How to Advocate for Diversity and Inclusion in The Workplace as an Employee

As an employee, you want to be part of a workforce that emphasizes and supports diversity and inclusion. Seeing people like you represented throughout the organization is important. Everyone’s perspectives and contributions need to be valued and integrated into an environment of learning, innovation, and progress. When employees at all levels feel strongly involved in and supported by the organization, the individual and collective successes, continue to increase.

Discover three ways you can promote diversity and inclusion in your company.

Influence the Hiring Process

Indirect involvement in the recruitment process can impact the diversity of the company’s workforce. For instance, get to know the policies and practices for hiring. Ask questions and share insight about the issues that concern you. This may include why the organization should actively recruit from historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) if it does not already do so. Also, write company reviews and share personal stories on employment websites to attract a diverse range of candidates. This is especially important if you are a person of color who details their experiences working for the business. Additionally, let the diverse members of your network know about job openings that may interest them. Because employee referrals are the most effective source for recruitment, they are likely to get hired.

Speak Up About Microaggressions

When a coworker displays indirect, subtle, or unintentional discrimination against a marginalized employee during an interaction or conversation, say something. One example is when a colleague shuts down or questions the ideas that a marginalized employee brings up during a meeting. This can result in bigger forms of discrimination, such as the marginalized employee being overlooked for a promotion. If you experience or witness a microaggression, privately talk with the person after the meeting or send an email. Let them know that although it may not have been their intent, you wanted to bring it to their attention that when they say specific words or behave in a specific way, it has a specific, adverse effect on you. Or, if you have a comfortable relationship with the person, call out the microaggression when it occurs. You could explain how the language or action is hurtful and would be happy to explain why at a later time.

Start Conversations About Current Events

Initiate discussions about how current events may impact your coworkers. This could take place during one-on-one conversations with your manager. For instance, you might share that a certain event being discussed in the news is affecting you, and you would like to talk about it as a company. Or, you could share with a group that a certain event is upsetting and you would like to hear how others feel about it. Asking hard questions and engaging in difficult conversations can be the first steps in creating policy changes.

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