We need to stop celebrating diversity in the workplace. Yes, you read that right – we need to stop celebrating diversity. Here is why – diversity in the workplace is powerful, influential, engaging…but only if it is being tapped and utilized. If we do not use the skills and perspectives and experiences our diverse teams offer to create better products and services, then our diversity becomes a vanity statistic; a data point that makes us feel better and has no real impact.
So, how can we tap into diversity?
Start at the beginning. You are looking to increase the diversity of your workforce – and that can mean diversity of ethnicity, race, background, education, ability, but also diversity of thought, experience, and education. Now would be the time to dive deep into your application and recruitment processes to find out if, how, and why your diverse candidates are excluded from consideration. Is unconscious bias a factor? Is your process accessible to all? Are you providing alternative formats to complete the application process? These are just some of the questions you want to answer to create a more inclusive recruitment process. Need more help connecting with skilled, diverse talent? Let’s talk!
Policies for everyone
When creating policies within our organizations, are you taking into consideration the needs of your diverse workforce? For example, team members with families will have different needs than those who are part of single households. Making sure that everyone is accounted for and considered is another step in ensuring your diverse team is valued and included. Not sure how to account for your diverse team? Ask them! When asked, people will often tell you what they need. Asking for feedback, elevating their voice, and making sure that they’re being heard are all steps to ensure the inclusion of our diverse team.
Inclusive Decision Making
Take a hard look into who is the room where decisions are made. Are they all similar individuals – similar backgrounds, similar experience, similar perspectives? Bringing diverse people to the table helps you make decisions that can impact and benefit your larger community, and not just a small fraction of it. It allows you to learn more about the needs of all your customers and gain a better understanding of your community as it really is – diverse and varied and changing.
So, yes, I do think it’s time for us to stop celebrating how diverse our workplaces are. But only because I want us to start celebrating how we tap into our diversity to better our organizations and our communities – I want us to start celebrating our inclusiveness.