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The UPS Store Small Business blog
  • 30 June 2023
  • Public Relations

Creating Small Business Diversity and Inclusion

A small business owner’s job is more than just a focus on ensuring their company is operating effectively. It means putting a focus on being a positive example for everyone in their community.

Small business diversity and inclusion

One of the most important responsibilities a business owner has is creating a work environment that encourages diversity and inclusion in their small business.

Employing a diverse group of individuals and ensuring they feel included will not only create a positive work environment but also promotes creativity, innovation, higher employee satisfaction levels and a more prosperous community.

In this blog, we will be discussing how you can effectively create a diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) plan to maintain an inclusive and diverse business.

Understanding diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion have become popular buzzwords in the business world. An increasing number of companies and small businesses, no matter the industry or location, are recognizing the importance of building diverse teams and inclusive environments.

To help you start creating inclusive businesses with a diverse workforce, you need to understand the similarities and differences between diverse and inclusive business practices.

What is diversity?

Diversity in small businesses means having a variety of people from different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives working together.

This includes differences based on gender identity, race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation and physical ability.

Having a diverse team helps bring exciting ideas to the table that can support small businesses’ growth and development. Additionally, it also helps your organization create an environment that is more accepting of different opinions and points of view – leading to increased collaboration between employees.

What is inclusion?

Inclusion in small businesses is about creating an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected and valued. It involves actively promoting a culture of acceptance and belonging so employees can share their ideas, opinions and perspectives freely without fear of judgment or discrimination.

It is important to note that inclusion goes beyond diversity to creating an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable enough to be themselves and speak up when necessary.

This includes providing equal opportunities for all employees of a small business, regardless of their race, gender, age or any other factor.

Inclusion also means ensuring that no groups of people are disadvantaged due to structural inequalities such as pay gaps or lack of access to tools or training.

Difference between diversity and inclusion

Diversity in small businesses means having different people from different backgrounds in the same place.

Inclusion is about making sure everyone feels welcome and respected. It also means giving everyone equal chances for things like resources and training, no matter who they are.

It is important for small businesses to create an environment with people from different backgrounds, ages, genders and abilities. This helps cultivate ideas and greater creativity that benefits your company goals.

Creating a diverse and inclusive environment

It is important to have a work environment where people of different backgrounds, ages, genders and abilities can all work together. This helps your business obtain new ideas and be more creative and productive while also making sure everyone feels respected, welcomed and valued. This is how diversity, equity and inclusion can help your business boost its capabilities and better your community.

Here are a few ways to improve diversity and inclusion practices to ensure you're creating a positive work environment.

Recruiting and hiring a diverse workforce

When it comes to recruiting and hiring job seekers, small business owners must keep diversity and inclusion in mind. Oftentimes, this requires you to restructure your hiring process to actively look for job seekers from different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives to ensure you hire the best person for the role.

This also helps support an environment where everyone feels included and respected, fostering a welcoming community for your team members and customers.

The UPS Store works to build a welcoming environment starting with the franchise owners themselves. Through our Diversity Ownership program, we incentivize store ownership to people from all backgrounds and nationalities. This will empower groups, especially those who have historically been underrepresented, to thrive as entrepreneurs in the communities they serve.

You should look to using community networks and groups such as women’s organizations, minority-owned businesses or local LGBTQ+ advocacy groups to help identify qualified job seekers from a diverse range of backgrounds to hire.

It's also important to use inclusive language in job postings to make potential new employees feel secure and welcome right off the bat. This can also be a great way to differentiate yourself from other businesses.

Another important factor to ensure a diverse and inclusive hiring process is to put your hiring managers through unconscious bias training.

Workplace policies

Implementing equal employment opportunity and harassment and discrimination policies and practices are essential for creating an inclusive environment for your business.

Not only do these policies help to promote diversity and protect the rights of employees, but they ensure that everyone is treated fairly and with respect. They are a crucial part of any business’s commitment to fostering diversity and inclusion.

