Best Practices for a Diverse and Inclusive Work Culture

TL;DR: Beyond being the right thing to do, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become crucial for talent acquisition and retention. Explore key insights from Agustín Sedano on creating an inclusive workplace—from crafting inclusive job descriptions to leveraging tools to defeat biases.

By now, it’s a given that the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace cannot be overstated. Beyond ethical responsibility, companies are increasingly acknowledging the value of DEI initiatives as a powerful business strategy that benefits both the organization and its people.  

The growing recognition that embracing diverse experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds is crucial for sparking innovation and driving the development of new ideas keeps the momentum behind building diverse and inclusive teams growing stronger, especially in today’s global competition for talent. 

Looking ahead, it’s important to make sure that everyone is included. To gain a clearer understanding of the impact DEI has on today’s job market, this blog takes a closer look at what diversity truly entails and shares best practices for building more inclusive teams. 

DEI Turns Crucial for Attracting and Retaining Top Talent  

According to Forbes Insights, companies today are strategically developing diversity and inclusion initiatives to attract and retain talent, expanding their talent pool, and establishing an employment brand that is perceived as inclusive. 

The way companies are seen and their reputation has indeed become crucial. Research shows that most tech professionals consider employer brand and DEI initiatives essential when evaluating potential job opportunities. In fact, 32% of job seekers would not even apply to an organization perceived as lacking diversity. 

Deloitte’s Global 2024 Survey also supports this idea, highlighting that most Gen Z workers are willing to turn down employers that don’t align with their values or contribute to inequality through non-inclusive practices.

Regarding retention, research from Great Place to Work shows that more inclusive organizations — where employees feel they and their colleagues will be treated equally, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or age— are 5.4 times more likely to retain talent long-term. On the flip side, Handshake’s survey on Gen Z indicates that around half of these workers would consider leaving a job if they perceived a lack of equity.  

This scenario underscores the significance of Generation Z in shaping the future of work. As this cohort makes its way into the job market, it brings a strong preference for diverse, inclusive, and equitable workplaces, pushing companies to adapt and step up their diversity initiatives. In this sense, it’s evident that Gen Z is leaving its mark. 

Now that we have a clear grasp of DEI’s impact on today’s job market, let’s take a deeper look at what diversity entails. 

What Does Diversity Mean? 

So, what do we mean when we talk about diversity in the workplace? To establish common ground, let’s explore some definitions.  

Workplace diversity encompasses a wide spectrum of characteristics and backgrounds, including – but not limited to – race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, socioeconomic status, academic and professional experiences, physical and mental abilities, as well as a diversity of ideas and perspectives. 

Alongside diversity, equity and inclusion are key pillars of a DEI strategy. Cultivating a genuinely inclusive culture is not just about hiring people from different backgrounds and experiences. We are rooting for a work environment where all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and are provided with equal voice and growth opportunities. 

Turning Words into Action 

Recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion is just the beginning. Now, let’s delve into some best practices companies can implement to attract talent, cultivate a diverse workplace culture, and foster inclusive growth. 

1. Craft More Inclusive Job Descriptions 

When writing job postings, adopt inclusive language to ensure they are free from gendered or exclusionary terms and appeal to a diverse audience. You should also let candidates know that diversity, equity, and inclusion are key values at your company. These strategies can make a significant difference and attract a broader range of candidates, contributing to a more inclusive hiring process. 

2.  Leverage AI for Unbiased Screening 

An increasing number of AI-powered recruitment tools can screen resumes, emphasizing candidates’ qualifications and skills while disregarding demographic information such as gender, race, and age, as well as preconceptions related to hobbies and interests. Relying on this technology is a great way to streamline the initial screening process while also reducing unconscious bias that can influence traditional screening methods.  

3. Focus on Skilled Based Hiring 

According to Test Gorilla’s survey, 76% of employers are already using skills-based hiring tools to assess candidates, and many more are expected to adopt this strategy to reduce bias in their hiring processes. By prioritizing this approach, recruiters can evaluate candidates based on their actual abilities and competencies rather than their educational background, previous job titles, or other potentially biased criteria. 

Related read: Cultivating Equity: Essential Traits to Reach Bias-Free Leadership

4. Structure and Standardize Interviews 

Implementing structured interviews is another great way to reduce bias in the hiring process. By asking all candidates the same set of questions and standardizing evaluation criteria, this method helps minimize personal prejudices and favoritism, and keeps the process transparent. Plus, it makes it easier to compare candidates’ skills and qualifications, leading to better hiring decisions and a more inclusive workplace. 

5. Train Your Teams

Beyond recruitment, educating teams about DEI is crucial for fostering a workplace that values and respects all individuals. This training can help team members better understand and identify biases, learn how to mitigate them, and reinforce the significance of supporting diverse perspectives and experiences. The entire company can benefit from ongoing training sessions that raise awareness and help build a more inclusive culture in the long run, ensuring everyone feels valued and improving employee satisfaction and sense of belonging.

6. Act on Feedback 

Encouraging open communication enables candidates, employees, and stakeholders to share insights, pinpointing areas for improvement. Leaders can use routine company pulse surveys for internal feedback and social listening for external insights. 

Allowing candidates to provide anonymous feedback on their interview experience can also highlight areas for improvement. By acting on this input, companies demonstrate their commitment to fostering an inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and heard.  

7. Lead by example.  

Alongside these strategies, companies should foster a culture of respect and inclusion throughout their organization. This means building teams that bring together diverse backgrounds and perspectives, ensuring diversity is visible in leadership positions, creating fair opportunities for everyone, and advocating for policies that support diversity. 

Leading by example is crucial in promoting diversity in the workplace. When leaders embody these values in their actions and decisions, they set a powerful example for everyone. 

DEI Is No Longer a Buzzword 

These best practices aim to build more inclusive teams by expanding our talent search, confronting DEI challenges head-on, and laying the foundation for an inclusive culture within the company.  

Remember, cultivating a truly diverse workplace requires time and effort. It’s about creating workplaces that not only attract top talent but also nurture and retain them in the long term, fostering an environment where everyone can thrive.