Changing the way our society looks and interacts with differences is more important than ever. Many times, managers and employees are not sure where to begin to truly incorporate a culture designed around diversity and inclusion, but everyone has to start somewhere. If you aren’t willing to see a problem, you won’t be able to fix it. With that being said, here are some ways to help you get started.
Evaluate Your Company
What does your company look like? When looking at your people, this is not only about diversity within ethnicity. Compile data on different categories including race, gender, language, life experience, etc., to name a few. Once you have a birds-eye view of what your company is comprised of, you can see any missing pieces you may not have realized were absent. Some information will have to be voluntarily given such as sexual preference and religion, so ensure that everyone understands the reason for collecting certain information and that it is collected responsibly and legally. Your HR department should be able to help you with this.
Create An In-house Team
Diversity and inclusion can’t be done just by you. Everyone needs to be on board, and a committee or team dedicated to this plan can be very helpful. Make sure the team is made up of a diverse set of individuals as well as managers. Allow them to have the time, resources, and undivided attention so they can truly make an impact on your business. If the team is not given your full support, it won’t succeed or feel like a genuine effort from other staff members.
Own Up To The Responsibility
When a company is hiring new people with the goal of being more diverse, management might not be sure what exactly managing that environment looks like. Your employees are not here to tell you how to manage them. Educate yourself, and if you put a plan in place with the intention of managing their environment to make it more inclusive, prepare the plan, and then double-check with them to see if this is actually helpful. You may have good intentions but because you aren’t in their shoes, it’s possible it could hurt more than help. Checking in with them isn’t failing at management, it’s working with them to make their work-life better. As with any of your employees, you work for them to help them feel confident in their jobs and at the place they work.
Hire An Outside Contractor
If you want to create a diverse and inclusive environment, you have to admit that what you’ve done so far might not be enough. It’s time for an outside perspective. Hiring a contractor that specifically focuses on how to initiate these changes can help guide you. Make sure that they are also a diverse and inclusive company so that you’ll be getting authentic help who deserves your money. You are investing, not only in the future of your business but into workplace culture as a whole. This way if an employee moves on, the positive changes you’ve made will hopefully have influenced them for the better which they can take to their next place of work.
As much as we’d love to say we’ve lived a thousand years and have seen everything there is to see, we can’t. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn. It’s important, especially as a manager, to educate yourself on what someone in your particular position can do to increase diversity and inclusion and constantly work at being successful. This includes taking a good look at your own biases and consciously working toward changing them. There will be days that you get it wrong, but it’s important to learn from your mistakes. Management has never been easy, but it is an important position that requires solid leadership who cares.
These are just a few jumping-off points when looking to make diversity and inclusion a real initiative in your company. Workplace culture overall has to change so that people will truly feel welcome no matter where they go. Diversity isn’t just good for people, it’s good for your bottom line, but that shouldn’t be the only reason to get on board. This isn’t just about money, it’s about making the world a better place, especially at work.