In 2021, diversity and inclusion is expected of all employers. However, employees themselves are expected to not only be aware of diversity and inclusion but also to be equipped to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment, regardless of their jobtitle, career specialty or seniority level. According to a recent Quantum research, 75% of employees think more diversity is needed and 48% of employees believe that respect is the most essential factor for a culture of inclusion. In other words, diversity is increasingly important as a core value and daily commitment for companies to prioritize. In this article, we discuss what top diversity skills you must have in 2021.
1. Be an advocate and an upstander
Research carried by psychologist Mona Weiss amongst medical staff within death situations revealed that 50% of nurses kept quiet when they observed fatal errors being (purposely made) on the training dummy.
The issues related to not speaking up are clear in the medical industry and they also translate across into other sectors. The CCP Research Foundation revealed that unethical behaviour led to some of the world’s largest banks accumulating £264 billion of compensation fees, regulatory fines and legal charges.
Speaking up and being an advocate at work can be intimidating but it is absolutely critical to build an inclusive and diverse workplace that benefits everyone. When you become a more vocal advocate of inequalities at work, other colleagues will mirror your behaviour and follow in your footsteps, creating a positive cascade effect of advocacy within your organisation. Start by speaking up when you see misconduct at work, be it an inappropriate joke at the expense of someone else, an unfair promotion or on inequitable hire, being an upstander at work is a key skill to transform your workplace culture into a highly inclusive and collaborative workplace. Find out what type of advocate you are by taking this two-minute allyship quiz.
2. Be a tireless student
According to a 2021 global survey conducted among employees, the majority of respondents believe learning is a key to success in their career.
When looking at different age groups, 76% of the gen Z believed learning is key to success. Continuous learning is key to workplace success, and in particular learning about diversity and inclusion is critical to build and foster a diverse and inclusive workplace.
People who are driving the diversity and inclusion agenda hold a new role within the business as this function is constantly evolving. There is no set path to becoming a lifelong learner: you need to be constantly educating yourself on the topics of diversity, equity and inclusion and keep up with the latest strategies. Some new techniques involving data-driven decision-making can help you and your organisation create a more inclusive and diverse workplace. A successful diversity and inclusion champion is aware of the available tools, resources and strategies, and learns the new tools and resources.
3. Fight unconscious bias, stereotypes and microaggressions
Diversity and inclusion training and workshops can significantly help mitigate unconscious bias, stereotypes and microaggressions.
According to Paradigm’s survey, 96% of participants in unconscious bias training leave intending to engage in behaviors to reduce bias.
This aligns with Google’s findings that participants in its internal training leave with a higher understanding of unconscious bias, and more motivation to mitigate bias, than their untrained peers. It is important to remember that microaggressions may or may not be intended, but they do create a hostile environment for employees. Well-intentioned microaggressors at work may say or do things that send a message of bias. It’s fundamental that you teach everyone that if they see something, they need to say something. You should send a message that your team or organisation is an inclusive and bias-free workplace.
4. Create inclusive messaging internally and externally
In order to make a real impact, you should think about diversity and inclusion not just inside your organisation but also outside. You could start by conducting an inventory or audit of the marketing messages that your organisation sends to internal and external stakeholders. Are the images in your marketing content diverse and inclusive? Is your website inclusive? Do you have any subtle or hidden bias or stereotype in your marketing message? Diversity and inclusion training and awareness in your workplace should arm all of your employees to think and act with a multicultural lens.
An increasing number of forward-thinking organisations, such as LTTS, create new content that promotes diversity and inclusion, such as this fireside chat with LTTS promoting why diversity and inclusion matters.
According to a recent Adobe research, 61% of Americans find diversity in advertising important. 69% of brands with representative ads saw an average stock gain of 44% in a seven-quarter period ending last year, according to the Heat Test Report. And brands with the highest diversity scores see an 83% higher consumer preference, according to the Heat Test Report. Investing in diverse and inclusive marketing messaging is good for everyone.
5. Cultivating cultural awareness and multicultural understanding
Cultural awareness reinforces the main goals of diversity skills: it helps everyone feel seen, valued, heard and respected. Multicultural understanding provides the foundation for a more inclusive and diverse work environment where everyone can thrive. It's critical to create a sense of belonging to strengthen each person's connection to their team and sense of purpose.
Cultural awareness and multicultural understanding aim to help employees:
Feel safe at work
Connect with others
Make meaningful contributions
Understand their own unique strengths
Respect all other colleagues
Treat each other fairly
Multicultural and multi-ethnic understanding helps everyone better understand and appreciate diverse groups of people. This includes life experiences, beliefs, culture and history. Greater cultural awareness and consideration can help foster a better community and develop a multicultural lens in your workplace. This helps strengthen the company's overall commitment to multiculturalism. Test your cultural awareness with this 2-minute diversity champion quiz.
Diversity skills are essential to help you better understand and deal with people who are not like you and to foster a diverse and inclusive work environment. Inclusive communication requires a receptive attitude, a degree of empathy, active listening, and a great awareness of other cultures and perspectives. Using and practicing these top 5 diversity skills will enhance your self-development as well as your career opportunities in 2021 and beyond. To learn more about diversity and inclusion in the workplace, contact us now.