Diversity is on the agenda. And the conversation is no longer limited to race, gender and religion. Now, age, cognitive difference, disability, culture, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, personality and education are all on the table.
Embracing diversity and inclusion is important on several levels. Firstly, it’s the right thing to do. Secondly, it is proven to make companies more profitable, and thirdly, not doing it can lead to terrible consequences. People simply will not put up with discrimination.
So, how do you create an empowering workplace? Here are five practical ways to get started:
1. Be honest about where you are now
First you need to know how diverse your workforce currently is. Many organizations release annual diversity reports – like Google recently did. These reports explore diversity in the hiring process, as well as in attrition rates.
You might uncover some interesting intersections – women of color may make up the smallest percentage of your organization for example, or perhaps you struggle to retain LGBT employees or are losing valuable experience when older employees leave.
Publishing the results of your research will show your employees, customers and other stakeholders that your company is committed to embracing diversity and inclusion, and it will prepare them for the culture changes that need to follow.
2. Upskill yourself and your team
Atlassian’s 2018 State of Diversity and Inclusion in U.S. Tech survey found that most D&I programs focus on numbers more than on creating a welcoming and inclusive environment.
It’s a good idea to assume that everyone needs training, including new hires, older staff, managers and executive leaders. Proper training will help people understand the importance of creating an inclusive environment. It will also equip them to engage in difficult conversations, articulate their points of view, and relate to each other better.
3. Make sure diverse hires are properly integrated
The most effective D&I programs begin during hiring. Where are you recruiting from? Is there a lack of diversity in your pipeline? It’s important to make sure you have a talent pool that will enable you to meet your diversity goals.
Once you have found and hired a diverse employee, you need to help set them up for success. This is where your employee integration plan becomes important. The ability to monitor the health, happiness and productivity of diverse employees will enable your team to identify trends, overcome challenges and build a more inclusive workforce.
How well are they integrating and performing compared to their non-diverse peers? Are diverse employee attrition rates higher in certain teams or offices? Are they able to perform at the same rate as non-diverse employees?
4. Take the lead
Don’t be afraid to take the lead by practicing inclusion daily. Foster open conversations, don’t shy away from tough conversations, keep an eye out for complaints about bias and discrimination, and take a stand against inappropriate behavior.
5. Track and review
Once you have plotted and implemented your D&I program, it’s important to track its success and ensure that your efforts are really paying off.
What’s your benchmark? Some companies aim to make their organizations as diverse as their client bases are. This is a great idea! Your employees will be more likely to know how best to position your products and provide appropriate service.
We’d love to take you through a short demonstration of our Diversity and Inclusion solution to show you how to create a better performing, happier workforce. To book a time, just follow the link below and leave your details.