Diversity and Inclusion are both interconnected and are often seen as a single concept. Given the vast benefits that diversity and inclusion offer, it is only natural for companies to want to introduce them into their workplaces.
From attracting better employees to creating a positive environment for the existing ones, strong diversity and inclusion policy can be worth the effort. However, the question remains. How does a company create a plausible diversity and inclusion policy? The answer involves following certain practices while formulating the policy. This article will attempt to answer these very questions.
Top 10 Effective Diversity and Inclusion Practices
What do BASF, the Ford Motor Company, AIG, and so many more companies have in common? Not only are they all large companies, but they are also known to have a significant number of employees from very diverse backgrounds. Employees differ based on their ethnicity, language, gender, age, and so much more.
Companies looking to introduce diversity and inclusion in their offices can do so by learning from the multinational companies that were successful before them. The aforementioned companies utilized various diversity and inclusion best practices, creating an inclusive company culture.
- Outline Unconscious Biases Present
The first step in creating and implementing a successful diversity and inclusion strategy is to collect as much data regarding the state of the current company culture. This can be carried out using surveys, group discussions or other ways as well.
A company can also opt to take a carefully curated implicit bias test. This can help to determine if there are any unconscious biases present within the company.
- Create Awareness
One of the best ways to eradicate the aforementioned unconscious biases is to bring it to the employees’ attention. This also involves giving an accurate and comprehensive description of what it means to accept all the differences that may be found with co-workers. Most companies carry out this education through training programs, diversity workshops or seminars.
- Revamp Recruitment
Of all the processes that a company carries out, the recruitment process is probably hindered most by unconscious or conscious bias. In order to make the recruitment process more racially diverse, companies are now using personality assessment tests.
For example, women interviewing for a job with high stakes and tends to be intensive will have a lesser chance of being hired than a man.
However, making such an assumption without a formal interview to determine their abilities can negatively affect the company in the long run. Therefore, the recruitment procedure needs to be altered to ensure that the recruiting team can screen the candidates on the basis of their skills rather than their unrelated physical attributes.
- Alter Standard Operating Procedures
This best practice contrasts the “top-down” approach that companies usually tend to opt for. For the company’s culture to truly accept diversity and inclusivity, changes need to be made at every level. The basis of this approach involves holding every employee accountable for their behavior in the office.
As a leader, this will involve adhering to new standards in recruitment, promotion and any development efforts. For an individual employee, this will mean being responsible for the manner in which they interact with their co-workers. This can include the usage of inclusive language and making newer team members feel welcomed into the company.
- Create a D&I Specific Team
Many multinational companies now have a Chief Diversity Officer in charge of ensuring that the culture of the company accepts the principles of diversity and inclusion. However, a company can also choose to create a team of existing employees that will help to implement these strategies better.
In addition to this, this diversity and inclusion team can also interact with experts to determine the best course of action. It is an added benefit if the experts that the team is partnering with are local or have adequate knowledge about the diversity in the company.
- Post-training Programs
For many companies, diversity is strictly restricted to the seminars or the workshops that are conducted. In fact, these companies conduct such events to simply adhere to the laws made by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or EEOC, for short.
Most companies agree that in order for a diversity strategy to work and stick around, it needs to be a continuous initiative. However, this may understandably be over budget for many organizations.
For this reason, the company can opt to conduct cost-effective events that will help to improve the state of the company. This can include community celebrations, potluck lunches and other company events that can help employees interact and get to know each other. These events will also give them a chance to educate themselves about other nationalities or backgrounds.
- Introduce Goals
A great way to ensure the success of a diverse and inclusive workforce is to set specific goals that each employee can follow or the company as a whole. Goals can include the addition of inclusive works in one’s vocabulary to more big picture goals like improving representation in the leadership roles present in the company.
The aim is to orient the efforts of each willing employee in creating a more positive atmosphere at work. The goals can be both short-term to reap benefits more quickly and long-term goals that will ensure that the initiative will stick around for longer.
- Refrain from Filling Quotas
Companies may also choose to meet hiring targets by just filling in the quotas required. Not only does this disregard other candidates that may suit the role better, but it can create a hostile atmosphere for the existing employees. Therefore, the hiring process should be a meritocracy rather than a way to artificially increase the number of diverse people working in the company through diversity quotas.
- Involve Management
When implementing an initiative, one of the diversity and inclusion best practices would be to involve managers and employees in an executive leadership role at the beginning. This is especially important if the company brings in experts to make certain changes to improve its diversity.
The reason behind the success of implementing a diversity strategy is greatly influenced by the organizational context. That is, the internal logic, cultures and dynamics of a company.
The company can gauge whether these changes are plausible by briefing the managers and other executives at the beginning itself. The idea is to make these changes as smooth as possible and more sustainable as well.
- Improve Complaint Systems
According to some sources, around half of all complaints made by a victim of harassment or discrimination have resulted in retaliation. This fact reflects that there is a failure within the complaint system, which requires amending.
For this reason, a company needs to provide their employees with alternative pathways to make their complaints, if there are any. This can include bringing in Employee Assistance Plans and third-party dispute resolution solutions to make this process more discreet but effective.
Although some of the aforementioned diversity and inclusion best practices may seem challenging, especially with a low budget, they can be accomplished with a little innovative thinking. In fact, it does not matter how a company manages to make its culture more diverse and inclusive. What matters is that whether an organization reaches that stage.
Edited and approved by Mownica
Edited and approved by Mownica