As recent and ongoing events continue to spark conversations around systemic injustice and privilege, the question often arises, what can I be doing better? Diversity and inclusion are not new topics for many organizations. In fact, 83% of global businesses say diversity and inclusion are top priorities for their workplace. However, our current national environment tells us there’s still work to be done.
For many organizations, the focus is on hiring a diverse group of individuals ranging in age, ethnicity, and religion. While this step is essential, many businesses fail to prioritize the importance of inclusion. An inclusive work environment has created a culture where all employees are appreciated, respected, and receive the tools they need to succeed within their role. The challenge with diversity and inclusion is that it takes time to build and can often bring out unrecognized biases that can be painful for many individuals. However, an organization that prioritizes both diversity and inclusion see better retention rates, creativity, and employee engagement.
Strategies to Consider
To move in the right direction, the most successful organizations have taken these steps to create a more inclusive and safe workplace:
Start your education practices from the top
While inclusion practices must be honored at every level within the organization, it needs to start with the highest leaders. When these values are instilled within the individuals leading the company, the standards will be more easily instilled and respected. Businesses might consider starting with a diversity and inclusion training designed for leadership roles and executive teams. Continuous training gives leaders the opportunity to learn about behaviors they might not recognize within their workplace such as unconscious bias and micro-aggressive behaviors.
Form an inclusion committee
It’s tempting for organizations to host a one-day diversity and inclusion training and mark it off their to-do list. However, organizations that are serious about building an inclusive environment need to be held accountable. Inclusion committees or councils that include executive staff, board members, and employees provide an opportunity to evaluate their progress while also holding each other accountable.
Prioritize ongoing training
If organizations want inclusivity to be engrained in their workplace culture, they have to be willing to do the work. While one-day training seminars are helpful, ongoing training keeps conversations alive. Small working groups within each department can be a great way to help advocate for change in small but effective ways.
When individuals are forced to confront their own privilege and biases, it’s a normal reaction to get defensive. However, to help promote learning and real change, individuals need to feel safe. Collectively sharing experiences and personal goals are a great way to do the work individually while supporting each other as an organization.
Our goal at RiskVersity is to equip organizations and their teams with the tools they need to create successful working environments, foster growth, and reduce risk. If your organization is ready to take the next step in prioritizing diversity and inclusion, please contact us.