Promoting diversity isn’t just good for workplace morale, it’s good for business in general. According to a McKinsey & Company report, companies with gender diversity in their executive-level staff were 21% more likely to outperform competitors. Additionally, they noted that companies with “ethnically diverse” executive teams were 33% more likely to be more profitable.
But before you can hire a diverse workforce and promote them to executive levels, your company must first foster a culture of inclusion that respects all groups of people. Having diversity and inclusion as part of your company’s core values is a great way to make sure your employees treat one another with respect and fairness—you’re also more likely to attract socially conscious workers this way.
Having a diversity and inclusion officer on your team (or consulting with one) is also a good way to identify any potential problem areas and get help when an issue comes up. This expert can help you eliminate sources of bias when building your inclusive workplace, through conscious and consistent efforts. From looking at recruitment practices, performance management and how your staff works together on a daily basis, they can help you note any signs of uninclusive behavior in your workforce and offer ways to eliminate it going forward.
Additionally, every company should have a written diversity and inclusion policy, which all employees pledge their commitment to.
Depending on where your company is at now, developing a culture of diversity and inclusion may take some time to develop. You can monitor how far your workforce has come periodically with a diversity and inclusion audit. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), this is done through a four-step process, which includes:
· Setting a goal: Before anything is done, having a goal and purpose is key. For instance, what is it that you wish to find out, and how often should future audits be conducted?
· Picking a team: Your audit team should be diverse. Make sure employees of all different levels and backgrounds are chosen for the task.
· Developing and distributing a questionnaire: This form should cover key topics like how does management prioritize inclusion, whether or not your company promotes diversity, and how matters of bias are addressed. Anonymity is crucial here, as you want to get the most accurate results possible.
· Next steps: Audit teams must put the results into action—and be on the same page when doing so. Additionally, any process changes should not be done in a way which singles out anyone for their response. Trust here, and in every stage of the audit, is priority number one.
Internally, you should also listen to what employees are saying about how they perceive the organization. Conduct frequent diversity and inclusion training of management and employees, and, if possible, consult with new hires and remote workers to see if they are experiencing inclusion and acceptance from peers. Be careful not to put anyone on the spot, as these issues are extremely sensitive. Make them feel comfortable enough to discuss, and if they don’t wish to, don’t push it.
Hiring from a diverse pool of candidates will not solve your inclusion problem alone. Workplaces must make efforts to ensure everyone feels valued, address negative treatment as it happens, and help employees find a common ground from which to thrive.
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