How to Create a Culture of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
We strive for a world where diversity is celebrated and inclusion becomes second nature. We celebrated Black History Month in February, Women’s History Month in March, and are gearing up for Celebrate Diversity Month in April. We recognize all of the Diversity Heritage Months in celebration of all races, genders, ages, and abilities across our teams—but what are we doing to make a real impact?
In the business world, many of us know all the buzzwords and speak the language of “diversity and inclusion”—but how do we move beyond words and start to take action?
Equal Employment Opportunity laws and Anti-Discrimination laws have been created, and policies have been put into place to help provide a more inclusive environment for all employees. Many large corporations have Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs, which include initiatives such as resource groups and training courses, focused on bringing people together to promote learning from one another. However, we often find that smaller businesses struggle to understand how to effectively address diversity concerns and how to create an environment that promotes inclusion and a sense of belonging, due to limited resources and smaller staff sizes.
Berger HR Solutions has provided some simple tips for small to mid-sized businesses that can help to embed a culture of diversity and inclusion within your business.
First, evaluate your business processes and the employee experience through the lens of diversity:
- What are your recruitment strategies? Are you reaching a diverse pool of candidates? Does your interview panel include diverse perspectives? If you have an employee referral program, is it possible that you might be hindering diversity by only hiring more employees who look and sound like your current employees?
- What is your compensation strategy? Are you approaching compensation from the right angle and paying fairly across all employees or are you relying on salary history that may reflect systemic bias?
- Do your job descriptions, training programs and performance management process use inclusive language and take into consideration language barriers, disabilities, and preferences?
- Who are you inviting to attend important business meetings? Do the people making business decisions for your company reflect your desire to promote diversity, equity and inclusion?
- Which vendors and partners are you choosing to work with and how do their businesses prioritize diversity?
Secondly, review your benefits to ensure you are offering what your employees need and want:
- Do your benefits cater more to one sect of your workforce (such as single employees, married employees, employees with domestic partners, parents, younger employees, older employees, etc.) over others? You may consider surveying employees to make sure you are offering benefits that meet their individual needs.
- Review your holiday pay. Which holidays does your business celebrate? Consider adding holidays such as Juneteenth or Yom Kippur to your Holiday Leave Policy.
Lastly, think outside the box:
- You may not have enough employees to initiate a variety of resource groups, but there are other things you can do to embrace diversity, such as encourage and support a company-sponsored culture committee. Members could work together to help the business find ways to support multiple diversity initiatives, such as the celebration of Black History Month, Women’s History Month, or LGBT History Month.
- Ask your employees what they need. Engaging with your employees and finding out what is important to them will help you as you lead the charge towards creating a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion.
When it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion, it is important to remember that something is better than nothing at all. As Naeem Callaway once said, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.” Take a look at your current practices and make one small step at a time towards a workplace that is inclusive.
We are expert HR advisors who provide customized employee solutions that elevate your business. If you have questions about diversity, equity, and inclusion, please contact us at info@bergerhrsolutions or (410) 695-9888. Berger HR Solutions is here to help.