Companies seeking to improve employee recruitment, performance, and retention, increase engagement, achieve higher revenue and growth can find opportunities and resources through diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.
It’s normal, anymore, for employees to spend more time at work than they do anywhere else. Imagine if everyone in your organization, regardless of gender identity, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, age, disability, economic situation, religion, culture, etc., felt safe, welcomed, and accepted wholeheartedly for who they are and what they can contribute? What if your employees knew that your company and their co-workers cared about them as if they were a “second family?” Imagine what your company could accomplish and how appealing it would be to work for and do business with such an organization.
A diverse, equitable, and inclusive workforce is vital to the success of any organization. It has become the new standard of leadership. Positive day-to-day experiences bring management closer to employees. Encouraging employees to share perspectives and insights where they feel safe and supported creates opportunities for relationship-building and innovation. It also brings companies closer to the customers and communities they serve and support.
With a bit of effort and some strategic planning, your company can create a culture that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. Here are 10 tips for consideration:
- Encourage employees to recognize words and actions.
Every company has a NON-NEGOTIABLE policy that every employee must be treated with dignity and respect. Inclusiveness and kindness should be fostered, recognized, and encouraged at all levels of the organization. Divisive, exclusionary, and abusive words and actions should be immediately reported to managers or Human Resources
- Be willing to listen.
Consider conducting surveys (for instance, a Pulse survey!) and focus groups to better understand some of the organization’s strengths, issues, challenges, obstacles, and company culture. It may help identify a starting point for potential changes, as well as potential risk areas.
- Broaden recruiting efforts and consider rewriting future job descriptions.
Perhaps a college degree isn’t as necessary as it once was. Consider hiring people with disabilities or retirees with years of experience under their belts. Are there places in your operations where you can expand the talent pool to provide opportunities to people from underserved communities? Here’s a chance to find a new approach and to reach out to new stakeholder groups. There is talent everywhere!
- Standardize the interview process.
Digital screenings eliminate cognitive and unconscious biases and ensure a fair, standardized process in evaluating candidates based on competencies.
- Don’t build fences; build bridges.
Enrich networks and feedback loops. Collaborate across boundaries whenever possible by coaching, mentoring, and sponsoring employees at all levels of the organization. Remember to also connect with informal and social networks within the organization.
- Embrace more “culture add” and less “culture fit.”
As your company adds diverse talent and becomes more accepting, there will be less pressure to require employees to fit a norm – which is a good thing! Think of the new and exciting ideas that your teams will share.
- Seek larger pools of thought.
Invite input from all employees and seek speakers of diverse backgrounds to present at meetings, seminars, and new hire orientations. Don’t rely on the same people all the time.
- Ensure representation across all employee levels.
Leadership must support and commit to providing professional development opportunities to middle and front-line managers.
- Review how the company recognizes multicultural, religious, and informal holidays/election days.
Encourage employees to enjoy days significant to the company and celebrate holidays most meaningful in their own lives. Consider allotting company holidays and then assign other holidays by region or give employees flexible holidays that they can use as they please. When scheduling meetings, inventory projects, or other special events, respect multicultural and religious holidays and election days.
- Consider offering employees access to a quiet room.
Make space available where believers and those who wish to use a room as a quiet space but do not consider themselves spiritual can take 15 minutes for relaxation, reflection, or individual or communal worship.
Research shows that diversity, equity, and inclusion programs result in greater employee satisfaction and better performance and outcomes.
Diversity, equity, and inclusion are more than the latest buzzwords. The business-related leadership styles, management efforts, initiatives and programs related to these words should have been happening all along.
For more free resources and tools that promote DE&I best practices in the workplace, visit Perspectives+. It’s Paycor’s online knowledge library designed to help our partner network drive change, empower colleagues, and foster new leaders.