Human beings are successful when we set targets. They motivate, inspire, and unite us.
As workers, KPIs and incentives give us the focus we need to generate the right results. But sometimes, our pursuit of ever-changing targets leads us to focus on the “what” and forget about the “why.” The trouble is, targets tend to turn people into numbers.
Diversity in the workplace is a good example of this. Most companies have diversity targets, and they often look to achieve these by increasing the number of diverse hires on their team. But for workplace diversity to really work, companies need to attract the best diverse talent, and then need to retain, equip, and develop them. To do all this, they need to nurture inclusion in the workplace.
Everyone benefits from a more diverse and inclusive work environment. A workplace that values diversity, encourages creativity, and promotes innovation means a winning business. But it’s not enough to just say you value workplace diversity, organizations need to back this up by going further than the basics in their diversity and inclusion efforts.
If you build it, they will come (and stay)
That old line from Field of Dreams comes to mind. If you build a workplace that enables underrepresented people to excel, they’ll choose you over competitor organizations. Plus they’ll stay longer.
If you can get inclusion in the workplace right, you’ll naturally begin to attract and retain a more diverse workforce – which means you’ll hit your diversity hiring targets more easily. Focus less on filling those quotas and more on building a company culture that makes every employee feel welcome, respected, engaged, and appreciated.
Creating a culture means more than just writing new policies. You have to build, nurture, and promote change. It has to be a part of not only the work, but also the management, the socializing, and the values of the company.
Bridging the gap between strategy and execution
Unfortunately, building a truly equitable workplace isn’t as easy as mapping out ideal strategies. There are few things more frustrating than an excellent plan poorly executed. Turning a diversity and inclusion strategy into a series of practical steps that will actually affect organizational change starts with answering important questions, such as:
- How can we ensure our diversity and inclusion strategy is implemented at all levels? What can leadership, managers, and individuals do?
- How are managers reinforcing behavior that leads to a diverse and inclusive culture?
- How well are diverse employees integrating (and onboarding) compared to other employees?
- Are they being equipped to perform at their best?
- Are they being given the same opportunities to form relationships, gain work experience, and advance?
- How many of them make it to senior positions or become leaders in the company?
- How can we address bias within our performance management and our advancement practices?
Start with what you have and improve it
Finding the diversity within your current candidates is a start, but evaluating and improving the processes and programs you already have (and adding more) will help further diversify your applicant pool. It still starts with recruitment: analyze your current process and see where you’re losing candidates of each underrepresented group. Is it during the application process, the interview process, or the offer? Talk to successful hires to see how they feel you can improve and research outside your organization to see how other companies succeed.
Part of it can also be what candidates expect from your organization after they start, so make sure to look at every part of the employee journey. By building integration and onboarding plans that focus on workplace diversity, and prioritizing the employee engagement throughout, you’ll be able to point to that as a reason a candidate should consider working with you. Same with equitable development and advancement opportunities; making those changes will not only help the people that currently work for you, it will help bring more people in.
Ask people what they want and deliver
As always, one of the biggest and most obvious ways to give people what they want is to ask. Do they need more social events? Would they like to form a D&I group to give feedback? Would they like to see more representation of people of color, especially women, in senior positions?
When it comes to inclusion and diversity in the workplace, it’s not going to be a one-shot, simple fix, and it’s not going to be one-size-fits-all. To truly measure what the workforce (inside and outside your company) thinks and how to best serve them, you need feedback. Take stock of how the industry is doing, read the research, but ultimately, ask the people you have and the people you want to have.
Power your DI&E initiatives with vi software
Thanks to technology like our diversity and inclusion solution, companies can plan and easily follow roadmaps for DI&E (diversity, equity, and inclusion) in the workplace.
Our software allows you to:
- Design a timeline of inclusion activities from the moment a person is hired, continuing throughout their career
- Collect real-time feedback on each diversity and inclusion initiative and measure the effectiveness of it
- Analyze data and generate reports to see D&I results by office and department
Take a peek
To see a quick demo of our software solution and best practices, please follow the link below and leave your details so that we can schedule a time with you.