Diversity and Inclusion – The Place I Belong!
We come from diverse backgrounds, cultures, languages, geographic origins, professions, choices and perspectives which help us in managing and creating solutions differently in our teams. Diversity is a mindset that needs that every organization should embrace while one contributes to the company’s D&I culture. The more the diversity in an organization, the more perspectives, ideas, mix of culture, integrity is found.
The concept of Diversity and Inclusion has been least talked about in a Journey of an HR. While I was studying more on the industry D&I practices, I realized that most of my past employers have not got this part right. While the intentions of many companies are great – to create a diverse and inclusive workforce organization they have not been able to build the culture despite attempts. We live in a world where we will be doing a lot of Tokenism and lip service, which is prevalent within our organizations. While we drive a lot of activities in our organizations, we do focus more on the activities and their completion, which is more of a check in the box. We forget to create a sense of belonging and build a culture of trust with our employees. We know that all organizations thrive on the ‘customer is king’ philosophy, however, we often forget that we have internal customers too who are our employees no matter how diverse an organization we are.
How to get Diversity and Inclusion Right?
Research indicates that the more diverse workforces organizations have, the better they perform financially. A few of the below points will help get the D&I initiatives moving in the right direction.
The accountability and responsibility for D&I initiatives are not with the person running the program. It’s an overall management responsibility and all functions and business verticals need to equally contribute to it. Checking within the team what is the right mix and percentage depends on the nature of work & diversity percentage should be the least priority on the list. Management should think long-term on initiatives and see how diverse people fit within the scheme of day-to-day work and have career paths within each vertical. The sense of belonging to the immediate team & culture of the company is key to ensuring the long-term prospect for each employee.
Creating Awareness about Initiatives
Lack of awareness about diversity and inclusion will affect the environment in the workplace. We need to create awareness about the various program & platforms to help build the culture and set the basic policies in place to support Diversity related concerns and issues that may arise. Leadership and manager sensitization of diversity and its importance is important to start with. General training for the entire workforce & regular communication with employees will help sensitize and bring the right behaviour
Shifting Hiring Trends to Diversity
An organization should practice a healthy mix of hiring trends & internal promotion practice to drive a perfect balance of talent pool. Women leaders need to be added to senior management. Diversity programs that need to be part of a series of related efforts, having a buddy for any new joiner, one-to-one help& support on counselling from professional counsellors, and mentors who can help & effectively guide. When organizations look to demonstrate a commitment to diversity, employees are more motivated to learn about it and understand these societal issues and embrace them in their daily interactions. Again, Tokenism and lip service will not sustain in the long run, if the program is not strategically planned well.
Creating of Affinity groups
Organizations use different groups to express their commitment to diversity and inclusion. This can prove to be a very strong tool for recruitment and retention of the workforce. Such forums help in the success of making the workplace more welcoming and helping the company understand the issues these groups face. The company need to ensure how to help address concerns brought in by the group seriously.
It’s every leader in a position of authority needs to be responsible and accountable while dealing with diverse employees with care and with the mindset of building the team and live by the culture of the company. Recruitment teams and Hiring managers need to ensure that they remove any kind of bias while they interact with prospective candidates. Regularly connecting with the diverse teams will help create and build the culture that every organization desires & a need to know what challenges need to be addressed. Lastly, a Diversity & Inclusion policy should help and guide all employees with the proposition as what means for me. This will also help employees to understand the goals of this new work environment& challenges the organization is facing and regular dialogues can help support the D&I policy creating a sense of belonging to an organization.
The Inspirit Way
Cultural Divergence has to be kept in every organization no matter how big or small their operation is. An HR need not follow the mandate policies of including diverse workforce but has to ensure a balanced mix of employees. Talent Recruiting is about strategizing, analyzing who will be the right fit and studying the trends across vast categories. A very important responsibility is being endowed on the HR’s today, especially during this global crisis. Diversity & inclusion can be wonderful scale to help the hiring managers all around the world.