How to Promote Diversity & Inclusion
Today, organizations often demonstrate a lot of enthusiasm surrounding hiring diversity whether through recruitment efforts, salaries, etc. Yet, once people are part of your organization, that energy is frequently lost. While there may be no malice involved, the diversity and inclusion mentality is checked at the door once orientation is completed, and it leaves minorities and people of color feeling isolated. Didn’t they apply to a company that prioritizes D&I?
If you feel like you’re reading about your company, it’s time to learn about promotion strategy. Having promotion strategies in place can help to maintain the passion and fire for diversity and inclusion all the time. Here’s what you should know.
- Offer implicit bias training for everyone
Implicit bias describes the attitudes and stereotypes we have toward people without our unconscious knowledge. From the day we’re born, we make judgments and form opinions about people due to our socialization and life experiences. However, those implicit biases are not always true and can be hurtful and harmful in the way we act toward others. Implicit bias training helps to raise awareness of these unconscious attitudes in a safe environment while teaching tools to change those behaviors.
- Provide mentors in the workplace
To prevent isolation in underrepresented employees, assign internal and external mentors to help provide support and facilitate growth. If relevant to your organization, you can also encourage participation in appropriate professional groups. This way, minorities and people of color can get and stay connected. They’ll have an additional point of contact if they have questions or concerns in addition to their supervisor and HR.
- Let people learn through experience
Implicit bias training is powerful, but it’s not often as powerful as seeing someone outside of a role that you believed they belonged in. For example, don’t hesitate to put women in positions of leadership and watch how that changes the attitudes of men within your organization. This can help break down those stereotypes and open minds even more than training.
- Value all diversity
In a conversation about diversity and inclusion, all perspectives have value. Each of your employees makes up a part of that picture and adds value to it. Inclusivity means that everyone belongs, has a voice, and contributes to goals. As an organization, you should work to mitigate any imbalances that may occur, but equal value should be placed on every single individual.
- Reflect on your actions
As a leader within your company, reflect on your own actions and ask yourself why you’re making the choices you are. As noted above, everyone is susceptible to implicit biases, and it’s important to hold yourself accountable if you realize that you’re making decisions based on unfair factors.
For example, if you’re hiring, firing, or promoting someone, take a moment and consider the question, “Would I still be [hiring, firing, or promoting someone] if their social identities were different?” The question is uncomfortable on the surface. No one wants to think they would disqualify someone for a promotion due to their race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc., but we make these decisions unconsciously all the time. You may be more inclined to promote a male individual with certain mannerisms that are similar to yours, which uniquely disadvantages their female peers.
Diversity and inclusion are both mindsets within a workplace. It’s not simply a box you can check upon hiring. Go above and beyond with promotion after you bring your employees on board to ensure they experience the benefits of diversity and inclusion. Adding a diversity calendar to your day to day activities can help reinforce and remind employees to acknowledge diversity in the workplace.