Enhancing Workplace Communication through Diversity and Inclusion Training

A recent study has found that diversity and inclusion training affects workplace communication. Although quantifying the impact of diversity and inclusion incentives is challenging, research shows that workplaces are progressing positively. Below, we discuss the importance of diversity, equality, and inclusion, how employers can implement these practices, and the potential repercussions of neglecting them.

Research Findings

Dr Vittorio Tantucci, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Lancaster University, led the study. It involved analysing over 1,600 conversations between English speakers from various demographic samples of the British National Corpora (BNC) in 1994 and again in 2014. During this period, the study found that middle-class individuals have altered their speech patterns and language use to emphasise inclusivity.

“Resonance” is a style of engagement whereby people imitate each other’s words, accents, and gestures. According to Dr Vittorio Tantucci’s study, this has increased significantly over the past 20 years, particularly in those in leading managerial roles, doctors, university lecturers, and politicians. This is likely due to the emphasis placed on diversity, equality, and inclusion over recent years within corporate and higher education institutions, ultimately impacting workplace communication.

Dr Vittorio Tantucci noted that this change is less prominent in sectors where diversity and inclusion are not as strongly encouraged. He stated: “When words and expressions are creatively re-used in conversation, speakers are more engaged with each other’s speech, showing a more inclusive stance towards what has just been said by the other party.” He added: “This shows a significant change in how British people interact with one another and how this is reflected in different social classes.”

The Importance of Diversity and Inclusion at Work

Diversity and inclusion are significant in the workplace. Workforces that comprise a mixture of employees from different cultures,  nationalities and backgrounds naturally provide a corresponding variety of knowledge, skills, and experience. This, in turn, has a considerable impact on the diversity of thought, ideas, and innovation that help businesses stand out.

Nurturing an inclusive workplace culture will positively impact recruitment and retention. Many job candidates value diversity, equality, and inclusion and are more likely to accept job offers from employers who integrate this ideology into their workplace. Similarly, this approach will broaden the pool of job candidates. Focusing solely on what prospective employees can bring to a role will enable employers to hire the best talent available. Ensuring that all employees feel welcomed and included will result in a happier workforce overall and help retain employees going forward.

Productivity is also impacted by diversity and inclusion in the workplace. The more diverse and inclusive the workforce, the wider the range of skills and experience. Such skills and experience are combined through teamwork and collaboration, enabling employees to learn from one another and contribute equally, resulting in greater productivity and success for them and the business.

In addition to the positive effect diversity and inclusion will have on employees, this will also be reflected in clients and customers. Businesses with a more diverse workforce will be able to market to a broader audience. As with job candidates, many potential customers feel more comfortable approaching businesses that demonstrate diversity, equality, and inclusion. Diverse workforces will naturally promote the company to diverse customers, enhancing customer engagement and effective business growth.

How Employers Can Improve Their Inclusive Workplace Culture

Whilst many employers understand the benefits of diversity and inclusion and are keen to promote an inclusive workplace culture, some struggle to recognise how this might be achieved. Theoretically, this involves hiring employees from various backgrounds, promoting workplace equality, and encouraging inclusivity across the business. In practice, there are multiple ways this ideology can be promoted.

Creating and implementing clear policies will effectively demonstrate the business’s stance on diversity and inclusion. They will help employees recognise which conduct is acceptable and how issues will be resolved.

Similarly, providing all employees with relevant training can help them identify unconscious biases and address negative attitudes and behaviours that may harm an inclusive workplace culture. Encouraging employees to embrace diversity amongst their colleagues and value the contributions of those with different backgrounds and beliefs will make for a more respectful and inclusive work environment.

Ensuring job advertisements are written to encourage diversity and demonstrate inclusivity will help promote the business to a broader range of candidates. Sometimes, such advertisements can be worded to exclude specific characteristics inadvertently. Using gender-specific pronouns or stating that a role would be better suited for a particular age group could result in narrowing the pool of prospective candidates and may be illegal.

Recognising the values and celebrations of different cultures and religions is another way of promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This might be achieved by highlighting such events on work calendars and acknowledging them in group emails, for instance. Such an approach would promote multicultural respect within the workplace.

A lack of diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace may amount to discrimination. This is unfair treatment resulting from a protected characteristic, such as age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation.

Need Employment Law Help?

If you have experienced discrimination or unfair treatment at work, the team of employment law specialists at Redmans Solicitors would be glad to assist you. Contact us today for a confidential discussion about how we might be able to help you.

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