Looking back on this past year, there have been a strong number of organizations who are talking louder about improving diversity and inclusion efforts. And rightfully so. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we live in a political landscape where leadership is definitely needed.
Unfortunately, this has also been a year where we’ve seen bad examples in business. Uber, Zenefits, and Thinxx are just a few companies in the headlines who didn’t take on a leadership role with their diversity efforts – to put it nicely.
As you look to improve diversity and inclusion within your organization, try focusing on the following areas:
Identify your current state
Before you begin, it’s important to understand what you’ve done to support or thwart diversity and inclusion within your company. Conduct a review of the organization to understand the need and direction you want to move toward. Here are a few areas to target:
- Current demographics
- Current policies and programs around recruiting talent
- Current feedback internally and externally on diversity
Define and measure your goals
In order to ensure your mission, goals, policies, and practices communicate a commitment to diversity, identify what diversity means to you. Organizations today are considering different races, religions, gender, sexual orientation, and veteran status within their discussion of diversity. Consider focusing on a small list of goals first, as results will be incremental over time. By doing so, you’ll be better equipped to build the ideas into everyday common practices and evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts.
Many organizations have a wide variety of resources available to them, so avoid reinventing the networking wheel. When starting a diversity effort, evaluate information and resources from those already supporting you. Ask yourself these questions:
- Who within our community and network can assist?
- Who internally is critical to owning and developing these partnerships and relationships?
- What results do we desire from our network? And what are some immediate next steps to help us get started?
Attract diverse talent pools
It’s important to identify new talent pools through external recruiting efforts. To attract top talent in these areas, ask yourself these questions:
- How do we make diversity part of our brand’s identity?
- How will we create a recruitment process that supports our efforts?
- How will we create a welcoming experience as we interview and onboard a diverse talent pool?
There’s not one right way to get engagement from within; however, organizations can gradually build structure where initiatives are valued. How might we engage existing team members in our goals and efforts?
Ensure existing programs, policies, and practices are aligned with the goals and efforts created thus far. What existing programs are in-place that can support our diversity goals? What do we need to do differently?
Studies show that by embracing differences, organizations can produce a more effective and successful organization. My LinkedIn news feed shows that we all need to be taking action on this now. So, what can you do to improve diversity and inclusion at your organization?