Establishing diversity initiatives is easier said than done, and one of the hardest parts is getting started. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, behind, or simply don’t feel like you have the time to develop a robust diversity and inclusion plan, there are several simple steps you can take to get moving.
But, remember, this is only the beginning. Employing effective diversity initiatives takes time, dedication and buy-in from everyone involved – most importantly, leadership.
Spell it out.
- Even if you don’t have the specific approach or resources planned out, put your commitment to establishing a diverse and inclusive culture in writing.
- Whether it’s featured on your website, incorporated into your mission statement or company values, or represented in your office space, taking this first small step toward a more inclusive company culture is something both current and future employees will appreciate.
- Putting it in writing forces you to sit down and think about the importance of diversity and inclusion and the steps you want to take to ensure employees feel comfortable being themselves at work.
Take small steps.
- Seemingly small changes – such as converting job descriptions into gender neutral language, conducting blind screenings when reviewing résumés, and celebrating holidays and events for underrepresented groups – can make a big difference.
- If you have a communication tool your company uses, creating a channel dedicated to D&I is a great way to start the conversation in a pressure-free way and encourages employees to share relevant articles and news stories.
- Allowing for flexible work hours shows your employees you trust them, while also giving them the freedom to deal with medical needs, personal situations, religious obligations, or anything else that may arise.
- Review reasonable accommodation for employees with disabilities to assure they are getting the necessary assistance they need.
Lead by example.
- Invest in structured interviewing, hiring, and training processes to minimize unconscious biases, and stick to them. You may be surprised at the results.
- Schedule a guest speaker to come to your organization and speak about diversity and inclusion topics.
- Lead unconscious bias training or diversity training and gather feedback on how to improve these sessions, what employees feel is missing from your D&I initiatives, and more.
- Finally, assess and adjust your program periodically. If it’s broken, fix it. Track key metrics, such as employee surveys, to measure the value of the initiatives you introduce.
If Diversity and Inclusion initiatives have not been a top priority, consider implementing a few of these steps that make sense for your organization. Starting small is better than not starting at all.
See the step-by-step guide to developing a diversity and inclusion initiative in your organization or visit SHRM’s Diversity & Inclusion page for more resources.
Don’t forget to join us and our partners at the Indiana Business Leadership Network for the first-ever Midwest Diversity & Disability Inclusion & Awareness Conference Aug. 22-23.