There are many reasons why it is important to have a diverse workforce. It promotes creativity, innovation, and allows for more perspectives on solving problems. Diversity is the way we live, and it’s vital to any organization that wants to thrive in today’s world. Here are our 7 tips to ensure diversity isn’t just a buzzword in your workplace.
1. Codify diversity as part of your core values
ThisWay Global operates using the Entrepreneurs Operating System (EOS). One of the first steps to implementing a strong operational framework is identifying your organization’s Core Values and living these core values, daily. EOS based companies also hire and fire employees based on these values because they are truly the core belief system of the company. One of our Core Values is ‘Diversity’. Furthermore, diversity is to be infused into everything that we do. We are diverse, we intentionally take extra effort to include a wide range of diverse people in our recruitment process and we seek to partner with other companies and investors that also prioritize diversity as part of their core values.
People have a keen ability to sense when you are not truly intentional about diversity inside your company and this is the most important step in leadership towards critical, public commitment.
2. Invest in attracting diverse talent to every job
Oftentimes we have new customers that share their goals of increasing diversity in particular roles, geographies or levels of seniority. We hear things like, ‘we need more black, female executives’ or ‘we want to see if we can hire more Asian men for these roles’. While we fully support increasing diversity, it’s also disheartening to know that companies are prioritizing one underrepresented group over another. Or that they have decided to only invest in diversity for one group of their jobs. This strategy is also counterintuitive for a company that has made a legitimate commitment to increasing diversity across their organization.
Diverse candidates will often look at your leadership, your core values, press, employee ratings and other job descriptions to assess if your commitment to diversity is sincere. This is a leading indicator as to whether or not that they will be speaking to an authentic, fair minded and inclusive organization when they enter into your recruitment process.
3. Define a clear diversity mission statement
Core Values are important but they are a bit of an island without the support of the vision and mission of the company. In a similar way, having a mission statement with respect to your organization’s diversity goals will help employees and talent that you are recruiting to understand what your intentions and goals are around diversity. This mission statement is also a great time to share intentions around inclusion, equality, and belonging.
Diversity focused mission statements tell your current and future stakeholders that you have publicly committed to and are investing in a DEI&B (diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging) strategy. This also lets the world know that you aren’t just providing lip service to the problem.
4. Prioritize diversity on your careers page
Your company careers page is often the first or second experience that talent will have with your brand and positioning in the market. Yes, I know this page might already have a stock photo showing a blend of multicultural people smiling while working together in a warehouse or conference room. But we all know that this doesn’t impress or convince anyone that your organization cares about achieving greater diversity or an inclusive-minded culture.
Take the time to hire a photographer and a writer to create feature stories about all types of people in your organization. Or better yet, enable the photographers and writers that already work for you to show their hidden talents by providing these assets. And all types should also include white men. Remember, people love stories and they also love to see themselves when they look at your workforce. Stock photos captioned by your marketing agency will not render the authenticity needed for a successful strategy.
5. Publish diversity metrics, publicly, on a quarterly basis
Before establishing the desired metric, first capture the current diversity of your team. Most companies are shocked to learn that their current workforce represents more diversity than they realized. Some people do not like sharing publicly that they are part of the LGBTQ community and others may not want coworkers to know about their religious beliefs, ethnicity or veteran service. Below you will see the Wheel of Diversity. I first learned about this from Pitney Bowes, a well-documented leader in building a more diverse company and culture.
Share this circle and let your team anonymously put stars next to attributes that make them diverse and tally the results. Some people will have many attributes and others may have one or even none. The goal is to see where you stand as an organization. Share the results with your team and let them be part of setting metrics and creating a communication strategy around quarterly updates and annual reporting against metrics and goals.
6. Incentivize teams responsible for increasing diversity
Creating a more diverse team and culture does not happen overnight. It takes commitment, effort, and time. You will need your team to prioritize execution if you want them to truly be part of the solution. By providing additional incentives around building a more diverse culture you are showing that it is a priority, that it matters, and that you appreciate the efforts of your team.
Without providing additional incentives to support diversity, some, if not all, of your strategy may fail simply because of resentment in response to the extra effort needed, as well as pushback on a strategy the team would have otherwise supported.
7. Communicate transparently regarding past failures
One of the hardest but also most effective actions for building a diverse culture is honesty and transparency. The world already knows that most companies have struggled to build diverse and inclusive cultures. That is the reason the topic is in the headlines almost daily. But when a company takes ownership of those past missteps and includes their workforce in developing and executing strategic initiatives around a diverse culture, there can be outsized returns on investment.
Identify two or three areas or events that your company could have acted in a more inclusive manner and ask members of your workforce to provide suggestions for improved ways to handle this moving forward and implement the agreed course of action. This process alone will take your culture to one of true diversity, inclusion, equality and belonging rather than allowing DEI&B to just become buzzwords.
The research is clear — diverse organizations make better decisions and are more profitable. ThisWay Global has the experience to help you build a diverse workforce, in-house or through partnerships with external talent pools. If you are ready for change, we can get your organization on track for long-term success today.