We all know diversity is good. Good for business, good for humankind. It’s something your clients, customer base, employees, and prospective hires pay attention to. So how do you make it a reality in your business?
Yes, you can have targets. You can make an effort to recruit from a more diverse talent pool. And there are lots of positive actions that have a real, lasting impact. But despite all your best efforts, you might struggle with employee churn for one of these reasons:
If your board or leadership team falls into the ‘one and done’ category – with women or people of colour used more as a photo opp, than the industry expert they are – it doesn’t go unnoticed. Not only does that risk inducing imposter syndrome, and misplaced resentment from their colleagues, but it’s a sticking plaster approach that won’t last.
Even if you get to the much-venerated 33% target, you may have another problem to tackle. This lies is understanding the difference between diversity and inclusion, because they’re not one in the same. Hire as many people as you like, but if they don’t feel like they belong, if they don’t feel safe and accepted, then they won’t stick around for long.
As an organisation, leader, or manager, you have a responsibility towards your employees. If you’re aware that a new hire may have different needs or experiences to the majority of your team, pay attention to their feedback. There’s a business case for listening – and when it comes to realising the power of diversity, it’s even more relevant.
Every organisation should be diverse. It’s the only way to surely, but slowly, edge closer towards a more equal society. But if you care about the experiences that your ‘diverse’ hires have, beyond checking a box, then you need to focus on inclusion.
Inclusion means belonging, safety, acceptance, and trust. Create a culture that reflects those values, and you’ll have a workforce who wants to stay with you. Don’t, and all your best efforts to do what’s right may well be wasted.
How do you know how inclusive your workplace is, or how you can work on it? We’ve developed a way to measure inclusion for that reason – and it’s built on listening to what people have to say, and understand their true feelings.
Discover our D&I solution: