I’ll start with the good news: over the last several decades, our society has made incredible progress toward creating and embracing a more diverse and inclusive workforce. What’s most exciting to me is how many companies are reaching out to get a better understanding of how to take it even further: they want practical, actionable steps to help them foster a diverse, inclusive work environment.
Josh Bersin is an expert researcher I admire in the areas of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. His notable studies detail effective strategies for nurturing a more inclusive environment, and since I always prefer to focus on “what is working”, I’m going to share some of his findings with you today.
Before we dive in, let me just say that there is no “one size fits all” guide to integrating diversity and inclusion in your workspace. Every organization is different, which is why it can be helpful to work one-on-one with a specialist who can help you craft a personalized strategy (if you would like support in this area, click HERE to connect with me directly).
Now, let’s get to it!
Strategy #1: Decide what Diversity and Inclusion Mean
This strategy looks like defining what, specifically, diversity and inclusion mean to the organization and what the company’s role is in fostering an inclusive environment (read more on this HERE). What does the organization stand for, and what does it believe in these areas? What are the expectations for employees, given what the organization’s leadership believes?
Of course, the company cannot dictate the employees’ personal values system, but it can take a stance that it is a diverse and inclusive employer, and on an individual level, employees’ behaviors should reflect this stance.
Strategy #2: Assign a Top Executive
The responsibility of developing a strategy for diversity and inclusion should fall to someone at the C-suite level. HR may be responsible for implementing the strategy, but overall accountability needs to fall to someone in an important leadership position.
Ideally, it will be someone who “gets it,” who believes in the process, and understands the value of engaging. This person should function as the “champion” of the project; after all, it has been shown that companies who view diversity and inclusion as a business strategy (as opposed to a vague HR directive) yield better results all around.
Strategy #3: Create Behavioral Standards…
…and hold leaders accountable for results. When standards for inclusive leadership are clearly defined and employees are trained, they can be held to the new standard. One of the most effective things an organization can do is clearly delineate specific behaviors they are looking for from their leaders.
When the behaviors are outlined and the leaders have been trained, then everyone can be held accountable and real change will start to become evident.
It’s one thing to think about and read about these ideas, and it’s another to put them into practices. If you’re ready to take your organization to the next level of diversity and inclusion, let’s talk. Click HERE to connect with me directly.
Photo source: Kaye/Bassman International – Recruiting Firm