How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace


The importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The benefits of diversity and inclusion to companies

Steps to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace

How can Sodexo Engage support your diversity and inclusion program?

How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

Although many companies have been putting a renewed effort into improving diversity and inclusion (D&I), there’s still a long way to go in creating truly equitable workplaces.

And it’s worth making the effort.

The organisations that embrace D&I see increased revenue, are more likely to innovate and enjoy higher staff retention rates.

Even if you think your organisation is getting it right, there’s always more you can do to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The importance of D&I at work has never been greater.

The rapid adoption of remote and hybrid working following the Covid-19 pandemic has seen teams become more dispersed, and this distance can exacerbate challenges around diversity.

When teams and colleagues are isolated from one another the efforts and initiatives put in place to improve D&I are undermined.

This means organisations have to do more than ever before to bring people closer together and leverage all the potential benefits of cultivating a diverse and inclusive workplace.

The benefits of diversity and inclusion to companies

For organisations willing to put time and effort into improving diversity and inclusion, the benefits are clear.

Diverse workforces are 35% more likely to outperform their respective national industry medians, 45% more likely to grow their company’s market share and 70% more likely to capture a new market.

They’re more creative too. A Washington State University study found that diverse teams make better decisions 87% of the time, while research conducted at the University of California, Berkeley, found diverse groups of people clearly outperform non-diverse groups when it came to creativity.

Steps to improve diversity and inclusion in your workplace

Here are five steps organisations can take to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Understand unconscious bias

One of the biggest challenges to tackling a lack of diversity is helping everyone to understand the unconscious biases they have.

Unconscious bias is a term that describes associations we hold that are outside of our conscious awareness and control. They can be influenced by our background, personal experiences and cultural context.

A great place to start in helping employees understand them is to encourage them to review, question and analyse their personal biases and assumptions. It’s also worth running training seminars and workshops on the subject, with groups of individuals from different teams discussing the issue of unconscious bias and examining their own.

Analyse whether your senior team portrays diversity and inclusion

For a D&I strategy to be successful senior leadership has to be on board, but they also need to lead by example.

Management should be increasing the visibility of D&I efforts, but also push awareness of the issues and encourage innovation. What’s more, when managers and business leaders commit to improving D&I it signals a company-wide commitment to getting it right.

Make pay equity reviews a priority

One of the most common ways a lack of inclusion manifests itself is through inequitable pay.

Organisations should review pay across the company to identify if any employees are underpaid for similar roles or seniority levels, and whether or not these differences fall along gender, racial or other demographic lines.

This is also key for employee engagement. A study into pay by BDO UK found that when employees know their pay is fair and inline with their peers, their job satisfaction is increased.

Recognise all types of religious and cultural holidays

This might sound like an obvious tip, but all too often organisations fail to recognise religious or cultural holidays outside of Christmas.

Create a calendar of different religious and cultural events throughout the year. You can then plan company-wide events around them, or simply encourage managers and wider teams to ask their colleagues how they plan to celebrate them.

Remember to be respectful of these celebrations when scheduling meetings or planning other work events too.

Educate employees on diversity and inclusion

Finally, education is essential for promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace—and this shouldn’t be a one-off event.

Education and training needs to be ongoing, while you shouldn’t simply rely on lecture-style sessions. One study found that while one-off D&I training increases awareness of unconscious bias, the effects can be temporary.

When D&I training is presented as lessons to be passively absorbed it might make us think, but it doesn’t do a good job of triggering behavioural change.

How can Sodexo Engage support your diversity and inclusion program?

Making a diversity and inclusion strategy a success requires a lot of time, effort and iteration, but it also pays to work with an experienced partner.

Here at Sodexo Engage we specialise in employee engagement solutions that can support your D&I efforts.

For example, our rewards and recognition programme is ideal for reinforcing positive behaviours and instituting organisational change. This includes:

  • Celebration packages designed around your organisation and that help build a personalised connection with your team. These packages can be used to celebrate different religious and cultural holidays, as well as personal and team achievements.
  • eVouchers and gift cards that can deliver instant rewards and incentivise actions that promote D&I.
  • Recognition prepaid cards that offer ultimate spending freedom, with our reloadable cards usable with any retailer that accepts Visa. This empowers the recipient to spend their reward wherever they see fit, unlike one-size-fits-all rewards which aren’t always suitable for all types of people.

To find out more about how Sodexo Engage can help support your diversity and inclusion efforts, get in touch with our experienced team today. Our dedicated team of customer service agents and account managers will help you choose the ideal solutions for your organisation’s D&I goals.