Diversity and inclusion have been hot topics of debate in the workplace lately – and for good reason. They are essential components of creating a workplace environment that is supportive, nurturing, and values diverse opinions and perspectives – all of which are necessary for an organization’s success.
On top of this, a whopping 76% of job seekers and employees believe that diversity and inclusion are important considerations when choosing where to work, making it all the more essential for companies to foster an inclusive environment (if they want to attract and retain top talent).
If you want to make sure your organization embraces diversity and inclusion, one of the best places to start is by establishing a diversity and inclusion strategy. This strategy should be tailored to your organization and serve as a living document that evolves with time – here are a few tips to help you get started.
Defining Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
To ensure a successful approach to diversity and inclusion in your company, it is essential to first define these concepts in light of the organization’s core values and objectives. Afterward, make sure everyone within your business comprehends what behavior falls into the “unacceptable” category when referring to such topics.
Establishing such clear definitions regarding diversity and inclusion will create mutual understanding among all employees while also upholding core standards throughout the workplace.
Diversity and inclusion are best understood when broken down into their individual components. Diversity can be broadly defined as the celebration of all people despite gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or age. Inclusion is then the creation of an environment where each person feels accepted for who they are – honored for their distinctive worldviews and life experiences.
“Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance.” – Verna Myers
Creating Specific Goals and Objectives
Once the two concepts have been defined, identify specific goals and objectives that need to be achieved in order for your organization's diversity and inclusion strategy. This could be something as simple as updating the company's hiring practices to ensure a more diverse mix of candidates or something more ambitious like introducing mandatory diversity management training for all employees in leadership positions.
When crafting your goals, ensure they align with the company's fundamental values and mission. Additionally, make sure each of these objectives is measurable – that way you can evaluate your strategy's progress at any stage and adjust accordingly.
Areas of Focus
Once your objectives have been set, it is important to figure out which areas of focus will be most effective in achieving these desired outcomes. With this in mind, you must identify the aspects of your strategy that are likely to provide tangible results so that you can prioritize them and dedicate resources efficiently. Here are a few areas to consider:
Writing Inclusive Recruiting Emails, Job Posts, and Appointment Letters
Writing effective job posts, emails, and appointment letters that engage all potential applicants is a critical component of any successful diversity and inclusion strategy. After all, it is difficult to create a truly inclusive workplace without a diverse mix of candidates; therefore, recruitment must be the cornerstone of your strategy.
Developing an Employee Resource Group
Employee resource groups (ERGs) are a great way to encourage open communication and support between diverse employees. These employee-led networks provide an open forum for employees to discuss potential solutions to workplace issues, ask questions, and share advice.
Adopting Diversity-Friendly Policies
In order to ensure that your diversity and inclusion initiatives are successful, it is important to adopt policies that encourage and promote diversity in the workplace. This could include anything from a comprehensive anti-discrimination policy to parental leave programs for employees who have young children.
Providing Unconscious Bias Training
Unconscious bias training is a great way to educate employees on how to recognize and address potential prejudicial actions. Such training can help create an environment of respect and understanding, allowing all types of diversity to be celebrated.
Encouraging Open Dialogue
The most effective way to build an inclusive workplace is by creating a culture of open dialogue and support. This means encouraging employees to speak up and express their opinions while being mindful that everyone is valued for their differences.
Crafting an effective and sustainable diversity and inclusion strategy is no simple task – yet it is an essential goal for any organization that wants to ensure a safe and welcoming workplace. By breaking down the components of diversity and inclusion, identifying specific goals, pinpointing areas of focus, and encouraging open dialogue, you can create an environment where all employees feel respected and valued – leading to a stronger, more successful organization.
Just remember that true inclusion requires dedication and commitment from all levels of the organization; so be sure to provide the necessary resources and support for your strategy to succeed.