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5 Initiatives To Celebrate Inclusion & Diversity In The Workplace

Mr Sarwar Khawaja

By Mr Sarwar Khawaja Chairman, Executive Board, Oxford Business College

In today’s globalised world, fostering inclusion and diversity in the workplace is not just a moral imperative but also a business necessity. A diverse and inclusive environment can drive innovation, enhance employee engagement, and improve overall organisational performance. Here are five initiatives that companies can implement to celebrate and promote inclusion and diversity within their workplace.

  1. Establish Employee Resource Groups (ERGs)

Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) are voluntary, employee-led groups that aim to foster a diverse, inclusive workplace aligned with the organisations they serve. These groups bring together employees who share common interests, backgrounds, or demographics, such as gender, race, and ethnicity. ERGs provide a platform for employees to share their experiences, support one another, and contribute to the company’s diversity and inclusion goals. They can also help in identifying specific needs and challenges faced by different groups within the organisation, thereby informing better policies and practices.

  1. Implement Inclusive Hiring Practices

To ensure a diverse workforce, it’s essential to have inclusive hiring practices. This involves creating job descriptions that appeal to a broad range of candidates, using diverse interview panels, and implementing blind recruitment processes to eliminate unconscious bias. Companies can also partner with organisations that specialise in placing underrepresented groups in various industries. Regular training for hiring managers on unconscious bias and inclusive interviewing techniques can further support these efforts, ensuring that all candidates are evaluated fairly based on their skills and potential.

  1. Celebrate Cultural and Heritage Events

Celebrating cultural and heritage events is a powerful way to honour the diverse backgrounds of employees and foster an inclusive culture. Organisations can mark significant dates such as Black History Month, Pride Month, International Women’s Day, and various cultural festivals by organising events, workshops, and discussions. These celebrations can include guest speakers, cultural performances, and educational sessions that highlight the histories, contributions, and experiences of different groups. Such initiatives not only educate employees but also create a sense of belonging and respect within the workplace. At Oxford Business College we regularly recognise the importance of our employees’ culture and celebrate this. For example, last year we celebrated Pakistan’s Independence Day. As an academic institution, we are privileged to witness the dedication, passion, and wisdom our Pakistani students and employees bring to our community.

  1. Offer Diversity and Inclusion Training

Regular diversity and inclusion training is crucial for creating an inclusive workplace. These training programmes should be designed to educate employees about the importance of diversity, the impact of unconscious bias, and how to foster an inclusive environment. Training can include topics such as cultural competence, inclusive language, allyship, and conflict resolution. By providing employees with the knowledge and tools to understand and appreciate diversity, organisations can promote a more respectful and cohesive work environment.

  1. Develop Inclusive Policies and Practices

Inclusive policies and practices are the backbone of a diverse and inclusive workplace. This includes flexible working arrangements, parental leave policies, and provisions for religious practices and holidays. Companies should also have clear policies against discrimination and harassment, with established procedures for reporting and addressing such issues. Regularly reviewing and updating these policies ensures they remain relevant and effective in meeting the needs of a diverse workforce. Additionally, gathering feedback from employees through surveys and focus groups can help identify areas for improvement and ensure that policies are truly inclusive.

Conclusion

Promoting inclusion and diversity in the workplace requires ongoing commitment and proactive initiatives. By establishing Employee Resource Groups, implementing inclusive hiring practices, celebrating cultural and heritage events, offering diversity and inclusion training, and developing inclusive policies and practices, organisations can create a more inclusive, supportive, and dynamic work environment. These initiatives not only benefit employees but also contribute to the overall success and resilience of the organisation.

 

About Oxford Business College (OBC):

Committed to helping people shape their futures, Oxford Business College has created a significant socioeconomic effect in the UK. Known for high academic standards and highly qualified staff, the College has 7000+ students from diverse backgrounds, orientations, and cultures. The college has expanded from one campus in Oxford to four cities, numerous campuses and partnerships with multiple UK universities including the University of West London, Ravensbourne University London, and Buckinghamshire New University. In 2022, OBC became the first independent business school in the UK to be a member of the Chartered Association of Business Schools (CABS).

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