Diversity and inclusion programs aren’t rare these days — 65 percent of companies with revenues of at least $500 million had diversity-based recruitment programs in place as of five years ago, according to a Forbes Insight study.
Simply having a diversity program, however, won’t ensure your organization truly alters hiring patterns or addresses relevant issues
Diversity and inclusion programs can be unsuccessful for several reasons. A recent Harvard Business Review research identified a number of potential roadblocks; training, for example, if handled poorly, can actually negatively impact companies’ efforts.
To be effective, diversity programs need to be well-planned, consistently maintained — and contain a number of key elements. In many instances, the responsibility for managing diversity in the workplace falls under HR’s duties. If your department has been tasked with improving your diversity and inclusion program results, consider the following solutions:
1. Forgo mandates
Companies obtain stronger outcomes when they instead include managers in efforts to solve diversity challenges — in, for example, specified mentoring programs and other engagement-based initiatives, according to the Harvard Business Review’s research, which involved three decades of data from more than 800 U.S. firms.
Other research backs up the publication’s findings. Mentoring diversity programs can be one of the most valuable ways to increase the amount of white and black female, and Latino and Asian female and male managers at an organization, according to Scientific American.
2. Address all diversity concerns
Make sure underrepresented groups are included in diversity and inclusion efforts. Ethnicity, gender, race and age typically receive the most attention, according to the Society for Human Resource Management; parental status and gender identity are two areas that are often focused on least. As of 2013, for example, more than a third of companies didn’t have a policy addressing sexual orientation-related work discrimination.
3. Keep track of your results
With 66 percent of organizations reporting they have no way to gauge their diversity program’s outcome, according to SHRM, it’s not surprising some programs fail to reach pre-determined goals. Carefully cull your hiring numbers, diversity-related retention and other stats to note where program changes need to be made.
If you need to create buy-in from leadership, the list of benefits diversity and inclusion programs can provide is anything but short.
Diversity initiatives can enhance your employment brand. A study published in the American Sociological Review found evidence they can grow sales revenue. Research has even indicated diversity and inclusion programs can increase innovation, according to Forbes.
Examples of employee diversity networks that are inspiring change can provide additional best practice advice for managing diversity in the workplace. Once your efforts begin showing progress, you may also want to consider sharing your diversity program successes.
For a more in-depth look at current workplace diversity trends, read our diversity and inclusion white paper, available as a free download from Talent Intelligence’s thought leadership center