In our modern business landscape, keeping your finger on the pulse has become as necessary as breathing. Conversations surrounding systemic inequalities and social injustices happen every day, and thankfully companies are embracing the change.
Forward-thinking managers and executives are looking inward at their workplace culture. Their goal is to remove the hidden prejudices and obstacles that may have unwillingly risen over the years, ensuring a safer environment for every employee.
Introducing diversity and inclusion topics to your team should be a top priority when striving for a fairer future. Just as digital tools like AllyBot make online interactions inclusive, important conversations bring your employees together.
Six diversity and inclusion discussion topics
Due to our diverse workforce, businesses have access to an abundance of employee experience at their fingertips. But if employees feel undervalued and underappreciated, they’re less likely to engage with business performance.
Diversity and inclusion topics lay the foundation for a more inclusive workplace, where employees feel appreciated regardless of their backgrounds. Exploring topics in diversity and inclusion addresses the issues preventing employees from taking the next step.
And with 92 percent of business leaders agreeing a strategic education program would improve its inclusion goals, trends in diversity are on the rise. Let’s look at some in-depth topics that you can discuss to improve your workplace culture.
1. Generational diversity
As employees ages span across multiple generations, generational diversity is an issue that needs addressing. Each generation comes with unique professional expectations, and sometimes these expectations can rub other age groups the wrong way.
The generational makeup of your employees usually consists of the following:
- Generation X – born between 1965 to 1980.
- Millennials – born between 1981 to 1996.
- Generation Z – born 1997 onwards.
Due to the distinct experiences each generation brings, their workplace expectations can put them out of sync with others. Opinions on social media, mental health programs, and flexible working can divide a workplace rather than unite.
Thankfully, with adequate training and inclusive topic discussions, generational stereotypes can be put to rest. Your team will learn what shaped these expectations, realizing the barriers between them are not so big.
2. Supporting gender identity and gender expression
Currently, gender identity and gender expression have been the topic of conversation in most workplaces. With awareness increasing every day, organizations are making gender diversity their number one priority.
Promoting gender inclusivity in the workplace secures a safe space for women, transgender, and non-binary people. Globally, some initial steps taken in the workplace are gender-neutral bathrooms and employee health benefits for transitioning individuals.
Without a safe environment, inclusivity is impossible. Because of this, diversity topics surrounding gender identity and gender expression should become the norm. You need to ensure inclusive language is the go-to for every conversation and business interaction. And by hearing their concerns, you can act and improve your workspace.
As mentioned earlier, tools such as AllyBot encourage inclusive language with every conversation.
If you’ve ever been in a workplace where someone offends your identity, whether they realize it or not, they’re participating in microaggressions that impact employee wellness.
For those that don’t know, examples of verbal microaggression include “man up,” which associates gender with strength, and “but where are you really from?” which questions the true origin of a coworker.
In a nutshell, microaggressions are verbal or non-verbal attacks directed toward marginalized groups. These everyday slights, whether conscious or unconscious, take their toll on employees, resulting in us vs. them mentality.
To prevent microaggressions at work, you need to address the elephant in the room. Your employees need to understand subtle attacks have no place in the office. From low morale to employee mental health, microaggressions need to be front and center of your discussions.
4. Unconscious bias
Unconscious biases creep into our thinking patterns from day one. They’re beliefs we hold about other groups that are beyond our control; this can be very damaging when forming relationships, particularly in the workplace.
But don’t blame yourself. Everybody has an unconscious bias. Our background and experiences unconsciously shape how we think, whether we like it or not.
The trouble is; some unconscious beliefs – women being more emotional than men – can damage the safe environment you want to create. Racial biases, age biases, and sexual orientation biases are all dangerous traits to bring to the workplace.
Recent statistics show that 34 percent of those affected by workplace bias would withhold ideas and solutions, indicating employees are missing out on valuable creativity. It’s why unconscious bias is one of the most common diversity training topics.
The problem is, changing how we think is extremely difficult; to combat unconscious barriers, organizations must look inward at their own internal biases and resolve any issues that are holding back progress. Employees will experience these changes and eventually, their thinking patterns will alter.
Stereotypes find us judging people or groups without any prior knowledge or evidence. It goes without saying; this kind of thinking has no place in our rapidly evolving world, but unfortunately, stereotypes still rear their ugly head.
When stereotypes exist in the workplace, low morale and low productivity are not too far behind. Some employees act on prejudices, so instead of jobs going to the assigned person, they go to the wrong people, meaning productivity levels will be affected.
Challenging stereotypes should feature heavily in diversity and inclusion topics. If you’re not combating prejudices in the workplace, cultural hurdles will remain in place. It’s up to you to remove these barriers that impact productivity.
Unfortunately, gender stereotypes are still a concern for businesses. Changing corporate literature with inclusive language that promotes workplace diversity and inclusion secures equal footing. Again, AllyBot is there to help.
6. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)
Most of your employees should be aware of diversity and inclusion. But if not, let’s have a little refresher. In the workplace, diversity refers to the representation of people from different backgrounds.
Inclusion celebrates our differences and ensures all employees are seen and heard. While diversity and inclusion topics have been the main focus for many years, some global organizations are adding equity into the mix.
Equity in the workplace is all about fairness. Its goal is to ensure impartial processes and outcomes for every employee. That includes deeper transparency around pay, employment opportunities, and board representation. DEI strives to bring equality to the masses.
In our turbulent world, it’s easy to forget discussion topics on diversity and inclusion are necessary. Not only is creating a safe environment the best option for your business, but it also puts you on the right side of history.