employees conversing around computer

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion – more commonly known as DE&I – has almost become a buzzword in the workplace, a performative measure for companies to simply check a box and never look back. The problem with doing this is that outdated, and potentially discriminatory practices are never being fully addressed. Diversity initiatives are everchanging and evolving, requiring continued care and attention.  If employees continue feeling ostracized by their workplace for being their true selves, companies will lose out on attracting the industry’s top talent.

To maximize your DE&I efforts, uplift your employees’ needs first. Consider administering a company-wide survey to get a sense of how employees feel coming to work every day and whether they feel they are valued by their organization, their ideas are being heard, and ultimately whether they feel safe. It’s important to note that every organization needs to start from somewhere, and although reported cases may come  as a shock, there is always room to grow and improve your internal culture and external hiring practices. The benefits to doing so can lead to fewer lawsuits, boosted productivity, and a stacked workforce.

Below are several examples of organizational discrimination that individuals may come across throughout their professional careers. We’ve provided scenarios for each of them and tips on how your organization can be proactive in fostering an inclusive, progressive company culture.

1. Racial discrimination

It’s an unfortunate reality how prevalent racial discrimination is in our society, but it’s especially damaging when it happens in the workplace – somewhere employees should feel safe coming to everyday and confident that their ideas, interests, culture, and overall wellbeing are being valued by the team. When this trust is broken, the employee may feel defenseless and isolated, leading to a loss of unmatched, extraordinary talent that can cost thousands of dollars for your organization to replace.

An easy place to start is to re-evaluate the language you hear day-to-day around the office or in virtual meetings. BizLibrary has several content lessons on adopting inclusive language as well as unpacking microaggressions to help employees recognize and overcome biases.

Consistently training your organization can help your company prevent discrimination and achieve a positive culture that employees are proud to be a part of.

View BizLibrary’s collection of webinars on promoting diversity and inclusion at work!

2. Sex and gender discrimination

Women may come across an outdated work culture where they don’t have equal opportunities as their male counterparts. Less explicit instances can occur where an employee feels their voice isn’t being heard, is afraid of showing emotion, or feels they have to assimilate to a culture that doesn’t resonate with their authentic self. Training allows employees to get on the same page about an organization’s best practices for building a strong team bond that’s rooted in inclusivity. Consider training your workforce on topics like gender pronouns, developing an inclusive mindset, empowering women in male-dominated fields, and more.

Watch a sample lesson from our collection on developing an inclusive mindset. Social Justice Activist Justin Jones-Fosu shares an important distinction between being welcoming and inviting to better support organizations’ inclusion efforts. View here:

Unpacking unconscious bias is a precursor to helping break down the way we think and prevent discrimination. At BizLibrary, employees are encouraged to share ovations about their teammates via an internal, company-wide group forum. The sharing of new business wins, a helping hand, and even something as simple as feeling supported keeps the focus on uplifting our teammates and recognizing the hard work they’ve been doing, regardless of their gender, race, and other identifying factors.  

3. Age discrimination

Organizations today are commonly made up of multi-generational workforces, making it challenging to keep everyone in the organization aligned. It’s important in situations like these to offer support to individuals with less experience, and to encourage tenured employees to be receptive to new ideas that come in, on top of ensuring no one gets left behind. From an organizational perspective, it’s critical for junior-level employees to have opportunities for developing skills that can help them move up and secure higher-level positions.

Sunset Transportation partnered with BizLibrary to design a robust training program that combines monthly assigned video courses with an in-person group discussion. To accommodate different experience levels, four training groups were created to meet the needs of new managers, existing managers, supervisors, and directors. 

“Since acquiring BizLibrary as our learner partner, I’ve been able to continue developing my skills at different levels of my career. The videos during our managers training have been extremely helpful in assisting the development of my intangible skill set within the last year by providing concise information in teachable lessons that tend to keep your attention really well!” – Arnes Crnolic, Carrier Sales Manager at Sunset Transportation

Offer your organization the tools they need to feel more confident working alongside diverse experience levels. Look to our blog, 5 Steps to Building a Learning Culture Equipped for Tomorrow, to learn how you can further engage employees and promote positive team collaboration.  

4. Disability discrimination

Benefit plans are in place to keep employees physically healthy, but mental wellbeing deserves the same care and attention. Since several companies shifted to working remotely, it can be tough to gauge how employees are doing mentally without the frequent run-ins with colleagues at the water cooler.

While confirming the office space is conducive to mobility devices, take the time to re-evaluate benefits plans, PTO, and sick leave. Employees want to feel comfortable taking time away from work for mental-related illnesses, even in a remote environment.  Collecting feedback and creating safe spaces for employees will improve your organization’s inclusivity while communicating your company’s investment in its workforce.

And finally, reflect on how your company treats employees with diversifying qualities. Consider how you can empower them to be their true selves and celebrate the organization’s exceptional talent.

How can your organization foster an equitable, inclusive culture?

It’s stressful to feel the weight of the company’s brand and recognition on your shoulders when an instance of discrimination is reported. First and foremost, it’s vital to the organization’s success to create a safe and welcoming environment for employees. Validate how the employee may be feeling and honor their requests on the situation.

A preliminary measure that organizations can take in eliminating discrimination in the workplace is through prevention. No policy is set in stone, and to see positive change, ongoing conversations need to be had on existing policies. An initial step in progressing toward a more inclusive workplace is ensuring your workforce is up to date on the current policies in place through – you guessed it – employee training! Anti-harassment, inclusivity, and anti-racism are just a few topics organizations can be regularly trained on. A best practice for reinforcement is using microlearning to further accommodate diverse learning styles and needs. Microlearning chunks up these topics into videos an average of seven minutes for a quick, but informative lesson.

BizLibrary produces its content in house and partners with several producers to roll out business-critical topics that are up to date with the changing needs of the workforce. Clients can feel confident refining their DE&I process knowing that BizLibrary routinely updates compliance training to meet the standards of new and existing laws.

Ready to incorporate DE&I and other business critical topics as a part of your organization’s training program? Talk to a Solutions Consultant today.

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