Intentional Change: 6 Simple Steps to Better Diversity, Equity & Inclusion in Your Business
We’re past the point of making the case for creating a diverse and inclusive workspace. We’ve seen the data, and we know what’s right for business – and the right thing to do. Business leaders across the country have even made a declaration to commit to inclusive practices as employers.
But now what? The truth is it’s not as simple as just declaring a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Making a change takes work, but you don’t have to take on the weight of it all at once.
Here are six simple steps to put your words to work:
1. Learn the terms. Do you know the difference between diversity and inclusion? Start by understanding the nuances of these terms. Diversity refers to the make-up of your staff. It’s the “who.” Having a diverse staff means you have a range of thought, experience, perspectives, and more. Inclusion is about bringing these diverse people to the table. How are you allowing or encouraging them to be heard? How do your diverse employees feel about working for your company? Diversity and inclusion work hand-in-hand. Having a diverse staff is not sustainable if your culture is not inclusive, and inclusion doesn’t make much of a difference if your workforce isn’t diverse.
2. Talk about race in your workplace with the help of a diversity professional. It’s the topic no one wants to discuss, but we know acknowledging the existence of white privilege, implicit bias and macro- aggressions is the first step to addressing them. The ‘colorblind’ approach denies inequities and the power of diverse thought in business. Having discussions about race, inclusion and equity with employees can bring attention to unnoticed bias and support an inclusive work culture. However, this topic is not one to approach on your own. Such conversations can turn volatile without the help of a professional who can lead the discussion. Need help finding an expert? Turn to business support groups such as the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce for recommendations.
3. Know who works for you. Work with your HR team to gather information regarding race, gender identity, ethnicity, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, and more. Do you have gaps? If so, you can better target your hiring to meet those needs. You also can use this information to measure the success of your inclusion efforts. If you have an attrition problem with diverse employees, your inclusion efforts might need improvement.
4. Keep dialogue consistent. It’s not enough to hold one diversity training session and check the box. Implement regular workshops, panel discussions, and open forums for staff. Diversity should be a part of a regular dialogue in order to fully integrate it into your workplace culture. You also might explore the idea of creating a Diversity and Inclusion committee to help guide diversity and inclusion policies and to monitor progress.
5. Limit referral hiring and expand your candidate pool. Hiring from a referral can lead to a staff of people who think or look similar to the hiring manager because candidates are coming from the same world. If you choose to hire from a referral, be cognizant of who is doing the referral. Ensure all employees have an opportunity to refer candidates for open positions. Instead, focus on expanding your search to diverse outlets. Reach out to a diverse representation of colleges, universities and art schools, and expand internship programs to include qualified candidates who took an untraditional educational path.
6. Examine systems and processes. Do a pay audit. Are your diverse employees being paid fairly? Do you use objective criteria to evaluate employee performance? Are project assignments being allocated equitably? These questions are imperative to affecting change because no amount of inclusion training will fix these systemic problems within your organization.
Work in this area is never done, so keep learning! On November 15, the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will host the 2022 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum, which provides expert insight and resources for inclusive hiring practices, policy creation, staff engagement and more. Registration will be open soon at DaytonChamber.org.
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