Updated: Jul 31, 2019
Organizations have joined the fast growing line of inclusion by increasing the number of under-represented candidates and achieving diversity hiring goals. However, that doesn't translate into being more inclusive. Instead, high turnover rates, hostile work environments, and legal issues follow. Other organizations have had executives communicate the need for more inclusion and diversity efforts at the lower management level and suddenly the quest to hire more people that are drastically different from you equals inclusion. Many simply provide training and awareness on inclusion and diversity but everything remains the same.
Inclusion and Diversity initiatives aren't new and have been talked about for several years now. The social pressure, political climate, and misunderstandings has led many organizations to develop and implement Inclusion and Diversity initiatives to satisfy demand and others to genuinely be more inclusive. Fast-forward to 2019, Inclusion isn't working and making a difference. Despite many attempts by organizations to be more Inclusive, the real question to ask is, why are they still having problems? The answer is simple, everyone is different! This is a critical point many executive teams fail to comprehend. The complexity of factors that make up each unique individual is significant. Factors include identity, maturity, national origin, language, tragic events, education, family unit, religion, age, hobbies, interest, lifestyle,
income, living environment, 1st, 2nd, or 3rd generation, the list goes on. All these will have a significant impact on the outcome of each individuals state of mind and maturity.
Despite all good faith efforts to be inclusive and diverse, some individuals will not be ready and may take time for them to be ready. Only the individual will know when they are ready to embrace change and respect differences. Although Inclusion has been practiced poorly by many, we've got you covered in shifting the workplace culture.
STEP.1 Establish in the organization early on that everyone is family. Meaning we don't have to like, accept, agree with your external beliefs, practices, and lifestyles but we will defend it and respect it because we are family in this organization and we take care of our people.
STEP.2 Establish a sense of belonging for every employee. Providing a friend, nourishing the mind, and giving them a calling. These 3 simple things strengthens conversion and retention.
STEP.3 Provide empathetic leadership at all levels of the organization. After all, life happens and we are all human beings. Despite our differences, you'll be surprised how many things people have in common. This is the key to employee engagement, productivity, and satisfaction.
STEP.4 Make inclusion an ongoing process within the organization. Like an organic diamond, at first it seems unattractive, but after going through heat, pressure, and shaping, its transformed into the coveted diamonds we know today. Consider your organizational brand and what you want it to become.
STEP.5 Increase joy and connection within the organization. People spend most of the day at work away from loved ones, others may not have loved ones or people waiting at home.
STEP.6 Focus on helping employees thrive within the organization and outside the organization. Transform the workplace into an inclusive environment where people are valued for their talents and empowered to reach their true potential. Often, when hiring managers are trying to be inclusive, they focus on finding the right fit or the right skin tone. Nobody is really the right fit, and if you say they are, your lying. That's because every individual is unique and regardless of which shade they are on the color spectrum, they aren't the perfect fit either. Instead of fit or color, adopt a coaching and mentoring approach within the organization. This approach will help cultivate and foster innovation that can help mitigate bias, shift bad organizational habits, and transform the workplace.
After all, the ultimate goal is for your organization to be competitive and successful. The modern workplace is a multi-generational workforce and organizations need to change if they want to succeed in this new exciting economy. Change is ultimately inevitable but growth is always optional. Fostering an inclusive culture will boost employee satisfaction and the business bottom line. Now you can with these 6 simple step to approach inclusion and really make a difference.