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HR’s Guide to Zero Discrimination Day

Show your staff that you’re committed to equality on March 1—and every day.

Aimie Ye

by Aimie Ye - February 27th, 2021

Zero Discrimination Day is almost upon us! Every year, the United Nations and other organizations committed to creating a just world celebrate this day on March 1. The day underscores the need to end inequalities related to race, class, age, gender, sexual orientation, ability, religion, ethnicity, and other aspects of identity. Take this opportunity to affirm the importance of fostering a fair and inclusive workplace. 

How to celebrate this special day

Make the most of Zero Discrimination Day with these engaging ideas. You’ll not only enhance understanding of people from diverse backgrounds but also work toward building a workplace that’s more equitable. 

Share posters or infographics.

Provide great visuals that drive home key points about how diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) fit into your workplace culture. If working remotely, sharing a well-thought-out infographic on anti-discrimination practices via email and social media provides a great alternative to hanging up posters in highly trafficked locations. 

Hire a keynote speaker.

Have a keynote speaker with expertise on anti-discrimination and equity talk to your staff about the importance of DEI and how you can nurture it in your workplace. Tell the speaker about any specific challenges you’re facing so they can address them directly. Hold the keynote speech over Zoom if you’re working virtually.

Plan a workshop.

Hold a workshop on an aspect of equity and inclusion that your organization needs to address. Here are a few sample topics:

  • Inclusive communication: What is it, and how can you achieve it?

  • Gender identity: How complex is it, and how can you respect people’s identities?

  • Allyship: How can you be a good ally in the workplace?

You can either have an HR staff member who has expertise on this topic present the workshop or hire an outside trainer. Alternatively, hold one training session for leaders and another for employees so everyone gets to attend a workshop that is directly relevant to their role. 

Launch a DEI initiative.

If you’ve been planning a new DEI initiative, why not announce it on March 1? Celebrate this day by taking real action toward building a more equitable and inclusive workplace. Here are a few examples of initiatives to consider:

  • Adopting a new type of technology that will support equity in evaluations—such as a performance management platform.

  • Launching a committee focused on diversity and inclusion that will provide educational opportunities year-round. 

  • Setting new goals for diversity in hiring, along with a clear plan of how to achieve them.

Launch your new program vocally and with plenty of fanfare—perhaps over a celebratory lunch with the whole team. Give an inspirational talk about why you believe it will benefit your workplace.

Working toward DEI in the long-term

Take action to achieve a more inclusive and equitable workplace in the long-term. What are some best practices in DEI for HR? Each of the following actionable steps will help you reach this goal.

Reevaluate your recruitment practices.

Are your recruiting practices due for an upgrade? Here are a few changes to make now if you haven’t already!

Assemble a diverse recruiting committee. If recruiters all have a similar cultural background, race, or gender, it will be hard for them to identify and overcome their own biases. Instead, assemble a committee that represents a more diverse range of people. Diverse candidates will more easily relate to them as well, allowing them to envision themselves working in your company.

Challenge the notion of a “culture fit.” Question the idea of seeking a “culture fit” when recruiting new staff. Instead, think of a “culture add.” Who would enhance your culture by diversifying it? 

Evaluate each new hire on equal terms. Make sure you’re using the same criteria for each candidate. Create a clear scoring system so you’ll have well-defined metrics of how each of them performs.

Give each new hire the same outstanding onboarding experience.

Set each new recruit up for success by treating them equally throughout onboarding. Through digitization with a platform like GoCo, you’ll create a smooth and streamlined process that eliminates paperwork and ensures fairness. A quality system will help you track every onboarding step so you know you’re right on track.

Challenge implicit bias.

Provide ongoing training on how to identify and challenge implicit bias. Most importantly, make sure leaders know that they still have implicit bias even after completing training on it! This is something they must continue checking within themselves. Otherwise, a workshop can leave them with an overly confident attitude that leads them to miss how bias is still influencing their actions and choices.

Revisit your employee handbook.

Comb through your employee handbook to look for any outdated policies related to discrimination. Review your policies on dress code (including hairstyles) and your anti-discrimination policies. This will help ensure your business is running on the right values.

If you’re getting ready to update your policies, using quality HR software will help you easily make those changes. GoCo’s Magic Docs feature allows you to easily add or reword policies and send out the relevant documents to employees to collect e-signatures. This lets you stay up-to-date with the latest and most effective diversity, equity, and inclusion practices!

Provide plenty of coaching and mentoring to each employee.

Hiring diverse employees is only one of the first steps—you must also make sure everyone has all the support they need to advance. Too often, people of minority groups don’t receive the same mentorship and sponsorship as people of the dominant race or culture. If possible, pair people with mentors they’ll identify with and who will understand how to speak to their distinct challenges.

Foster dialogue that promotes understanding.

Create spaces for dialogue between organizational leaders on how to embrace diversity and challenge biases. If you want each leader to be instilling these values in their team, they need to discuss these issues on an ongoing basis. Rich discussions with people from different backgrounds will enhance their perspectives, making them more effective proponents of diversity. 

Here are a few topic ideas:

  • What are microaggressions, and how can you identify when you’re committing them?

  • How can we each become a more inclusive leader?

  • How does systemic racism affect our field and influence which candidates apply here?

Consider bringing in guest speakers to facilitate conversations on different aspects of equity, diversity, and inclusion. Having an outside perspective will bring fresh new insights to your team. 

Need more food for thought? GoCo’s HR support center features on-demand HR advisors and consistently updated articles, training, templates, and other resources lending compliance assistance. Our support center is well-equipped to help you make your workplace a zero-discrimination zone!

Through these activities and steps, you’ll strengthen your commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness. Use Zero Discrimination Day as a jumping-off point for a year filled with dynamic conversations and DEI initiatives!