Never has the “how-to” improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace been such a hot topic. Here at Valo, with employees across the globe, it’s a subject close to our hearts. Not only does diversity give businesses access to a wider talent base, a diverse workforce is also more effective, efficient and profitable.
According to a McKinsey & Company report, Diversity Wins: How Inclusion Matters, published earlier this year, companies with greater gender diversity were 25 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability compared to their counterparts.
When it came to companies with greater ethnic and cultural diversity the results were even more amazing. These companies saw a 36 percent increase in their likelihood of experiencing above-average profitability compared to their counterparts.
Companies with greater gender, ethnic and cultural diversity were 36% more likely to experience above-average profitability compared to their counterparts.
At the Valo Fest 2020 online event in June, we invited Corinne Sharp, President at Sharp Perspective, and Co-Founder and Executive Director at The WIT Network, to discuss diversity and inclusion in relation to business, growing revenue and being competitive in a global market.
She shared with us her top 10 best practices on how to build, support and improve diversity and inclusion in the workplace, which we’ve outlined below:
1. Change your hiring practices with diversity in mind
Encourage diverse employees that you have today to recruit their friends and acquaintances and go out and meet cultural organizations for potential applicants. Let them know that you’re intentionally wanting to hire a more diverse workforce. They’ll actually applaud you for reaching out and they’ll help you find the diverse candidates that you’re looking for.
2. Create an employee resource group that focuses on inclusion, culture and diversity
Large companies may have multiple Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) such as LGBTQ, the African community, black community, women, indigenous, people with abilities, lots of different ERGs are possible, veteran groups as well is an important one.
And you may be saying “well, I’m not a large enough company to have individual groups”. In this case, you can have one group that truly focuses on how people can work together, collaborate, and support an inclusive culture. Plus, it’s also important to acknowledge holidays, religious or otherwise, that your employee base observes, and seek to understand and embrace these instead of avoiding them.
3. Establish diversity policies
Company policies can include a wide range of diversity themes. They can be simple, they can be complex, but they absolutely need to include gender, sexual harassment, mobility, disabilities, race, religion, and sexual orientation. And while the goal is acceptance, it’s really, really important that these policies are in place to better equip your managers and your employees.
Once you have those policies, it’s really important that they’re communicated. Because just ’cause they are written down, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be clearly understood or even be followed. And that’s where training comes in.
Training is a great way to communicate these company policies. I’ve seen companies do this with really great examples about these behaviors, or even doing role-playing with their employees.
It really helps explain employee concerns, in relation to diversity and inclusion. It’s an open avenue for communication up to the management layers as well as HR, and it helps to communicate to employees what they should do if they feel they’re in an unsafe environment.
Education can also mean training on unconscious bias or prejudices, which has become really popular in organizations today. And some people don’t even realize they have these biases until they get into one of these training opportunities. And what’s interesting about bias, as well, is we tend to share and spread those biases and/or prejudices with our children, or employees or others around us.
7. Hold people accountable
Bad reviews and poor past employee references can really hurt your future hiring ability. In online social circles, the chatter is loud out there for bad companies with bad behavior.
So don’t let that be your organization and hold people accountable and take action where there’s a negative impact regarding diversity and inclusion.
8. Mentoring and buddy systems
These are still really important, particularly as you’re looking to build or grow more diversity within your organization. And it also means an opportunity for more inclusion in your organization. So there are many small companies that may have, we’ll say diverse employee number one. And whether that’s a woman, whether that’s somebody with unique abilities, it’s really important that you understand how they’ll be welcomed, accepted, and the opportunities that they have in the company.
9. Be intentional
In today’s climate, it’s okay to state: “I’m going to hire this person for the role because we want to be more diverse”.
If someone is willing to stand up and stand forward and let you know that they are part of a diverse population, you need to support them. And so that could mean your next role as a management or leadership position on your team. Are you really thinking about diversity with the intention that that person should be a woman, it should be a person of color, it should be somebody with a disability, it should be somebody that is from the LGBTQ2 community?
10. Evaluate your diversity progress
Evaluations are commonly used in business. They measure job satisfaction, they measure their happiness and their work environment. But are you keeping diversity questions in mind when you’re creating these surveys or questions? Are you looking at inclusion as a way to measure the culture and belonging within your organization?
Thank you, Corinne!
Corinne is really on top of this topic! If you want to see the whole of Corinne’s inspirational presentation on “How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace” on video, or any of our amazing Valo Fest 2020 talks, just register here to get free access to our brilliant playlists.
Whether it’s gender identity, parental leave, race equality, the generation gap or disability rights, we’re proud to say that #ValoTeam fully embraces diversity. In fact, we embrace diversity so much, our CMO Tiina Manninen recently wrote a blog about it, aptly named 7 Ways Valo Embraces Diversity.