Diversity has become a popular topic over the past few years. More companies are starting conversations, encouraging a diverse workplace and being open to change.
However, sometimes it can be difficult to know whether your employer is taking diversity seriously. They might talk openly about the topic, but not put their words into practise. So, how can you tell if your employer supports a diverse workplace?
There are gender neutral toilets
You might be surprised how much you can learn about a workplace from its toilets. An employer who cares for their employees will ensure that the toilets are clean, accessible and in good working order. An employer who cares about diversity will do all of this alongside having at least one gender neutral toilet, which is clearly signposted (like those from mysafetysign.com). Gender neutral toilets show that your employer wants to accommodate for all employees, especially ones who are transgender or non-gender conforming.
Your colleagues are from varying backgrounds
Diversity is about understanding and recognising difference. For a company to thrive, an employer needs to understand that different and varied voices enhance an atmosphere, instead of limiting it. Therefore, an employer who supports a diverse workplace will hire lots of people with different backgrounds. The office should have employees who have a different age, gender, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education and national origin to each other, and everyone should be treated equally. If you look around your workplace and see a room full of people who look like you and have had a similar upbringing, then chances are your workplace isn’t very diverse.
A diverse workplace should be disability-friendly and accessible for everyone. This means having the appropriate equipment so that everyone can work to their potential, such as height adjustable desks, accessible plug sockets and switches, and ramps or lifts. Likewise, your employer should ensure that anyone with additional needs gets the support they need, whether that’s for a physical or psychological issue. They will communicate effectively and ensure that all employees feel able to ask when they need help or support. This might mean allowing employees to work from home when they need to, or supporting flexible working hours. An employer who supports diversity will want their employees to be able to perform to their potential, and they will be open to making changes to allow this.
There’s a conversation
An employer who supports and encourages a diverse workplace will be open to conversations about diversity and will constantly want to be better. Whilst it’s not appropriate for an employer to use an employee as an encyclopedia about their cultural background, a culturally aware employer will be aware of the different cultures in their office and make sure that their language supports it. They won’t assume that everyone in the office celebrates Christmas, for example, and will approve leave for other religious holidays. Likewise, a supportive employer will encourage you to attend workshops or training about diversity. They will know that a workplace only becomes truly diverse when everyone who works there supports each other and joins the conversation.