Wednesday, June 12, 2024
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Tech and Innovation

5 Key Factors For Creating Equitable Work Environments

office employees

Creating an equitable work environment can feel like a daunting task for any executive. An equitable workplace simply means that employees are provided with equal opportunity, regardless of identity. Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts can increase productivity for employees and in some cases, even improve profits. But more importantly, they can foster a sense of belonging amongst team members. 

Equity efforts shouldn’t be focused just on race. Make sure to include other types of diversity efforts as well like accessibility, gender inclusivity, and religion awareness. If your company has never prioritized diversity in the workplace, you may not know where to start. 

While DEI work isn’t easy, taking steps in the right direction doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many ways to ease into an inclusive workplace culture. However, sometimes it’s important to knock out toxic workplace trends and build fresh policies and cultures. Here are five ways to create an equitable workplace. 

  1. Host Educational Opportunities
    To be an equitable workplace, your employees need to be empathetic. They need to understand the differences of what their colleagues of other identities experience in the same environments. Equity is impossible without understanding. To offer learning opportunities, try hosting professional development events.

    You could bring in a DEI speaker who discusses inclusivity in the workplace. Your speaker may share from experiences leading DEI initiatives in the workplace or from personal life experiences. Depending on your audience, one speaker may be best for managers; whereas, another speaker may be best for individual contributors. Regardless of your company’s industry, your colleagues will benefit from learning from experts on equity.

  2. Improve Hiring Practices
    If your organization hasn’t traditionally focused on DEI efforts, it’s likely that your hiring practices could use improvements. Equitable workplaces start with equitable recruitment, hiring, and on-boarding practices. One way to do this is to remove barriers for underrepresented groups. If you have a gap in diverse employees, try posting your positions in new places. This could be on job boards geared toward Black, Gen Z, or neurodivergent talent.

    You can also improve your job postings by removing gendered language and unnecessary jargon to be inclusive of potential candidates. In addition to recruitment, interview processes are inherently exclusive when focused on soft skills that are not necessarily important to the job role. Standardizing the interview process for all candidates is a great first step toward inclusivity. Focus your questions on a candidate’s skills rather than unconscious bias of the interviewer. You might also consider having the candidate perform a work sample to test their skill set.

  3. Lead the Charge
    Diversity and inclusion efforts should be a countercurrent effort. Meaning, it should be coming from the top-down and the bottom-up. Hiring a DEI expert to lead the charge is a great way to center equity efforts across the company. This individual can target managers and individual team members to assist in moving initiatives forward. They can even chair a DEI council or lead employee resource groups.

    Having a centralized DEI person can allow mid- and low-level managers a safe space to ask tough questions about their teams. However, it is important that equity is embedded into all roles and departments within the company. DEI isn’t just an human resources issue. It’s a marketing, information technology, and sales issue too. It is something that deeply impacts the success of your employees, and as a result, your company.

  4. Create a DEI Council
    Maybe you’ve been thinking about starting a DEI council within your company. But who would lead it? If you don’t have an individual in charge of these efforts, turn to individual contributors. These employees can often be your best advocates. Put out feelers in group messages or during an all-team meeting. Then, host elections and make it official.

    Your DEI council can evaluate the needs of their colleagues. It is likely that your employees will open up to their peers before sharing information with managers or high-level executives. (They probably already do.) Use your council to source information and determine necessary actions. Having a dedicated team can help a company receive necessary feedback and find solutions for real-time problems.

  5. Provide Transparency
    When in doubt, be honest. Truth can promote trust between you and your employees. Allowing people to see behind the metaphorical curtain might break down barriers you didn’t even know existed. Let people understand your reasoning for decisions by offering explanations. Allow them to provide feedback when they disagree with a decision. And listen during those critical moments.

    Transparency can be displayed in a variety of ways. Things like pay transparency during a job application can set the tone during your interview process. It can even help close the gender pay gap. Opening the lines of communication can encourage inclusivity through idea sharing and innovation. The opportunity for positive outcomes with transparent actions are endless. 

Maybe you’ll decide to start slowly with professional development opportunities. Or, maybe you’ll dive right in by hiring a Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Regardless of where you start, it’s worth celebrating that you’re taking a first step.

Remember that it’s not enough to simply host Women’s History Month celebrations. Instead, celebrate the powerful professional women in your workplace year round. Allow Muslim colleagues flexible work times during Ramadan. Call out microaggressions and put a stop to them. Don’t forget to turn to your DEI council to guide you on necessary changes moving forward — and keep moving forward.

Have you read?
The Global Passport Index: The World’s Most Powerful Passports.
Countries With The Most Billionaires, 2023.
Top CEOs in Switzerland, 2023.
Biggest banks in the world, as measured by total assets, 2023.
The World’s Richest Self-Made Women, 2023.

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CEOWORLD magazine - Latest - Tech and Innovation - 5 Key Factors For Creating Equitable Work Environments

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Anna Papadopoulos
Anna Papadopoulos is a senior money, wealth, and asset management reporter at CEOWORLD magazine, covering consumer issues, investing and financial communities + author of the CEOWORLD magazine newsletter, writing about money with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. You can follow CEOWORLD magazine on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or connect on LinkedIn for musings on money, wealth, asset management, millionaires, and billionaires. Email her at