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Promoting Diversity and Inclusion from Within Your Organization

Cedric Chambers
May 16, 2019

Having a diverse workforce and promoting inclusion on your team are two vastly different activities. It's one thing to recruit a diverse workforce, but then to make it work in the act of creating a more inclusive culture requires a different type of effort. In most cases, you need to revise your recruitment, retention, and communication infrastructures within the organization. Here are 10 tips that will take you a long way to help you promote diversity and inclusion on your team.

1. Encourage Implicit Bias Training

Whether you work in an inclusive environment already or you’re seeking to promote inclusion on your team, you need to be aware of your own biases. Harvard offers free implicit bias testing online. Although most of us would never admit it, no matter our gender, race, or ethnic background, we all hold some form of bias. Are we all racist? Probably not. But when we’re working on a team, having a clear understanding of our own conscious and subconscious biases allows us to be more self-aware and encourages better communication.

2. Have an Open Mind

Diversity comes in a variety of shapes, hues, ages, sexual orientation, gender, and work preferences. It’s not a one size fits all concept. Everyone needs to open his or her mind to diversity because no one is the same or has identical preferences. Meeting someone who views the world differently than you—no matter how accepting you think you are—can be uncomfortable. 

3. Set Goals Within a Team Environment

Promoting diversity on your team is not a leadership goal. It’s a team goal. Everyone in an organization needs to be on-board with the concept of diversity on the team. It can be as simple as accepting the millennial who works from 11 am to 8 pm or kindly acknowledging the religious observances of a colleague that differ from your own. 

4. Create an Objective Resumé Screening Processes

When you create a new position or you attempt to fill an existing vacant position, work with HR to create an objective resume screening process to ensure that everyone who passes the resume screen moves to the next screening round. Taking this extra step to create a resume screening process will allow you to weed out unqualified candidates objectively and without bias.

5. Create Consistent Interview Questions and an Evaluation Rubric.

In the same way that generating a resumé screening process ensures resumé evaluation, a job-specific list of interview questions for all potential candidates and a rubric for evaluation allows for more objective comparison and evaluation among candidates.

6. Require Group and Multi-Person Interviews at Various Levels

When you have multiple people evaluating one candidate, you minimize the possibility of any one person’s bias affecting each candidate’s evaluation. If your organization’s goal is to promote diversity on your team, then by having a more objective candidate sourcing and evaluation process, your organization stands a greater chance of hiring more diverse candidates.

7. Promote Dissent and Create a Safe Place for Dialogue

Even without a diverse workplace, your staff is bound to disagree. When you combine employees from a variety of ages, life experiences, and working preferences dissent and disagreement are bound to occur. To promote diversity on your team, not only do you need to allow the disagreements, but you also need to create a safe place for dialogue. Since disagreements are inherent, your team needs an established process to encourage and facilitate dialogues between dissenting parties.

8. Acknowledge (and Accept) Differences

It may sound simple, but for a team that wants to stay together and be successful, it’s important to openly acknowledge the differences on the team. Whether some team members work early in the morning while others start their day at 10, or more traditional differences like race, religion, or ethnicity, you can’t just tolerate someone else’s differences. Each team member needs to be able to accept fellow team members for who they are and who they’re not.

9. Treat Everyone Fairly

No matter how stark the differences, try to be fair to all and treat everyone on the team how they want to be treated. Remember, people’s responses to circumstances and events vary greatly based on their background. So, to successfully promote diversity on your team, you need to get to know your colleagues’ and their preferences. Then, use that knowledge to treat them the way they want to be treated.

10. Base Evaluations on Outcomes

Promoting a diverse workforce means that you may have a team with differing work preferences. They may work early in the morning or late into the night. Some employees may fight fiercely for their ideas and preferences thus overshadowing quieter less confrontational team members. At the end of the day, what matters is not who they are but how they work with each other and to achieve assigned outcomes. Remove the possibility of conscious and subconscious implicit bias and create outcome-based evaluations. 

Start Now and Promote Diversity on Your Team!

 

Topics: Diversity, Inclusion, Culture