Get Diversity right! 3 things HR needs to consider

February 25, 2021 The Cornerstone Editors

Diversity has been a topic that has received lots of attention and curiosity recently, especially in the past year. From how to better recruit people from diverse backgrounds, to ensuring the working environment is open and transparent as possible for employees to thrive, diversity, inclusion, equity and belonging (DEIB) must be embedded in all part of the organisation if it’s to be successful.

Think of DEIB as like organising a party. Diversity is being invited to the party, inclusion is being asked to dance, equity is about making sure everyone’s enjoying the party and belonging is the shaping and organisation of the party. So, in short, there ain’t no party like a diversity party!

And of course, like all great parties, people don’t want them to end. Diversity is an evolving concept in the workplace, and it will continue to evolve and be relevant because there will always be a thirst for how we can be better, not only as an organisation but also as individuals. As Torin Ellis and Jeff Miller discussed in the latest episode of our HR Labs podcast, the ROI of diversity is to be a better human. 

Getting the party started

Whether you’re a small start-up or a large corporation, diversity is important. Even if your organisation might be struggling to meet diversity goals, there are still ways to foster diversity and develop a culture where employees from diverse backgrounds can thrive. Often, this stems from the attitudes of the leadership team, their understanding of diversity and whether their decisions allow human-based conversations. Think about workplace situations where people might feel excluded, for example, such as important decision-making meetings or group brainstorming sessions. Could you benefit from having these as open meetings to ensure that you’re considering and including everyone’s perspective? Even just having open Teams’ chats or employee resource groups can show that you’re embracing an open culture for diversity.

Everyone is responsible for being a better human so having conversations and showing curiosity in diversity, however large your organisation, help individuals, and ultimately humanity.

Serving a slice of unconscious bias training

Unconscious bias training has become hugely popular within organisations, especially in the past year. Our own stats showed that “How Unconscious Bias Affects Your Work, Whether You Know It or Not” and “Why Everyone Has Unconscious Bias” were among the top courses taken by users on our free training platform, Cornerstone Cares, last year.

There’s no doubt that unconscious bias training is an important part of the diversity strategy, but by all means, it shouldn’t be the only solution that organisations turn to — all good parties will always have a variety of food and drink choices for everyone to choose from.. If there’s only one option, there’s a risk you could upset some of your party attendees.

Think of unconscious bias training as laying the groundwork for wider initiatives and actions instead. Ask your employees what they think the organisation could do to mitigate unconscious bias once they’ve completed training or look into technologies, such as AI, to ensure your candidates and employees aren’t subject to unconscious bias. Turn the conversations and learnings into meaningful action.

All in the decoration and detail

People will pay attention to all the small details at a party, and with diversity there are many small things organisations can do beyond training too. For example, asking “what did you do to support diversity?” during appraisals and performance reviews doesn’t take any extra resources. The same with employee resource groups or putting together a library of diversity content for all employees to access. Embrace each small opportunity in the short term to boost diversity in the long term.

Ultimately, diversity is about ensuring you’re bringing out the best in people to make the world a better place for everyone. Not only that, the benefits of embracing and encouraging diversity in the workplace means that organisations can welcome a wider talent pool and be fit for the future. A party is nothing without the people, and the best parties are the ones that are well organised, equipped with the right supplies and have something for everyone to enjoy.

This series of our HR Labs podcast is all about exploring strategies for taking diversity, equity and inclusion and belonging from intention to action – subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

About the Author

The Cornerstone Editors

This article was authored or published by Cornerstone's blog editorial team.

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