Skip to Main Content

Tips for Ways to Make the Workplace More Inclusive

Group of diverse people smiling

Management Topic: Tips for Ways to Make the Workplace More Inclusive

Dear Colleagues,

As UCLA Vice Chancellor Anna Spain Bradley stated, “We know that our mission to educate, research and serve is best achieved when our values of equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) are upheld.” In addition, research shows a diverse and inclusive workplace is better able to recruit diverse talent, has higher employee retention, more readily innovates, improves psychological safety, combats “Work-from-Home Burnout,” and generates a sense of belonging. But what exactly is Equity? Diversity? Inclusion?

Professor Heather Caruso of UCLA Anderson School defines them as follows:

  • Equity – When someone receives appropriate support to ensure equal access to all privileges.
  • Diversity – When we expose one another to the fullest possible varieties of human identities, experiences, values, and worldviews.
  • Inclusion – Beyond mere tolerance, this is when we afford one another a sense of respect, belonging and appreciation.

So how do we begin to take steps toward a more inclusive future? How do we as leaders model behaviors and outcomes to exemplify this commitment to EDI on campus? Below are a few tips and tricks to take that step forward.

Be an EDI Champion

  • Challenge assumptions: We all come to situations with our implicit biases and assumptions about how the world works. Begin by building awareness of these assumptions and challenging them as they come.
  • Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion efforts are all opportunities, and that can often come with shortfalls. When mistakes are made, acknowledge them and move on!
  • Learn EDI terms & language: While EDI efforts are not new, there is a learning curve and the language spoken in EDI spaces may be entirely new to leaders who have not spent much time in the discomfort of the new age language of EDI. Leaders should take some time to learn and understand terminology that is used to discuss EDI topics. Examples of EDI language and its importance can be found at Words Matter: Guidelines on using inclusive language in the workplace. *Note this publication was produced by the British Columbia Public Service. Generally, this publication provides some excellent recommendations, though some are specific to Canada.
  • Address Microaggressions: Microaggressions are commonplace daily verbal, behavioral or environmental slights, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative attitudes toward stigmatized or culturally marginalized groups. Learn more by watching this video: Understanding Microaggressions. You can address microaggressions by:
    • Asking questions.
    • Acknowledging the way the microaggression affected the person.
    • Being an active bystander—if you see something, say something. This shows your colleagues and team members that you care.
    • Could the microaggression be something more or has a team member raised additional concerns? Please note that under the University of California Discrimination, Harassment, and Affirmative Action in the Workplace Policy (PDF), all reports of discrimination or harassment brought to a supervisor based onany protected category must be reported to a designated representative. In addition, under the University of California Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment Policy (PDF), all managers and supervisors who receive a report of Prohibited Conduct under the UC SVSH Policy involving any other person affiliated with the University shall notify the Title IX Officer or designee. When in doubt, it is best to report.
  • Create opportunities to celebrate diversity such as a multi-cultural potluck event.


  • Include Pronouns in Signatures: This shows that leadership acknowledges preferred pronouns and is committed to creating safety for gender non-conforming and transgender community members. Learn more by watching this video: Why Pronouns Matter.
  • Minimize Interruptions: Make a commitment to active listening & understanding. Speak up for those who have been interrupted, including an interruption indicator if needed. An interruption indicator is a word or sound that calls out and stops interruptions. Know when to stop speaking and start listening.
  • Set meetings to start 10 minutes after the hour to allow time for gender specific needs.
  • Establish healthy standards of work for your team. A team with a healthy balance is a better team overall.
  • Prepare before having tough conversations and seek advice in advance from your department HR or Employee Relations Consultant.

Professional Development

  • Boost mentoring, especially for underrepresented groups. This video on Mentoring for Diversity & Inclusion discusses the benefits of mentoring.
  • Invest in developing employees from all groups and begin succession planning with diversity goals in mind.


Creating & Providing Resources

  • Know what resources and support are available to pregnant and/or new mothers.
  • Introduce an EDI Share Library to your office common space. Below is an example:

    EDI Library


Helpful Tools to Learn More About This Topic:

Recommendations for how to address December’s Scenario can be found here.

Interested in reviewing prior months’ topics? Visit our Monthly Management Tips website.

Stay Safe!

Leadership 2029

Do you have feedback, questions or a suggested topic you would like to learn more about? Please email:

Want to receive Monthly Management Tips emails? Sign up for our list!