As a sales leader, the move toward a more diverse workforce starts with you. Within your organization, you have an influence on who gets an interview, who gets hired and who gets promoted. Many managers mistakenly think that diversity means hiring more employees of color, but it’s so much more than that.

Diversity relates to individuals who are often discriminated against based on race, age, class, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs. Inclusion relates to individuals within an organization who are willing to engage and collaborate with everyone.

So, how can you work toward a more inclusive and diverse workplace? We share six actions from writer Diane Benson Harrington in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

1. Reexamine your pay structure. One of the best ways to end workplace discrimination is to ensure everyone is paid fairly, says Harrington. Take a close look at how much your employees are paid based on their race and gender. If you see big gaps, work to correct them. Everyone deserves to be compensated fairly and receive equal benefits.

2. Educate your employees. While you can provide guidance on job-related questions and sales strategies, you may not be the best person to talk about equity in the workplace. That’s why Harrington suggests leaders bring in an outside speaker or organize an online workshop on passive racism. She also recommends managers provide ongoing follow-up so employees can stay engaged.

3. Look for less-inclusive areas. How often do you visit with managers in other departments about the need for diversity and inclusion in your hiring efforts? Harrington says it’s a good idea to understand the makeup of other departments. This allows managers from throughout your organization to work together to promote a diverse team.

4. Actively look for diverse partners. If you are looking to work with a new vendor or supplier, put diversity at the top of your list. Consider how you can expand your supply chain to be more inclusive of all different types of companies.

5. Adjust your self-promotion. Now is a good time to work with other leaders in your organization to change your marketing. Harrington advises checking your collateral, including your training videos and annual reports, for workplace equity. You should also be sure your advertising and marketing incorporates a variety of demographics.

6. Ask for outside help. If your team is mostly homogenous, you may not succeed at broadening your representation. According to Harrington, well-meaning but tone-deaf efforts can destroy the collateral and presentations your team worked so hard to create. A solution to this? Getting an outside opinion from a sensitivity consultant. These professionals can help ensure that what you think is inclusive isn’t actually offensive.

Creating a more diverse workplace takes time. If you’re not sure where to start, take a good look at how you compensate your team members. Then you can branch out into educating your employees, working with other managers, and bringing in outside experts when necessary.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Diane Benson Harrington is a writer and copy editor for SmartBrief. As a freelancer, she has covered various industries.