To get workplace diversity and inclusion right, you need to build a culture where everyone feels valued and heard.
In order for your diversity practices to be successful, you also need to facilitate an inclusive work culture which is no small feat. Diversity is only half of the D&I picture. Creating a culture where people are respected and appreciated requires another level of effort that may not be getting the investment it needs. Below are a few ways you can boost your D&I efforts.
Be aware of unconscious bias
Building awareness is the first step toward real change. Educate employees by helping them to understand how individuals are impacted by unconscious bias, and what actions continue to reinforce unconscious bias. One way to build awareness and address unconscious bias is to encourage every employee to review, question and analyze their own personal potential biases and assumptions. To learn more about unconscious biases and to assess your own, you can visit Project Implicit to complete an Implicit Association Test.
Offer diversity and inclusion training
One way to create more welcoming workplaces that respect differences and give a voice to people who are often underrepresented is to implement company diversity and inclusion training programs.
Diversity training helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work, and interact at work. It can cover anything from concepts of time and communication styles to self-identity and dealing with conflict. Diversity training which is offered as optional tends to be more effective than that which is made mandatory.
Diversity and inclusion training has the potential to positively address biases and prejudice within organizations, and it can also lead to some real financial gains for companies as well, according to research by McKinsey & Co. The study found that organizations with diverse workforces are 35% more likely to have above-average profit margins than companies with more homogenous employee bases.
Mix up your teams
A diverse cross-section of talent allows an enhanced perspective, which will spur creativity on teams. If your team is homogeneous, invite a guest with a different gender, cultural background, or age, to weigh in on the initiative. Research published in the journal Financial Management supports the idea that diversity makes companies more innovative and successful. The study looked at how 3,000 publicly-traded companies performed between 2001 and 2014 across nine measures of diversity. The research found that companies fulfilling all nine positive diversity requirements performed better, with more new product announcements in any given year, and greater resilience during the 2008 financial crisis.
Megan Van Petten
Van Petten Group, INC.