4 Important Ways to Increase Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

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February 12, 2017 | Karima Mariama-Arthur, Esq. | HCI

Increasing diversity and inclusion in the workplace takes true commitment from the entire team to get it right – top to bottom, and everywhere it between.

Cultural differences must be acknowledged and taken in hand because demographics shift to reflect an ever-changing global dynamic. Dealing with diversity in the workplace impacts the organization, and its ability to achieve goals and cultural framework.

“More diverse companies are better able to win top talent and improve their customer orientation, employee satisfaction, and decision making, and all that leads to a virtuous cycle of increasing returns.” A recent Mckinsey study found.

Increasing diversity means embracing and advocating differences from person to person within the organization – ethnicity, gender, age, origin, disability, religion, etc.

Inclusion is about proactively supporting, valuing, and respecting those differences.

An organization that succeeds in diversity and inclusion is one that transforms conceptual differences into practical and implementable strategies that work.

Four ways to increase diversity and inclusion in the workplace:
1. Take a deep dive
 Find out where your organization stands on diversity and inclusion. Decide in advance to confront challenges and opportunities with determination, as superficial probing will unlikely uncover root causes or effect change. Roll up your sleeves and perform deep research, closely interview and observe employees. Find substantive information to help you make the best decisions and transform the status quo.

2. Increase system awareness
Diversity and inclusion messages must be visible, visceral and consistent, be embedded at the organizational level, and reinforced in the mission, literature and policies. Make awareness a part of your organizational culture so employees know about opportunities and can take advantage of development.

3. Create performance objectives and reciprocal accountability
Goal setting is a must for organizations that want to reach new heights and transform the workplace. Create a shared sense of responsibility and accountability, especially for establishing and maintaining a diverse and inclusive workplace by enrolling all employees in big picture planning and execution. When your team is on the same page, it’s best working toward a common goal and preparing to fight inequality.

4. Make a long-term commitment to maximize diversity and inclusion
Change takes time and commitment – days, weeks and maybe, months. No matter what, stay focused on the big picture and do whatever it takes to make diversity and inclusion practices right, fighting through any frustration, misunderstanding, exhaustion and spirited debates that might happen. Success is reached when your organization’s culture gets stronger and your team, as a whole, can harvest the benefits that come with increased diversity and inclusion.

To your success!