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From ATI

Business Communication Solutions: Promote Diversity with Communication

March 3, 2016 – Promoting and encouraging diversity in the workplace is a key component in running a successful and inclusive organization. Simply adopting the attitude that “people don’t see color” or the thought that “gender bias never happens here” puts a company at risk for an increase in employee turnover, low morale, and distrust within the entire organization. In order to effectively embrace diversity among all employees, you must enhance the communication in the workplace in a way that promotes, recognizes and encourages a diverse environment. But how do you do this in a professional and respectful way? Here are some business communication solutions that will help your organization enhance diversity in the workplace:

Acknowledge Differences

Simply pretending differences don’t exist isn’t practical in today’s business landscape. Take time to sit down, discuss, and celebrate the differences among your employees. Provide opportunities for them to promote and educate each other on their individualities.

It’s Okay NOT to Know

If another employee honors a different culture or religious practice, ask them questions to learn more about it. It’s okay to admit and be up-front with what you don’t know as long as it’s done tactfully. Who knows? The information they share with you may help you connect or converse with a potential client or another coworker more effectively in the future.

Address Racial Issues

One of the biggest issues among workplace diversity is when a particular group is made the target of a stereotype or bias. If an employee is showing racial or gender bias, it is your responsibility to address it with them and implement a plan to change their actions.

Listen to Others

Words are a powerful tool, and they can easily be used to unintentionally offend someone else. If you listen to coworkers describe their culture or background, pay attention to the words they use to describe themselves: do they say black or African American; Persian or Iranian; Asian or Korean? The words they use are likely the terms they would prefer others use to describe them.

Avoid Assumptions

Just because someone is a part of a particular gender, race, or religious group doesn’t automatically mean they are supporters of a specific political party or that they fit some stereotypical opinion created by others. Avoid using statements like, “Asian people just know…” These types of statements are patronizing and can be hurtful.

Watch Your Writing, too

We might be masters at communication in the workplace and representing a diverse atmosphere in-person, but don’t forget to transfer that attitude to email, messaging and texting. For example, often times men are written with both their first and their last names where women often are named just by their first. Additionally, replace anything that may be judgmental with factual information. For example, when pointing out someone’s age, don’t use “elderly,” instead use their actual age. Today in business, leaders have a major responsibility in creating, embracing and encouraging diversity at their organization. The fact remains that the more inclusive a work environment is, the more encouraged and motivated the employees are. Promoting diversity is more than just a best practice, it’s also good for business.