Ten Tips to Promote Diversity & Inclusion for Small Business

February 16, 2021

2020 was one of the most challenging years ever. But, there were a lot of suitable lessons that we have learned from and grown from.

The strong social movements that we have witnessed in the past few months have inspired large corporations to evaluate their current diversity and inclusion programs.

Many national brands have implemented positive changes to their organizations. The implementation of these changes has made headlines. With a strong message utilizing their social media presence,  brands have attracted more customers and retained existing customers.

Diversity and inclusion at one time may have been viewed as common buzzwords used interchangeably.

Diversity and inclusion are currently a regular part of our culture.

Promoting both diversity and inclusion within the workplace is something many businesses want to implement. Small businesses are not exempted. However, many small business owners have limited resources. This inhibits them from executing programs that could be beneficial to their business.

Small business owners often want to implement such programs without realizing just how beneficial diversity and inclusion could be to their success.

There are many benefits to promoting a diverse and inclusive workplace.

  • Businesses benefit when they are open to expanding their current beliefs. By employing individuals from different backgrounds and including them in customer service, marketing, and business development, small businesses can experience different views. This allows companies to produce products and services that are appealing to all customers. This collaboration allows businesses to continue to innovate, which makes services and products more appealing and inclusive. This allows companies to not only compete in their vertical but remain on top.
  • Evidence has been published that organizations that are more inclusive and diverse are more successful than businesses that do not focus on diversity and inclusion. For example, McKinsey’s research found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have above-average financial returns. For gender diversity, that number is 15%. Businesses with these programs are more likely to remain in business than those that do not have one.
  • Creating a culture of overall mutual respect amongst employees is an environment that employees appreciate. These businesses have employee higher retention rates saving the operational costs associated with employee turnover.

There are many ways to implement diversity and inclusion as a small business owner with limited resources.

Here are a few ways in which you can promote diversity and inclusion within your small business:

  1. Offer a designated safe space for employees to have some privacy to accommodate individual needs. Allowing break time and space for nursing mothers can make these employees feel included. Employees that may need a quiet space for prayer time will appreciate their employer providing an opportunity to them.
  2. Make employees who speak another language other than English feel comfortable speaking in their native tongue when applicable. These employees can extend their communication to customers in their first language, promoting inclusion to the employees and promoting inclusion with customers while building repoire.
  3. Plan holiday parties versus Christmas parties. Include the traditions and celebration of holidays that apply to all of the workforces. This provides an opportunity to learn about different traditions and cultures, opening up an opportunity to create new habits, including enjoying a new dish and much more!
  4. Communicate the importance of diversity and inclusion regularly with your team to be aware of your company’s position. If variety is a part of your onboarding program, ensure that this is revisited after new hire training is completed.
  5. Companies offering a benefits package may want to include opportunities to educate on these benefits. By providing support for employees to understand benefits, such as health and wellness and financial literacy, employees with extended resources can make the right decisions in their selections and utilize these services to the best of their family’s needs. Those small businesses not offering a benefits package can still contribute to the organization’s greater good by offering Lunch and Learns with local vendors to enhance their lives. This can result in employees feeling as though they have an employer that cares about their well-being and ensures they have the same opportunities as their counterparts.
  6. Leaders should understand the goals and the vision for diversity and inclusion when hired and promoted. They should understand and contribute to the owner’s dream in achieving the organization’s goals.
  7. Microbusinesses with little or no employees can incorporate a diversity program that ensures they are inclusive in their vendor selection. Businesses should consider being mindful of practicing inclusion in their advertisements. Marketing to all by selecting photos and graphics representing all cultures, genders, and generations, prospective customers feel included.
  8. Offer opportunities to educate on diversity and inclusion as an option for employees and managers. This can be training such as a similar webinar, offering valuable online articles, and reviewing any applicable internal policies.
  9. Ensure employees feel comfortable expressing concerns, providing feedback, and that they feel heard and understood. Whether it be as essential as an open-door policy or a formal policy to discuss these concerns, ensure staff knows that you are open to dialogue.
  10. Consider collectively drafting a mission statement together to address the meaning of diversity and inclusion and drafting some goals. Institute simple golden rules that look like “Treat others the way THEY want and need to be treated.” Please post it in the breakroom as a reminder of your mission.

The fact that you are reading this blog post shows that you care about your employees and want to do good.

Wanting to ensure everyone feels included and represented contributes to overall good morale. Your organization will benefit from its increased retention. Employees appreciate not only appreciate not feeling excluded from others, but they benefit from being recognized and understood.

Being mindful of diversity benefits can help attract a whole pool of new job candidates typically not included in the past, as small businesses often receive resumes from existing employees’ referrals.

One may never know when an employee representing a different viewpoint may provide that unique feedback that could open up your business to market to a new generation, creating name recognition that could help make your company a household name!

PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please contact us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!