By having clear guidelines in place, companies can improve diversity by creating a safe environment where all staff feels comfortable speaking up about issues or concerns without fear of retribution.

Additionally, these policies can help small businesses stay compliant with applicable laws in their community such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act or the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

To help you share any policies and documentation about diversity and inclusion for your small business, The UPS Store is here to help you print and copy any resources for your DEI initiatives.

Employee training and resource groups (ERGs)

Employee resource groups, or ERGs, are groups of people from the same background, age, gender or ability that work together.

They help businesses benefit from exciting ideas on how to get creative in their operations, while also making sure everyone is treated fairly and respected.

ERGs can provide a safe space for employees to express their ideas and concerns, as well as help them find resources or support in their communities.

This can help you create a more inclusive environment and foster better communication between employees from different backgrounds.

Additionally, trainings like cultural sensitivity and implicit bias training can help people understand that everyone should be treated equally, no matter who they are.

This kind of training helps people learn how to treat others with respect and kindness, while also discovering any hidden biases. It also helps make sure that everyone gets the same chances for resources and jobs.

Building a culture of inclusion

It is important for local businesses to create an environment where people from different backgrounds, ages, genders and abilities can all work together.

Building a welcoming culture for all helps make sure everyone feels respected and valued. To do this you need to have policies in place that protect the rights of employees and ensure everyone is treated fairly.

Here are a few ways to start building your own culture for greater diversity, equity and inclusion.


When creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion, communication really is key.

Talk to people in a respectful way and listen to what they have to say. You can also give feedback or information about different topics to help them grow as people and employees.

Active listening is an essential communication skill for creating an inclusive culture. It allows us to better understand each other and foster meaningful relationships that respect everyone’s opinions, backgrounds, communities and experiences.

Active listening involves actively paying attention to what someone is saying without being judgmental or making assumptions. This helps us build trust between colleagues, as well as create an environment where everyone feels comfortable expressing themselves openly and honestly.

By using active listening techniques, you can ensure that conversations are positive and productive, leading to better collaboration among team members.

It is important to have regular feedback sessions to help everyone understand each other better and feel respected. Feedback also allows us to share our opinions, backgrounds and experiences in a safe way.

It also helps build trust between colleagues so we can work together better and make sure everyone is treated fairly.

Celebrating uniqueness

Celebrating uniqueness in the workplace is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive environment. It helps foster meaningful relationships between colleagues, encourages creativity, and provides employees with an opportunity to share their unique perspectives.

This may look like recognizing different cultural holidays, organizing diversity events and keeping an open door to diverse employees who want to share more about their culture or lifestyle.

Providing equitable opportunities

Providing equitable opportunities allows us to create meaningful relationships between colleagues and encourages creativity by giving everyone a platform to share their unique perspectives.

Additionally, it helps make sure no one feels left out or discriminated against because of their differences.

To do this, ensure there is equal access to resources, mentorship and sponsorship programs, as well as access to employee benefits and promotions.

Measuring success

It is important to keep track of how successful we are at making sure everyone in the workplace feels respected, welcomed and valued.

We can do this by measuring how well we do things like talking to each other in a respectful way, giving each other feedback and information, recognizing different cultural holidays and giving everyone equal opportunities.

Keeping track of this helps you know if your DEI efforts are working so you can make any changes needed to make sure everyone is treated fairly.

Creating diverse businesses takes time, effort and resources but it is a crucial investment that pays off in the long run. By embracing diversity, you create a culture that thrives on creativity, innovation and teamwork.

Small business owners need to take the time to review their current environment, establish policies, educate their staff and track progress on diversity and inclusion.

Over time, DEI initiatives will become an inherent part of the company culture, open up doors to a broader market and make a direct impact on your workforce's morale and productivity.

To help you share any policies and documentation about diversity and inclusion for your small business, The UPS Store is here to help you print and copy any resources for your DEI initiatives.

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