Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), March 19, 2018
This article offers six practical strategies for creating an inclusive environment that goes beyond merely hiring a diverse workforce that includes a range of ages, ethnicities, religions and worldviews. They include:
- Educating leadership on the benefits of inclusion, as it’s a company’s executives and managers—those who interact directly with employees—who will be instrumental to the success of diversity and inclusion programs.
- Forming a council comprising a dedicated group of eight to 12 influential leaders who are one or two levels below the CEO. (Ideally, councils should be involved in goal setting around hiring, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce and in addressing any employee engagement problems among underrepresented employee groups.)
- Showing employees that you respect them by celebrating their differences. Invite employees to share their backgrounds and traditions in the workplace through creative events and programs.
- Listening to employees by understanding their experiences (Use surveys and focus groups and conduct comprehensive assessments of your organization’s demographics and people-oriented processes to develop specific strategies to promote inclusiveness.)
- Hold more effective meetings. Promote active debate and be courteous. If one colleague interrupts another, call attention to it to underscore the importance of letting everyone be heard.
- Communicate goals and measure progress. Conduct a full audit of your people processes—from recruiting and hiring to developing and retaining employees. Couple the data with engagement and other workforce survey data to gain a full measure of your climate. Then, establish and clearly communicate specific, measurable, and time-bound goals as you would with any other strategic aim.