Simply implementing a program may not be enough to foster genuine diversity and inclusion within your organization. Here are targeted strategies to make your program a success.  

nesa-by-makers-IgUR1iX0mqM-unsplashDiversity in the workplace has long since been of paramount importance. Yet we have never before been so keenly aware of the need to create an inclusive culture. With the help of social media, movements such as Me Too and Black Lives Matter have raised awareness of the lack of equality across racial and gender divides at an unprecedented level.

Given this newfound digital consciousness where diversity is concerned, it’s hardly surprising that 54 percent of employees do not feel their companies did enough to improve diversity in 2020.

As a result, businesses are now paying far greater attention to the concerns of their workers when it comes to equality, inclusion and diversity.

The benefits of diversity programs are clear. They’re a means for companies to reach top talent in previously untapped demographics. Diversity programs are also the perfect way to encourage innovation while making the organization a more appealing prospect to candidates. 

Glassdoor recently conducted a survey indicating that diversity is a major factor in the decision-making process for candidates. Many view a diverse working environment as a sign of a positive, modern, socially responsible company culture. 

And yet, simply implementing a diversity program is not enough to create genuine diversity within your organization. Here are seven top elements you should include in order to make your diversity program a success:

1) A Thorough Assessment of Needs

You may find it difficult to determine what needs to change, in terms of diversity, without first conducting a thorough analysis of your current state. For example, enhancing gender diversity is often overlooked because women are already present in the workforce. 

It is only when their respective roles, responsibilities and salaries are considered that it becomes clear the presence of female staff alone is not enough to ensure a gender-diverse culture. And that is before we even consider non-binary views of gender.

You may want to conduct internal focus groups, research projects or engagement surveys when getting started. This serves as a way to incorporate employee feedback and demonstrate your commitment to inclusivity. A thorough assessment will enable you to accurately identify elements that need improvement and should be included in a program of diversity. 

2) A Clear Plan for Diversity and Inclusion Training

Your employees, and in particular the managers who will be overseeing your diversity program, are going to need a solid framework to follow. Ensuring you have a clear training program also instills in all levels of employees the serious emphasis you are placing on inclusion and diversity.

To ensure the success of your training efforts, it’s advisable to focus on clear metrics, as well as sharing the individual benefits for everyone involved.

You should be offering diversity education to all levels of staff, not just your managers. This will serve to further reinforce the importance you’re placing on diversity. Your staff will also find it an empowering experience to identify and respond to discriminatory behavior.


3) Career-Focused Leadership

When it comes to employee retention, few initiatives are as powerful as fostering internal growth, and supporting additional efforts to achieve diversity in your workforce. 

Research has shown that mentoring programs can greatly improve diversity in the workplace and managerial roles. This is especially true if they focus on actively matching mentors and mentees across lines of diversity such as age, race and gender.

If you don’t already have an existing mentorship program in your business it’s the perfect time to start one.

4) Targeted Recruitment

The same study into diversity (cited above) also highlighted the benefit of targeted recruiting programs as an effective tool for improvement. For example, the launch of a recruitment program at the college level this year can greatly increase the number of ethnic minorities and women in managerial roles five years from now.

Consider what will make your company more appealing to a more diverse range of employees. Then you can actively seek out talent in cultural groups that are currently underrepresented in your company.

5) Defined Goals and Targets

Many companies experience issues with their diversity programs due to the general stance they take. They have a lot of vague notions, but little in the way of specific goals. While wanting to increase diversity is undoubtedly a laudable aspiration, it’s unclear how successful you’ve been without a means of defining what success looks like.

Likewise, without clear targets and goals to hit where diversity is concerned, you may find a general lack of motivation and urgency undermining your efforts.

Having the means to track your success is crucial. Creating clear goals and a system to monitor progress is an effective way to hold managers and leaders accountable for decisions. This will also encourage the decision-makers to prioritize diversity. 

External accountability is equally important, and companies such as PinterestSlack and Accenture have led the way by making their diversity scorecards public.


6) Diversity Managers

If you’re serious about being proactive about your program, appointing a diversity manager is a great step to take. This ensures there is an individual responsible for the monitoring and enforcement of your company policies where tolerance, inclusion and diversity are concerned. This move will also redirect responsibility away from your Employee Resource Groups, who often must take on diversity projects in addition to their day to day jobs. 

Go beyond simple talks of inclusion and start embracing a responsibility that drives resources and attention to creating a truly inviting and inclusive space.

7) Reviews and Reassessments

Goals will only help you achieve your diverse aspirations when you measure and assess them on a regular basis. This ensures your current measures are adequate. It also allows you to consider future needs and shift direction, where necessary, to accommodate any changes. Assessments also allow you to adapt to new areas that have come to light. 

Having set periods for your reviews will help to properly examine and adjust existing policies. Annual or quarterly assessments will keep your diversity program aligned with the current needs of your business, workers and the wider world. 

The Next Step

If you’re really ready to set aside your affinity bias and create an environment that welcomes a broader spectrum of society by creating diversity and inclusion programs, what’s the next step? Devising a strategy that will effectively focus your efforts is key.

Get in touch today to speak to one of our experts about proven strategies that will help you create greater diversity within your organization.