How To Make Diversity & Inclusion a Priority and Practice in the Workplace

Over the last three months, the awareness and allyship around the Black Lives Matter movement, has led to organizations reevaluating their leadership tactics, especially with regards to how they’d like to show up for their employees.

While it’s encouraging to see resources become available in aiding this awakening, it is evident that there is a lot of change that still needs to happen in the workplace, in their continued efforts to implement a change worthy diversity and inclusion strategy. 

The truth is that diversity and inclusion will beget more diversity and inclusion, which is the ultimate goal, but in order to get to a healthy place within an organization there has to be a paradigm shift. This starts with making a strategic plan that acknowledges and illustrates the importance of hiring and training talent in managerial roles, and for leadership within an organization to make diversity and inclusion a priority. Diversity is also about representing who you are selling to. Consumer share of voice is a powerful tool, and if your product isn’t representative of the people who sell it, then it’s near to impossible to understand them. 

We have created a list of actionable steps to ensure your workplace is both diverse and inclusive.

Take an audit

There is always room for improvement, no matter what stage of the implementation process you are in, and acknowledgement of a need for change is the first step. Looking at your existing recruitment and retention practices, as well as assessing current strengths and opportunities is a way to gauge what is working, and what isn’t. Using tools like our Diversity and Inclusion Survey will give you a holistic overview of this. 

It’s also important to understand that while diversity is seemingly straightforward to implement, that inclusivity is what maintains your strategic efforts. Have you created an inclusive culture? Does your leadership reflect that? If the answer is no, it’s time to evaluate why that is.

Make a Plan

Creating a comprehensive and time sensitive plan will help create diversity and inclusion in your organization. If your organization does not have the infrastructure in place, allocate resources to develop permanent training programs and policies. It’s important to acknowledge all facets and aspects of what diversity and inclusion is. The makeup of your executive team, top management, your customers, and key stakeholders are all huge signifiers to the rest of your workforce.

Employees want to be able to express themselves based on their unique perspectives, and should feel included with respect to their race, cultural background, age, gender, religion, sexual orientation or physical abilities. All aspects of the plan you share with your employees should factor this.

Stick To That Plan

Accountability across the organization is the only way to ensure that these changes become permanent. Hiring managers have to make sure that every position has a diverse slate of candidates, and they must be responsible for advancing their performance with respect to this.

Make These Changes Known

Educating your organization and publicly communicating this strategy and plan is essential, and should be optimized and adjusted regularly. Just as you set business goals within an organization in a fiscal year, set goals for your diversity and inclusion plans over the next year. As you reach these benchmarks, continue to share successes with your organization, be transparent about your setbacks, but keep moving forward. 

Train anyone in a hiring position to be aware of unconscious bias in the recruitment and interview process

There is no easy or fast solution that will make this priority a simple one to tackle, but the future for organizations is a bright one, only if you have the determination to treat implementing diversity and inclusion practices with the importance it deserves. 

Understand Where You Need to Focus

Does my company have a clear employer brand and EVP that speaks to the Personas we wish to attract and retain? 

Do we have a diverse and inclusive board of directors and leadership team? 

Do our managers own diversity and inclusion responsibilities?

Do talent feel they can bring their whole selves to the workplace?

Is your recruitment and HR team diverse? 

Do your recruitment practices encourage the exchange of stories that are diverse in thought, approach and perspective?

Do you conduct regular pulse surveys to ensure a clear understanding of your unique demographic values and preferences?

Does your recruitment marketing effectively communicate and visually represent our acceptance and respect for a broad mix of talent regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, generation, neuro-diversity and differently-abled, or cultural differences?

Diversity within a workplace means more than just demographics. It is a combination of acceptance, respect and teamwork. It is what enables a vibrant, creative and thriving workplace. 

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