Most modern successful workforces are highly diverse, with many different groups, backgrounds, skills, needs and perspectives. That’s not just true for global organizations, but for smaller companies too.

Group of Diverse People's Hands RaisedBuilding a work culture that celebrates diversity and encourages inclusion is on the agenda of many boardrooms. That’s not just because it feels like the right thing to do or is a legal obligation. There are also sound commercial reasons. Research suggests that companies that encourage diversity and inclusion can also enjoy a range of benefits, including better profitability and productivity.

Social intranets are an excellent way to reflect, and indeed celebrate, diversity in the workforce. They highlight contributions and give a voice to every employee, regardless of gender, race, religion, age, ability or sexual orientation. Here are six ways that social intranets can support a diversity and inclusion agenda.

1. Reflect values and policy

If your company embraces diversity and inclusion, then make sure your intranet includes clear messages about your company’s positive commitment. Include any official policies or statements, either general or specific, relating to areas such as recruitment.

Broadcast details of any relevant organizational values and report on any programs or initiatives that demonstrate your organization’s commitment is more than just words. It’s essential that employees know about this very important topic.

2. Feature positive news which reflects the diverse workforce

Social intranets reflect the people of the organizations they serve by featuring content about employees as well as carrying their contributions.

Make sure that when you feature content it reflects workforce diversity. Include positive news stories on the range of activities all across your organization and try to ensure different groups are regularly featured in both copy and images. Focus on any stories that highlight diversity and show that it’s something to cherish and value.

3. Encourage employee resource groups

Although they are called different things from organization to organization, employee resource groups (ERGs) and networks are now relatively common, particularly in larger organizations.

Leadership Boss Management Coach Chief Global ConceptThese groups actively support different sections of the workforce. For example, an organization might feature a women’s professional network, a military veterans group or an LGBTQ community. These groups help support employees in professional matters, provide a voice on diversity issues and are frequently involved in wider community initiatives.

A social intranet community space is the perfect place for employees within ERGs to connect, communicate and give visibility to their activities. Before setting up any community, make sure that whatever you do is in line with company policy.

4. Extend intranet reach

Because a social intranet provides an opportunity for every individual to contribute, it’s critical to ensure all employees have access. In large companies there may be sections of your workforce who cannot access the intranet or find it difficult to do so.

Sometimes, in a phased rollout of a new intranet, not all groups will get access, or there may be divisions or lines of business who have chosen not to use the intranet. Frontline or mobile employees who do not have access to a desktop computer during their working day may also not be able to access the intranet easily.

Do what you can do to plug any gaps and extend intranet reach as far as possible. Not only does this ensure all employees have a voice, but it also means you won’t undermine other messages and initiatives supporting diversity and inclusion.

5. Focus on users’ contributions

Another way to celebrate diversity is to spotlight a range of employee voices, particularly on the homepage. This provides an excellent counterpoint to more corporate content.

There are multiple ways to make your employees the stars of the homepage. These include reposting employees’ blog posts in the company-wide feed, or even as news items themselves. You could also spotlight elements of an employee profile on your homepage and link back to the full profile.

6. Consider multilingual communications

welcome 3d ballMost global companies operate in a number of different languages but also have a default business language, which is often English.

Catering for different languages on your intranet helps support a diverse workforce. How far you’re able to produce content in multiple languages or provide translation obviously depends on need and resources. As a minimum, ensure that local needs are met where it really counts, for example providing translations of the most important HR and corporate information.

Supporting diversity and inclusion

Supporting diversity and inclusion is important for a successful company and a happy workforce. This is an area where a social intranet can really come into its own. Use some of the ideas above to make a real difference, or let us know how you’re using your social intranet!

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  1. […] groups not only support the interests of employees but actively support diversity, get involved in community work and make a very positive contribution to organizational life. A […]

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