To achieve workplace diversity, go beyond good intentions
Workplace diversity programs are good business as well as the right thing to do. How do you put them into practice?
It's taken a good, long while, but many companies are finally understand that employing a diverse workforce is not only the right thing to do, it's also makes common business sense. But good intentions are one thing. Actually hiring and promoting men and women with varied racial and ethnic backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations is another. Here's how companies and workers can do what they say.
Show diverse faces
Before recruitment and employment interviews, take a step back and look at your public-facing materials. A company truly committed to inclusion should run ads and feature voices of diverse groups of people. Recruitment teams that represent companies at job fairs and college campuses must also be diverse. That positions the organization in candidates' minds as one that values diversity.
Why is that important? According to the 2020 Monster State of the Candidate survey, half (52%) of job candidates say diversity, equality, and inclusion in the workplace is "very important" to them.
Put the mission statement into practice
Companies should include references to diversity in their mission or values statements to signal an explicit commitment to all employees. Even more crucial to attracting a diverse pool of applicants are actions that reflect diversity from the top down, not just in management positions. And all staff, including the C suite, must receive regular, ongoing diversity training.
Make diversity goals part of company plans
A diverse workforce is more likely when diversity goals are included in strategic-planning processes and managers are held responsible for specific objectives. Diversity questions should be incorporated into employee surveys to determine whether current policies and programs are effective. And milestones and achievements involving diversity groups and individuals should be communicated and celebrated.
Show diversity, and take a stand
Companies hoping to attain and retain diverse workforces should also encourage the formation of affinity groups, such as African-American, Hispanic/Latino, Asian-American, and LGBTQ networks. HR should to form company-wide diversity councils and task forces. To communicate company values, all websites and promotional materials should show diversity, and, when possible, include the company's diversity policy. Companies should also consider taking a proactive approach to diversity-related public-policy issues.
A commitment to diversity should be discussed often, in meetings large and small. Encourage hiring and promotion managers to practice inclusivity by urging them to seek out candidates with different backgrounds and points of view.
Use assessment tools
Assessments can help people understand their current degree of cultural awareness, which subsequent coaching can build upon. Sure, this may turn some (privileged) people off, but when you offer them means of bettering themselves, they are likely to be more amenable.
Still, many successful diversity efforts begin with human resources. Good HR departments post positions in many places (including minority-oriented websites) and participate in job fairs hosted by diverse communities.
Although diversity and inclusion may be driven from the top down, its success may be felt from the bottom up. That's why it's so important today to plant the seeds for tomorrow. This can be anything from making sure your internship programs reach out to underserved communities to offering scholarships, fellowships, and cooperative programs to help minority college students.
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