Leading a workplace where employees feel represented, valued, and heard should be a top priority for organizations. Some businesses may feel they have it right when it comes to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace, but others may be struggling with ways to really intertwine the two into their core mission and values. While both serve different purposes—diversity focuses on what makes each person unique, while inclusion incorporates ways to make people feel comfortable and welcome—both are crucial in setting any business up for success.
If you’re looking to cultivate a more diverse and inclusive environment, here are four things you should be honing in on:
Leaders should serve as the face of a company—instilling organizational values to those they mentor and manage. Based on their management experiences, they should also have insight into where the organization is excelling and where it may need some help. If you’re looking to form a more diverse and inclusive workplace, start by opening up a candid conversation with your leaders. During this conversation, you can discuss what’s working, what’s not, and ideas for putting change into action from the top down. You can also use this as an opportunity to educate your senior management on what it means to foster a diverse and inclusive environment, and how important it is to your organization.
Whether you’re looking to make changes to your hiring process, team structures, training and education programs, or corporate policies—make sure you set short-term and long-term goals you can track. Ensure you crunch some data to evaluate your current situation, and set dates to check in on how you’re measuring up. In order to help with identifying areas for improvement, consider sending out an anonymous survey to all employees within the organization. This will help gain different perspectives on where change should be made and insight into how to make employees feel more represented.
When things are busy, certain initiatives may end up getting pushed back. This is especially true if a person or group isn’t assigned full responsibility for them.
By forming a committee, you can create an internal task force whose main goal is to ensure plans are followed through, change is implemented across the board, and the right people are held accountable. This group should be comprised of a diverse mix of employees within the organization, in order to have a variety of viewpoints.
It may also be beneficial to assign your committee an email alias. This will make it easy for others within the company to contact them with ideas and/or concerns, and will ultimately serve as a place where voices can be heard.
Diversity can and should be celebrated in different ways. These include recognizing special months or days that honor what makes people unique, and forming networks or hosting events where employees can get together, educate one another, and completely embrace each other’s differences. Promoting gatherings such as these can make for a more welcoming and inclusive workplace that people will be proud to be a part of.
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