Think about the last time you walked down a city street. What did you see?
You probably saw a diverse group of people interacting with one another. Different races and genders are working behind the cash register, on a construction crew for the road work being done, or maybe even a homeless man asking for assistance. Not only will you experience these differences in the city, but you may also see someone with a physical or mental disability.
The world is a very diverse place. Yet, when we go into the office, we may not see a diverse group of people there. Often, the office looks a lot like the person doing the hiring or leading the company.
That hurts not only the excluded people but the organization as a whole.
One of the things that I love about the organization I’m a part of is that we’re looking for ways to make diversity and inclusion a part of our organization. Recently, Rural Innovation Exchange ran an article about Bold Furniture and how they helped a young man find his dream job despite his physical challenges.
Bold Furniture is an employer that wants to create opportunities for people, whether it’s someone with a disability or desiring to reenter the workforce after being incarcerated, according to owner Todd Folkert.
This experience has helped the young man hired by the company to do many things. He’s purchased a vehicle and found purpose in his work.
Being a diverse and inclusive workplace gives people these kinds of opportunities. I want you to consider how your organization can welcome diversity and inclusion.
In the rest of the article, we’ll discuss 4 ways you can make this happen. Hopefully, it will spark your imagination and you’ll step out of your comfort zone and hire someone you wouldn’t have typically considered.
Promoting Diversity And Inclusion In The Workplace
Promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace isn’t easy. You have to consider or do multiple things to make this happen. To make your workplace more diverse and inclusive, consider the following:
Look for ways to retrofit your office or production floor:
You may think that it would take quite a bit to allow someone in a wheelchair to be a good fit for a production floor with lots of moving parts. That’s not true.
You can make simple modifications to the equipment you already have to make it more disability accessible. For instance, Bold Furniture made simple modifications to some of their tables and equipment to allow this employee to do his work. There wasn’t anything dramatic but it was enough to allow him to operate the equipment.
Use technology that helps foster communication:
What if you’re looking to hire someone, but they’re hard of hearing or completely deaf? You may think hiring and communicating with them would be difficult.
You may not know American Sign Language, but there are great ways to communicate with people who are hard of hearing.
First, I encourage you to talk or communicate with the person who is hard of hearing. Ask them what their preferred method of communication is. This will help alleviate any stress or frustrations that may occur.
Second, look for tools to help you communicate. You may be able to install software that translates speech into the written word. This way, the employee can listen along and follow conversations without much trouble.
There are plenty of other tools out there as well. Seek a solution and bring someone on board who might not have had a chance before.
Explore new avenues of hiring:
A challenge to some groups of people may be the way job postings are listed. Many organizations go the traditional route and use online postings, internal references, and similar methods.
Consider going to local gathering places and sharing your job openings there. Many community centers, churches, and religious centers have places to advertise.
You may be surprised by the caliber of employee candidates you find when you step outside the normal hiring process.
Encourage current employees to engage with their diverse coworkers:
Have you ever been in a room but felt completely and utterly alone? It may be that you didn’t know anyone or a few people excluded you. That loneliness, that isolation, was deafening.
Now, imagine you’re different from others in an organization. You would feel that same feeling there.
You have to be the one to step forward and engage with the diverse employees in your organization. You must also take it one step further by encouraging your employees to engage with others.
Make it a culture of inclusion.