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4 tips on how to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace

Posted June 22, 2022

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Diversity, equity, and inclusion. Three words we are all familiar with hearing in the workplace and a topic over one-third of HR leaders in a recent survey said is a top priority for them in 2022. We invited WEX’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Laura Shen onto our Benefits Buzz podcast to share her tips on how to grow a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Eliminate hiring biases

Flexible work environments offer a great opportunity for companies to look for potential hires that are located outside the company’s location. And focusing on a potential hires’ skill sets versus their experience can help eliminate any implicit bias.

Be conscious of the diversity of the people you are interviewing and be open during the assessment process about any bias or perspective you might have that might interfere with the process. And finally, keep topics such as pay equity and your company’s onboarding experience top of mind when hiring a new employee. 

Create tangible goals that lead to meaningful changes

Growing diversity and inclusion in a workplace takes time, but as long as you’re committed to the journey and creating reachable goals, you’re on the right track.

“At the end of the day, diversity is about talent acquisition, developing the talent we have, and retaining the talent we have. … I think about the big boulders we want to move, as well as the tangible actions that I can take and leaders can take each day to create meaningful change,” Shen said.

Think about data and leadership aspiration goals. Consider diversity in the data you collect about individuals so you can better understand what individuals want in terms of inclusivity and benefits. And with leadership, focus on equipping them with the tools they need to provide an inclusive environment for their employees. Elevating your employee resource groups is also a great way to support and encourage employees that might be underrepresented in your community.

Educate your employees

DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) is a learning process, so be patient and understanding with employees during this journey. If you do have an individual or team who is struggling with any DEI practices you’ve put in place, remember that this doesn’t typically come from a place of malintent. Try to understand their intentions and focus on the best way to educate your employees on this topic, without making them feel targeted or judged.

 “One of the phrases I’ve heard recently … is how to call in versus call out … and how to educate and understand the empathy that goes on in those situations versus feeling like it’s us versus them,” Shen said. “That notion of inclusion is where I want to lead with. Inclusion helps us understand diversity better, which leads to more equitable outcomes.”

Keep the conversation going

Growing a diverse and inclusive workplace isn’t a solo project, so it’s important to share your content and progress with leadership and other areas of the company. Keep the conversation going by sharing your diversity and inclusion data and resources with your company, customers, and the general public. And remember the reasons why DEI is important to your company and its employees.

 “At the end of the day, you can have the metrics, but (DEI) is about the people,” Shen said. “It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels like they can belong and bring their full selves to work.”

Interested in learning more about DEI? Check out WEX’s inaugural Diversity, Equity & Inclusion report.

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel.

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