cultural fit’, organisations tend to recruit people from similar backgrounds.

In order to change this, you may need to take a long, hard look at your current practices. Actions such as reviewing job ads for inclusive language, broadening your criteria to welcome a wider talent pool, and advertising on inclusive job sites can help.

Of course, you must also consider how you can retain diverse talent once you get them on board. What do you currently do to support underrepresented groups in reaching leadership positions? How do you ensure that internal promotions are done fairly?

Thinking about these questions will ensure you not only attract diverse job seekers, but also create an environment for them to thrive.

Additional reading: How to Build a Diverse Recruitment Team (and Why) | Aspiring to Include

 

Next Steps

From better representing your audience to boosting innovation, the benefits of equality and diversity in the workplace are monumental.

However, navigating the process of building an inclusive workplace can be sensitive. These questions are an excellent place to begin. Not only do they encourage you to be open and realistic about your current actions, but they also identify areas that need more attention.

By asking the difficult questions, you can adopt EDI policies and practices to address workplace inequality and a lack of diversity.

Need support? We can help.

At Aspiring to Include, we believe in equal opportunities for all. As well as an inclusive job board and a free resource hub, we offer a range of employer services.

From advertising opportunities to inclusivity screening, we can support your business in building an inclusive workplace. Get in touch today.