Eight Steps to Start or Grow a Diversity or Inclusion Initiative

Forbes.com; August 18, 2019


Most large organizations are already on the diversity and inclusion bandwagon, but small- and midsize companies may be considering how to build it into their programming or expand an initiative already in place. Although there is no one way, the following eight steps are sure to provide a powerful start and keep your organization on track.

  • Lead from the Top: Moving the needle takes a commitment from the top down. The best way to gain commitment is to make diversity and inclusion an organizational goal and include it in performance metrics.
  • Rely on Experience: Successful diversity practitioners offer leadership, influence, collaboration, strategy, and strong communications skills — written and spoken – in addition to having an excellent command of diversity, inclusion, and multiculturalism. If you don’t already have a subject matter expert managing diversity and inclusion, hire one.
  • Measure Employee Attitudes: Survey employees to gain insight into workplace culture. Questions should help establish the level of understanding employees have about the subject, how inclusive they believe the culture to be, the level of trust they have in the company and their management and their perception of organizational commitment.
  • Training is key: Training is one of the best ways for employees to understand how their perceptions may be sabotaging inclusive words and behaviors. It’s one thing to explain what it means, but something altogether to demonstrate what good inclusion practices look like and how to incorporate them in their learning and development plans.
  • Create affinity groups to build a sense of community, increase awareness, and foster new ideas.
  • Over communicate: Explain the process every step of the way to set and manage expectations and to help employees understand how they can participate. Over communicating also helps ensure that workplace policies include language around the importance of creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.
  • Analyze demographics: In addition to culture surveys, analytics are crucial to measuring progress. Consider tracking a variety of measures, including discrepancies in hiring, compensation, performance, or promotions using the same demographic attributes.
  • Walk the talk: Examine how you are demonstrating the culture you wish to create. Ask others for input on how well you are doing to uncover blind spots.

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