If you haven’t looked at your company’s diversity initiative in awhile (or let alone implemented one) the time to do so is now. Developing and a maintaining a healthy company culture is dependent on a diverse workforce operating under equitable conditions. And while this has always been the case, it’s no secret that some employers have neglected to put in significant effort to meet this requirement. We’ve developed this guide to get business owners familiar with thinking about diversity and inclusion, and of course we urge you to reach out to us for help in developing any new programs!
Definitions of common terms
What is diversity? Diversity in the workplace looks like a team comprising of many different identities and characteristics such as age, ability, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, and religion. And this is a small example but should give you the idea that when looking at your team, you see a variety of these characteristics and life experiences equally contributing to the goals of the company. Which brings us to inclusion.
What is inclusion? Inclusion is giving equal opportunity to all team members to make contributions to the production of the company, including decision-making. It means providing value to each team member and each team member feeling valued. This underlines the importance of engagement and equity.
What is equity? Equity differs from equality in that while equality for purpose of employment means granting equal access, equity is the recognition that not all employees are at the same starting point. Therefore equity makes adjustments for this in order to grant equal access to success to all employees.
Why is diversity, inclusion, and equity important? For a number of reasons. One, it is important to grant access to successful career development to all people, period. It also develops a stronger and healthier company brand and ultimately the overall successful of this company via inclusion of many different perspectives, skills, and solutions. A diverse workforce is one that experiences positive growth while meeting challenges. It’s the ideal!
How to get started
First, review any diversity programs you have in place in order to assess their effectiveness. Team surveys are helpful in this, as well as identifying a (diverse) leadership team that will help to executive this review and any subsequent changes to the program. Evaluate hiring policies, promotion criteria and general assignment of responsibility practices for equitable access to all team members.
Once you have an idea of where you are, begin to implement the necessary changes in making your diversity and inclusion program(s) more effective, including strengthening outreach efforts with management training and offering more opportunities for staff to participate in goals and decision-making. Encouraging open communication is vital to understanding how effective an ongoing strategy is so make sure to invite feedback on a regular basis.
Speaking of ongoing, it’s important to note that diversity programs are never a one-and-done. They take consistent review and adjustment in order to remain relevant and successful. If you think of them as having a life of their own requiring meaningful care, you’ll get a better sense of how they should operate in your company’s culture.
If you’re still feeling unsure how to get going with a diversity and inclusion program, we can help! Eos HR is a team of HR professionals helping small businesses implement smart solutions to meet challenges, large or small. We can review an existing policy or help you implement a new program, all to help your company culture be one that makes a positive difference. Schedule a free consultation today to learn more.
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