When it comes to promoting workplace diversity and inclusion you don’t have to hold official responsibility for it to be able to make a difference. If you are passionate about improving your organisation with respect to diversity and inclusion, there are things you can do as an individual to start creating change.
I’ve seen many organisations develop strategies to foster workplace diversity and inclusion as a response to employee pressure. This makes me smile – the people have spoken and an otherwise apathetic organisation have sprung into action.
With this in mind, if you’re beginning to advocate for workforce diversity in your organisation, it’s important to team up with others who are interested in it. This way, you can support each other and create a collective voice.
If you do form an informal working group of sorts remember to consider sustainability – your first action should not be focussed on addressing a specific inequity. How will you get diversity and inclusion prioritised and resourced within the organisation is a better starting point. Focussing your efforts on convincing the organisation of the value of dedicating time and money to this work can help create the change you want to see without causing you and your volunteers to drown in the demands. Create a business case not an action plan.
Once you’ve found your allies and are considering the development of your business case, you may find it useful to understand diversity and inclusion within the context of the industry you work in. Try reaching out to your network to discover the strategies being implemented by other organisations in your sector. Remember that to convince leadership teams to proactively address diversity and inclusion in the workplace we need to convince them it’s the right thing to do and the smart thing to do.
You might need to put forward some potential actions or priority areas in your business case, this is where volunteers can fall into the trap of suggesting outdated or ineffective approaches. To avoid this you might need a helping hand. This is where Diversity and Inclusion practitioners—like the team at Bree Gorman—are valuable. We can support your by providing coaching and advising on the Diversity and Inclusion approach you are proposing, use our expertise about what actions are most likely to gain executive support and actually create change. Get in touch with Bree Gorman to learn more.
When I worked at Deakin University, in our team we started a book club. Once a month, one of my colleagues would highlight a piece of content that they’d come across relevant to the Diversity and Inclusion field, and we’d discuss it as a team. We also created a gender equity advocates program for anyone in the organisation. We established a Microsoft Teams channel and shared content, case studies and discussion points – this raised the awareness and knowledge of all the advocates and increased the quantity and quality of conversations being held across the organisation.
If your team is developing its awareness around workforce diversity and inclusion, start small. You might ask your manager for 10 minutes in your next team meeting to:
However, if you want to have broader reach, you might like to try using a digital platform to create a network of like minded individuals. Priming them to all start having conversations in their teams and divisions.
Often organisations will advertise a new position via an employment marketplace like SEEK and not look any further. In order to share new employment opportunities with a diverse audience, it can be useful to use different networks to attract candidates. Even if you are not in the recruitment team you can help increase the workforce diversity by sharing new roles within different networks. For example, if you work in I.T., and your workplace is looking to increase gender equity, try using social media to promote the role. Facebook and LinkedIn are host to many groups that support women in I.T. These kinds of groups would be the perfect place to share a job ad!
Are you interested to learn more about how you can influence change in your organisation? Bree Gorman offers an online course in Diversity and Inclusion. For only $87, you’ll develop skills and strategies to promote Diversity and Inclusion in the workplace. Enrol today!
08 May 2022
01 March 2021
18 April 2022