Although the business case for diversity and inclusion (D&I) may be clear to you, everyone in your organization may not be on board. One reason is that while people usually understand the benefits of D&I in theory, they sometimes find them harder to relate to their everyday experiences at work. Even teams that are highly effective because they are diverse might not connect their performance to their composition.
Not having your employees on board can put your organization’s efforts to build a diverse and inclusive brand at risk. To create a culture of inclusion that everyone subscribes to is not a quick and easy task. If you want to prevent a disconnect between your D&I goals and the on-the-ground experiences of your employees and clients, here are five pointers to bear in mind.
1. LEADERSHIP PLAYS A CRITICAL ROLE
An organization’s diversity and inclusion efforts will fail without leadership commitment. As important as bottom-up initiatives are, diversity and inclusion need to be embedded in the way the organization operates. It needs to be a strategic priority and not an optional add-on. It’s the leaders who show what is important for the organization. They are also the role models who shape the organizational culture.
2. EVERYONE NEEDS TO BE ON BOARD
If any of your employees feel excluded from diversity initiatives, they will most likely not subscribe to the messaging. Make sure you consult regularly with staff representing all the different groups in your workplace to get their input and have them shape your diversity and inclusion activities.
3. GOOD COMMUNICATION IS KEY
To ensure that everyone on your team sees the link between diversity, inclusion and business success, it is crucial for leadership to be thoughtful and consistent in communicating the reasons behind D&I efforts.
4. START AT THE BEGINNING
The hiring and onboarding process is the first contact a new employee will have with your organization and can leave a lasting impression. Look at your recruitment and onboarding procedures. Where do you distribute your job postings? What questions do you ask in an interview? What does your onboarding process look like? Simple things like assigning a new employee a mentor or creating a list of frequently used acronyms can be quite helpful.
5. INCLUSION IS A JOURNEY, NOT A DESTINATION
Being inclusive is something you need to keep doing, consciously, again and again. An organization should regularly examine its practices and policies through a D&I lens and provide training to employees so they all have the awareness, skills and knowledge required to build a more inclusive work culture.
It might seem overwhelming at times, but through collaboration and taking small actions, you will make progress. As the famous proverb goes, “the journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.”hey are diverse might not connect their performance to their composition.
by Anna Kostecka
Are Your Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives Working?