Diversity and inclusion in the workplace helps drive innovation, decision making, engagement, performance, retention and so much more. It’s good for your business. It’s good for your employees and it’s good for the broader community.
It is something that all businesses should be striving for in the pursuit of success.
In this blog, we share five ways you can level up your diversity and inclusion strategy to reap the full value of these benefits.
1. Make diversity & inclusion a strategic priority
Levelling up in any aspect of business requires a coordinated focus and strategic approach. To become champions in Diversity and inclusion, you need to make it a strategic priority in your business.
Firstly, you need to define what diversity and inclusion means to you. What are you passionate about? What are you trying to achieve? What does diversity and inclusion look like for you? What goals do you have? Every business will answer these questions differently, but 76% employees agree that workplace diversity is important, and so must you. Whether it’s increasing female participation in technology, or creating more opportunities for indigenous talent, the path you choose to take is up to you.
Secondly, you need to formulate a strategic plan to hit these targets, underwritten by strong tactics and activities business-wide to help you get there. Are you focusing on hiring, career progression, internal culture, industry reputation or all the above? Develop a comprehensive roadmap that’ll enable you to reach the success you defined earlier.
Finally, your strategy, and the activities that underpin it, must be a strategic priority across your whole business. From top to bottom, make diversity and inclusion a primary focus and be sure that you level-up and reap the rewards.
2. Make leaders accountable.
Diversity and inclusion strategies tend to be driven from the top. Your leaders have a big role to play and must buy-in to enhance your chances of success. Their actions and decisions ultimately determine how diverse and inclusive your business is.
If you really want to level up in diversity and inclusion, you could consider making your leaders more accountable. Add KPIs into their job remits. Create incentives that encourage diversity and inclusion. Increase the likelihood they buy-in to your strategy. Most good leaders will be doing this organically. However, if they aren’t, making them more accountable for there actions is one strong way to help your business level up.
3. Upskill your employees
Having buy-in from leaders is great. Having buy-in from all your employees is even better. The more buy-in you have internally, the more diverse and inclusive your workplace will inevitably be. One way to achieve collective buy-in is training. Upskill your employees in all things diversity and inclusions and highlight the value of it in their workplace. What does it mean? Why is it important? What are the organisation’s objectives? How can they contribute? What’s in it for them?
Answering these questions will increase the understanding of employees, ideally shaping their attitudes and behaviours to foster a levelled-up environment of diversity and inclusion. If there are employees who aren’t willing to buy-in, they may not be the best fit for your organisation long-term.
4. Shakeup your hiring process
Hiring is the gateway that determines the mix of talent who enters your business. Hire the same type of talent repeatedly and you are doomed to fail in diversity. However, by shaking up your hiring process to attract more diverse talent, your business can level up relatively quickly.
A diverse and inclusive organisation must have a fair hiring process. One that is accessible for diverse talent and one that minimises any biases and discriminations that exist internally. There are multiple ways you can approach this. Understand the barriers in your hiring process that repels segments of talent. Introduce artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies into your hiring process to reduce biases. Stray away from the traditional recruitment process by dropping CVs in favour of psychometric and cognitive testing. Focus less on qualifications and more on soft skills and cultural alignment. Be more creative in your sourcing strategy to reach diverse people via niche channels. Create incentives or add quotas to ensure you bring in the diverse talent you desire.
Such a shake-up could be just what your business needs to level up in diversity and inclusion.
5. Equal opportunity
To reap the benefits of diversity and inclusion, businesses should aim for diversity across all seniority levels in their business. Organisations with a diverse senior leadership team are more likely to foster an inclusive workplace. They bring a larger pool of experience to solve complex problems. They inspire, motivate, and engage talent who share elements of their identity.
But, how do you ensure the right people make it to the top? You need to create equal opportunity through your progression pathways. Just like your hiring process, make them clear, make them accessible and make them equitable for all employees. If an employee sees a clear path for their own career advancement, irrespective of their individual differences, they are far more likely to stay with a business and ascend the corporate ladder. When this happens, you are more likely to have an organisation brimming with diversity at each level.
Diversity and inclusion should be a high priority goal for all organisations. It benefits you, your employees, and the broader community. In this blog we’ve shared five ways you can level up your business to reap these rewards moving forward. At Ignite, we’re very proud to have a diverse team and inclusive work culture. If this resonates with you, we are looking for exceptional talent to join our journey as we strive to continue levelling up our own diversity and inclusion strategy.