In a couple of previous posts, we’ve discussed the importance of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We’ve talked about understanding and communicating with diverse markets, discovering new insights, and the importance of diversity and inclusion to your employees. We know it’s important. Now what? Here, we look at five strategies to promote diversity and inclusion efforts in the workplace.
Recognize Your Role in Addressing the Problem
Seemingly small efforts can go a long way to promote diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, as with other business and societal issues, there is a tendency to believe that we, alone, can have little impact as Paulo Gaudiano and Ellen Hunt point out in a Forbes article. Individuals, they say, tend to see diversity and inclusion as societal problems—that can only be addressed by organizations and regulators. “What we tend to forget is that companies and regulatory bodies are made up of individuals, whose decisions are in turn influenced by the opinions and behaviors of other individuals, including ourselves,” they point out.
Look for Gaps in Input Sources
Once you realize that you have the power to effect change when it comes to diversity and inclusion, take a look at where, specifically, improvements could be made. There will certainly be areas where you could be doing a better job of ensuring that the diversity of your workforce is being leveraged through inclusion.
Diversity and inclusion aren’t just going to happen. Be proactive when seeking out new and diverse opinions. And remember: diversity is only the first step. You also need to include those diverse viewpoints. That means being vigilant about not dismissing input out of hand based on the preconceived notion of the value of those inputs—e.g., “that new employee is too young to understand …” or “that long-term employee doesn’t understand …”
Be Conscious of Diversity and Inclusion in Your Staffing Efforts
It doesn’t need to be the primary factor in hiring or promotion decisions, but you should be conscious of where you’re lacking when it comes to diversity and inclusion when thinking about bringing on new team members and moving existing team members through the organization. This is especially critical, as we noted in our first point on this topic, when attempting to better understand the needs of specific target audiences. If you’re marketing to Latinos, you’d better have some Latinos in your workforce, your C-suite, and your boardroom!
Be Open—and Loud—About Your Efforts
As with any corporate effort, if you want it to succeed, communicate it loudly and regularly throughout the organization, and celebrate your successes. Let everyone—not just the top brass—know that a companywide effort is being made to boost the level of diversity and inclusion in the company and the progress that has been made.
Over the last several posts, we’ve discussed the topic of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. First, we started by looking at a range of reasons it’s important to a business’s bottom line. Then we looked specifically at the importance in terms of employee expectations. Here, we discussed five steps any company can take to promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace and capitalize on its many benefits.