According to a study by the New York Times: “There are less women as chief executives of Fortune 500 companies than there are men named ‘James’ as CEOs.”
In 2018, we are still struggling with diversity and inclusion–especially in the tech world. However, this isn’t all bad news. With the numbers available to show us where we are, and a passion to propel us forwards, we can strive to make our companies more diverse and inclusive every day.
Practically speaking, how do we do it? With so many different cultures, personality types, religions, genders, ages–how do we ensure that everyone is given a fair, equal, and considerate shot at success and treated with value and respect? Here’s some tips:
1. Make it Ongoing
build a focus throughout the entire employee lifecycle, from hire to retire. Rather than a one-time thing, simply adopt it into the way you do things. In the same way, inclusion isn’t a one-time deal. It’s a continual presence in an organization. It’s a choice, a direction, a caring attitude and open perspective. And just like any other habit, it takes practice.
As CIO shares:
“It isn’t enough to teach employees what it means to be inclusive. Like any form of behavior change, inclusion requires individuals to identify key moments in which to build new habits or “micro behaviors” (daily actions that can be practiced and measured). And when these habits are put into action in an environment that supports honest conversations and healthy tension, real change becomes possible.”
Diversity and inclusion exists in the little things, the small day-to-day activities and mindsets that make up a workplace and create company culture.
2. Utilize Positive over Negative Emotion
Remember, your job as leaders in an organization is to inspire, to paint a vision or passion with such vibrant colours that employees can’t help but get excited and join in. Fear only goes so far. Positive motivation is the way to progress. As the article on 8 Best Practices for Changing Your Culture expresses:
“While fear can be a powerful motivator, it also encourages people to narrow their perspective — the opposite desired effect for creating a more inclusive workplace. Finding ways to frame challenges through a lens of possibility — and elevating the power of shared experiences and storytelling to do so — creates greater potential for positive change.”
You want your employees on your team, not against you. So open their perspectives, and ‘wow’ them with possibility. And they will move forward with you.
3. Measure it
It’s crucial to gauge what efforts you’re taking, and then further understand if these efforts are successful. This is where measurable data comes in. The article How To Really Have A Diverse And Inclusive Culture has some great insights:
“Keep the topic and the data front and center. Data speaks for itself and allows leaders to account for results – whether it’s representation, actions (e.g., hires, promotions, termination, compensation actions), or sentiment. The qualitative sentiment allows for deeper awareness and empathy that might, in turn, help people be heard and feel more respected. Help people not to be afraid to have uncomfortable, but respectful conversations”
An excellent way to measure progress is by listening to employee voice. Using a third person survey platform to ensure full anonymity and privacy of employees, enables you to hear how your employees are feeling, what they think about diversity and inclusion, and what they believe could be done better. Armed with this knowledge and data, you are much more capable of moving forward.
Diversity and inclusion are tricky topics because they’re more than just metrics, yet they still require data measurement. They’re required at high level, especially in regards to hiring practices, but also in small, everyday transactions, such as employee relationships and company culture. This is also what makes them so important.
Inclusiveness creates a strong feeling of belonging, which leads to ownership and loyalty. Diversity offers more opportunity for ingenuity, furthered resources, and diverse ideas. When Diversity and inclusion are both thriving, that’s when a company is able to make bounds and leaps.
As Forbes says:
“By creating an inclusive workplace you ensure that everyone is given the best opportunity to succeed. And in so doing, you will create a highly diverse company in which employees are happier, more productive and more loyal.”