6 ways to effectively implement diversity and inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion is not just a policy, a quota, or a buzz word for your organisation. It is so much more than that. 

When you see good ideas flourish, strategies be effectively executed, and results soar, it is generally the accumulation of discussions, feedback, and conversations from several different people, all who have been part of the conversation.

When people first think of diversity, they tend to consider proactively including a range of ethnicities, genders, and generations or ages. Diversity is more than that. It is ALL the ways in which we are different including family, abilities and disabilities, experiences, religion, sexual orientation, values, education, travel, and where they live.

6 ways to effectively implement diversity and inclusion into your business:

1. First you need to define and understand what exactly Diversity and Inclusion means to you

The term diversity is a description of everyone. It is not just about ethnicity, age, gender, ability or disability, or sexual orientation. It is about the full spectrum of diversity that has accumulated over time to create your perspective on life.  Where you went to school, what you studied and who taught you can give you a diverse perspective compared to your colleague with a similar age, gender and ethnicity but a different school location, syllabus and teachers.

When considering “inclusion” it is believed by some that if they have simply been involved in the conversation it is enough. It is not. Inclusion is about acknowledging, including, and valuing their difference of opinion.

2. Understand the value of Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity is an asset. It provides alternative perspectives and points of view to consider all opportunities and challenges. Diversity is creativity. Creativity, in turn, encourages growth and a competitive advantage.

The impact inclusion can have, is priceless. If people are included, they simply feel more engaged. It is with this engagement that productivity accelerates, performance is enhanced, and results happen. Good results.

3. Create an environment where Diversity and Inclusion is part of your values and culture

It is easy for a company to demonstrate their diversity because it is visible through quotas and policies. On the other hand, inclusion is not so easy for a company to demonstrate because it is not tangible. You therefore need to put effort into living, breathing, and valuing diversity and inclusion.

Consider your values, vision, mission, and purpose. How does diversity and inclusion impact and enhance those things. Consider your communication and how you can give clear messages that support and encourage both diversity and inclusion moving forward.

4. Assess and reflect on your leadership team

Diversity and Inclusion starts from leadership and needs to be embedded throughout your organisation. Assess your leadership team. Is the leadership team itself diverse and inclusive? If not, it is time to reflect on the team. Does the leadership team demonstrate and respect diversity and inclusion in their daily behaviours? If not, implement strategies that will change this behaviour.

For your organisation to embrace diversity and inclusion you and your leadership team need to do so first.

5. Review and implement through human resource activity

This can be done through reviewing the formulation of your departmental and project teams, your organisational practice, your values and behaviours, workforce planning strategies, talent and retention strategies and employee engagement initiatives.

Conscious and unconscious bias can knowingly or unknowingly creep into your organisation and impact how you look at and react to diversity in your decision making. Implementing strategies to counteract the bias and create a new way of thinking brings diversity and inclusion into the core values, not just a policy document.

6. Monitor and ask for feedback

You need to be realistic by checking in on a regular basis. Are teams, departments, projects, and customers respecting diversity and are they actively including and involving others? For people to believe in, influence, and encourage diversity and inclusion they need to see you lead by example and keep the momentum by checking in and providing feedback.

Diversity and inclusion are an asset to your business. It will increase productivity, improve performance, enhance your employee engagement, and give you a competitive advantage. It is not a superficial policy used in a marketing message. It is a valuable benefit that will provide you, your customers, and your employees success.

For more information or to discuss how to optimise diversity and inclusion in your business, contact Hunton Executive.

For a comprehensive guide to attracting, recruiting, and retaining your talent sign up to our Employer Guide online course.

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