How do you create a culture of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging?
Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) are important issues for any organisation. While the outcomes are sufficient in themselves, they are also correlated with improved organisational performance.
“Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market”. Josh Bersin.
Creating a sense of belonging, where all employees feel truly accepted and included within a given group, not only provides a positive experience for employees but ultimately improves business performance and culture.
Do your employees feel fully accepted as themselves within the workplace?
During the AHRI Convention TRANSFORM in November 2021, Chris Lamb FCPHR, Deputy Commissioner, NSW Public Service Commission and Fiona Michel, FCPHR, Non-Executive Director, AHRI; Chief people Officer, Vector explored practical, proactive steps that leaders can and should take to foster a culture of inclusion within teams and workplaces.
Leaders who believe diversity, equity, and inclusion are important will demonstrate this in their interactions with their teams, driving change in culture. Through collaborative ways of working, and the collective actions and words that an entire organisation use, this too will have a positive impact on the journey towards true equity and inclusion.
More so now than ever, people are looking for a workplace where they feel valued, can contribute without fear of discrimination, have a sense of belonging, and have equal rights and access to opportunities.
So, how do you find real progress in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives?
As with any change, it’s imperative that organisations define a strategy that drives the change they want; has the resources to implement a plan that is aligned with the organisations’ priorities; and crucially there is a very senior sponsor of the program of work.
Here are some suggestions to move closer to a workplace that values diversity, equity and inclusion:
You can’t manage what you don’t measure
If you don’t know what your current state is, then you have no true baseline to measure any progress. Starting from scratch can be daunting but it will also help you to understand where you need to focus your efforts.
Practice what you preach
Have you implemented steps to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion across your organisation? Many companies implement policies but forget to communicate them clearly with their employees. If your employees don’t know why or what you are seeking to achieve, then they can’t help you.
Establish a sense of belonging for everyone
Belonging is a key component of inclusion. For employees to feel a sense of belonging, they must believe that the organisation cares about them. Give some thought to how you can implement psychological safety into the routine ways the organisation operates.
Leaders need to believe the value of diversity, equity and inclusion and take responsibility to own it, if they want to drive change in culture. Do you have a focus on empathetic leadership as part of your leadership programs? If not, how might you develop this capability in your leadership teams?
A top-down approach isn’t enough
Everyone is a custodian of the company culture and must understand the importance and the impact it can have across an organisation. Can you find ways to encourage everyone to participate, is it important enough to reward and recognise those people that do?
Inclusion is on-going and not one-off training
Inclusion training should never be a one-off. If you are serious about the importance of your workforce being diverse, equitable and inclusive, all activities need to be ongoing and regular updates provided to all staff.
Have you prioritised diversity, equity, and inclusion in your organisational strategy?
If you want your competitive advantage to be an inclusive, diverse workplace culture, get in touch with me today.
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