Why have a diverse workplace? Not only does a diverse work culture make room for more innovative work results, but having diversity and emphasizing inclusion among your employees will attract new talent as opposed to places that don’t work on either subject. That’s why looking at your organization and determining where you can improve on diversity and inclusion is crucial to your continued success. Though working on changing (or improving upon) your culture can be difficult, it’ll ultimately be rewarding and worth the effort you put in. 

Here’s how to start making your business more diverse and inclusive for your employees—both present and future.

Establish a sense of belonging

Everyone wants to know that they belong in their environment, and the workplace is no different. For everyone to work as best as they can, your employees need to have a connection to the organization they work for and the people they call their peers. Letting your employees be themselves will improve their engagement, creativity, and their psychology. 

Helping your employees feel as though they belong won’t happen overnight, however, nor is it something that following a checklist online will help you to fully accomplish. You have to work hard to create that environment for your employees and be open to trying new things; since diversity and inclusion are interconnected, you can work on both of them at the same time.

Quotas don’t equal inclusion

Hiring employees to fill a diversity quota may look good on paper, but in practice, it doesn’t make an inclusive work culture. Leaders often focus their efforts on inclusion and diversity toward what’s written on paper rather than what their employees will actually experience, when in reality it’s the experience that counts the most. To look beyond fulfilling quotas, the upper management of any business should take a critical eye to how they operate their business from top to bottom. 

Consider, for example, meetings: who is attending your meetings? Who gets to speak at these meetings, and how often do they get to speak? Does any singular person talk more than the rest? Is the input of anyone who would be valuable to your conversation being left out? When you want to create an equal space for all of your employees, you need to look at every angle you can and ask yourself whether the conditions of your created environment allows everyone to contribute in a way that’s safe and secure for them to do so. If the answer is no, then you’ll need to work on changing that.

Originally posted on Kimberly’s website.