Improving Inclusivity and Diversity in Your Organization
As a business owner, the need to provide an inclusive work environment for your employees is a top priority. Recently there has been a surge in client requests for guidance on how to build a workplace that is continually improving their level of inclusivity and diversity.
The best advice we can give is that it starts with you! As a leader you need to show your commitment to change. Visible action and frequent communication demonstrates how important inclusive and diverse programming is to you. It’s important to recognize that change does not happen overnight. Meaningful organizational change requires a long term commitment.
That’s why we suggest using a change management approach to drive elevation of inclusivity and diversity in your workplace. Programming that is developed with the goal of sustaining new thinking and behaviours with a focus on continual improvement will provide the best outcomes. Here are some practical steps companies can follow in their change journey:
Step 1: Gauge awareness and desire for change.
This starts by focusing on yourself and your people. What’s your level of awareness and desire to change?
Surveying your management team and staff will give you a better understanding of the level of personal importance placed on inclusivity and diversity and how your people perceive your current programming.
Step 2: Identify your vision for the future
Where do you and your employees want to be in the future?
Having a clear target will guide your organization in developing programming that will achieve the results you and your employees are seeking.
Step 3: Identify and focus on the behaviours that need to change to achieve your vision
Use top down and bottom up culture messaging to support your vision for change.
If there is a disconnect between the culture being advertised and that of the behaviours of leaders, employees will become disengaged from the one you are trying to implement.
Step 4: Build initiatives to support the advocacy of that change,
Empower employees to lead inclusivity and diversity initiatives.
Create programs/events that encourage employees to collaborate, make their own decisions and encourage interpersonal relationships in developing inclusivity and diversity programming.
Step 5: Reinforce the change
Measure impact of initiatives with bi-annual surveys to gather employee feedback.
Culture implementation will need to be continuously managed and adapted. This will accelerate organizational changes and align corporate objectives more efficiently.
Here are 3 tangible things organizations do today: 1. Complete an inclusivity and diversity audit. This includes an audit of your corporate values, policies and procedures, under the lens of ensuring the language and approach does not in any way inhibit your ability to be inclusive.
2. Create an inclusivity committee that is employee led and driven to increase awareness and understanding.
3. Ensure your employees have access to anonymous reporting. A confidential speak up line ensures employees have a channel to address behaviours they do not feel align with your company values.
There are many initiatives you can lead to be more proactive in keeping yourself and employees informed and educated on inclusivity in the workplace - reading this blog is just one step. For support on developing workplace strategies to improve diversity and inclusivity, feel free to contact us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or text 403-478-7710.