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How practice owners can prioritize diversity and inclusion in the dental office

September 28, 2020 3605

Quick Summary:

There are many reasons why practice owners should prioritize and promote diversity and inclusion among employees. The following tips can help leaders create a welcoming environment that will drive better performance rates and keep employees engaged.

As the country grapples with nationwide protests against racial injustice, many companies have vowed to improve diversity, equity and inclusion within their organizations. While racial inequality may be the driving force behind recent efforts, employers have many reasons to prioritize and promote diversity among employees.

In addition to creating a welcoming and safe work environment, the benefits of diversifying the workplace include higher revenue, more innovation, higher job acceptance rates and better performance among employees, according to statistics compiled by Medium.

The following steps can help practice owners attract more diverse candidates and keep current employees engaged.

Use the inclusive workplace model

When an employer makes a commitment to improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, employees can experience a sense of belonging and feel like they can express who they are. In addition to race, inclusive policies should cover gender, age, religion, education, abilities and working parents.

Team members who feel like their needs are being met will be more motivated and engaged, which will ultimately help the practice’s retention and turnover rate.

Employers can adopt an inclusive workplace model and demonstrate diversity by:

  • Forming an inclusion council made up of diverse employees and consider whether nonexempt employees need to be compensated for such work.
  • Setting up dedicated nursing rooms for mothers that comply with state lactation-accommodation laws.
  • Offering on-site day care.
  • Opening up a dialogue about gender pay inequality and addressing any disparate pay issues.
  • Providing a meditation or prayer room.
  • Offering floating holidays to accommodate the religious preferences of all employees while adhering to applicable vacation pay laws.
  • Adopting diversity programming to honor employees' religious and cultural practices.
  • Instituting flexible work schedules and work-from-home options while implementing a telecommuting policy that, among other things, reimburses employees for reasonable business expenses.
  • Strengthening anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policies and ensuring that they contain recent legal requirements.

Evaluate your hiring practices

A diverse workforce begins with leadership and the individuals who assist or facilitate the hiring and recruiting process. Employers should determine if various genders, races and cultural backgrounds are properly represented.

A lack of diversity within the hiring team will reflect in the practice’s overall culture because people are more likely to recruit in their own likeness and may rule out diverse candidates through a natural unconscious bias.

Everyone involved in the hiring process should understand and agree upon the minimum job requirements, essential job functions and the applicant rating system for making hiring decisions. While employers are encouraged to be more diverse in the hiring process, they should be careful not to hire applicants solely based on their protected characteristics because that could be unlawful.

Address unconscious bias when hiring

Becoming aware of unconscious biases and taking steps to prevent them while recruiting, hiring and retaining employees can help with building a diverse team and an inclusive workplace. Hiring with unconscious biases can lead employers to judge and falsely assume things about a person and determine them to be an unfit candidate prematurely. 

One way for employers to reduce bias in hiring is to hide all personal information on resumes, such as names, schools and dates of birth. Employers should also adopt a standardized set of questions to ask all candidates interviewing for the same position to be more objective in assessing who would be best prepared for the job.

Find additional tips on practice management and employment practices in CDA’s Practice Support center.