Cultivating a workplace that embraces equity, diversity, and inclusion (ED&I) is critical to garnering positive organizational outcomes. According to McKinsey, organizations with a diverse and inclusive culture are 35% more likely to outperform their competitors. Plus, Mclean & Company’s 2022 HR Trends Report states that implementing ED&I solutions is now a crucial role for HR leaders (62%). Recruiting, retaining, and supporting talented and diverse staff who bring unique perspectives to the business is essential to achieving lasting positive change.
In this article, we’re taking a closer look at the 3 steps leaders must take to foster equity, diversity, and inclusion to drive systemic change in not only their organization but within their community as well.
1. Consciously Address Unconscious Bias
Unconscious biases are defined by UCSF’s Office of Diversity and Outreach as, “social stereotypes about certain groups of people that individuals form outside their own conscious awareness.” Essentially, favoring male candidates over female candidates with similar skills and job experiences is an example of unconscious bias. To support a company culture of equity, diversity, and inclusion, it’s crucial to identify these biases (conscious or unconscious) and develop strategies to manage and overcome them.
Moving forward with the gender bias example above, a strategy to overcome this bias and ensure it no longer plays a part in the hiring process is to define the ideal candidate profile ahead of time. Then, evaluate all candidates against those core standards without looking at their gender. Additionally, it’s important to create goals for eradicating biases in your team and organization. For instance, a potential goal for removing the gender bias could be to:
- Develop a more gender-balanced team
- Support and enable women and minorities to take on leadership roles
Training and leadership development solutions are key to collectively working towards overcoming these biases. Through leadership development programs with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion, teams and organizations are better equipped with the skills, knowledge, and mindset to remove biases from the workplace and:
- Facilitate open discussions on diversity
- Raise critical issues to the surface
- Engage in meaningful conversations to promote positive and lasting change
2. Embed the Celebration of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion in the Workplace
It’s one thing to say your organization is inclusive and another thing to live it. Diversity is not just about having people in the organization from different groups. It’s more than that. It’s about listening and engaging in different perspectives as well as reaping the rewards of those efforts. One easy way to begin this process is to focus on celebrating all cultural holidays to acknowledge and embrace diversity in the workplace. Plus, engaging in holiday celebrations from various cultures encourages the teaching and appreciation of diverse traditions and backgrounds — leading to an inclusive culture and mindset throughout the organization.
The question is how will you know which holidays to celebrate? You surely don’t want to miss out on any and make an employee feel unwelcome or unnoticed. We recommend asking all of your current employees and any potential candidates which holidays they would each like to see recognized. Best practice is to consult with a legal advisor or HR representative to understand and determine which questions are appropriate to ask since this conversation can be delicate and personal.
3. Develop Clear Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Policies and Stand by Them
Make sure employees understand their right of freedom from discrimination and your organization’s commitment to ED&I. Set clear guidelines about what is acceptable behavior and what is not in order to establish expectations and highlight where employees can seek areas of support.
A diversity statement, a document explaining your organization’s experiences and commitments to diversity in and out of the workplace, is a good place to start. Diversity statements are often showcased throughout the office, on the company website, inside of employee handbooks or codes of conduct. When trying to shift your employees’ collective mindset to one that adheres to equity, diversity, and inclusion, it’s critical that you stand by your diversity statement by taking action and staying committed to implementing ED&I solutions.
According to Mclean & Company, organizations that are not committed to creating a workplace environment that supports diversity, equity, and inclusion experience a voluntary turnover rate that is 1.6x higher than organizations that support ED&I initiatives. One possible explanation for this increased turnover is the likelihood that employees experiencing ED&I challenges will leave their positions in search of better opportunities. In fact, when evaluating potential employers, 67% of job seekers report workplace diversity is a top priority.
The key takeaway here is that creating sustainable change requires more than just taking reactionary actions and then letting the momentum decrease over time. Equity, diversity, and inclusion is a continuous journey that requires:
- Strategic ongoing action to achieve a culture of ED&I
- Consistent monitoring and addressing of systemic issues and challenges
- Moving beyond diversity and truly implementing solutions for equity, diversity, and inclusion
Developing equity, diversity, and inclusion strategies and solutions in your organization is no longer a nicety — it’s imperative to the success of your organization and the overall wellness and engagement of your employees. TLD Group’s ED&I solutions empower leaders with the platform and influence to ignite the dialogue that leads to meaningful and sustainable change.
Ready to take transformative action? Get in touch with us today.