Since starting this business at the end of 2019 there is one question I’ve been asked more than any other:
Where do we start with Diversity and Inclusion?
It’s an important question, and I recommend taking time to consider it. Especially before you jump into creating a Diversity and Inclusion committee and participating in a Pride March!
Diversity and Inclusion practices within businesses of all sizes are crucial to creating safe spaces where employees can thrive. Indeed, in 5 Diversity and Inclusion Tips for Small and Medium Businesses, I wrote about the benefits of inclusive workplaces, such as increased engagement, productivity and retention across staff members of all backgrounds.
So, if you’ve finally been given the go-ahead to commit time and resources to Diversity and Inclusion in your workplace, I’ve got some ideas to help you begin.
Diversity and Inclusion strategies will support you to increase the diversity of your clients and workforce and create an environment where everyone can be at their best. These methods, which include analysing data, goal setting and measuring progress, can help you to create and manage diversity in your workplace.
To begin, you’ll find it useful to understand your business’ context. Specifically, think about the amount of support you’re likely to receive from your leadership team. Try answering the following:
This information, in addition to awareness around actions organisations in your sector are implementing, can be used to set realistic guiding principles for your approach to Diversity and Inclusion.
Data is key to identifying the priority areas for your work in Diversity and Inclusion. To be well-informed about the areas that need improvement, you’ll need to collect quantitative and qualitative data. You may find it useful to engage an external consultant at this stage. They will be able to create a space where staff feel comfortable sharing, giving you the most accurate data to analyse.
Quantitative data will allow you to see who is already in your organisation and what roles they hold, whether they receive equitable pay and if they have equal access to promotions. But, on its own, it won’t be able to indicate how safe and valued your employees feel at work. Conducting surveys, establishing focus groups or informal consultation and feedback processes are all ways you can gain this understanding.
If you’re not already working with one, be sure to have your data reviewed by an expert in Diversity and Inclusion, like myself or any of our consultants at Bree Gorman. We’re trained to recognise potential barriers and suggest alternative, low-effort approaches that may be the difference between your business succeeding with Diversity and Inclusion. We’ll also ask you the hard questions! If you’d like to know more, contact Bree Gorman today.
It’s important to remember that the issues specific to your business may not be the same as other organisations. By using the data you’ve gathered about your workforce, you’ll be able to pinpoint your priorities to make the change that is needed.
Goal setting is a useful strategy for completing just about any task, and it’s no different for implementing Diversity and Inclusion actions in the workplace.
Efforts to improve Diversity and Inclusion are more likely to succeed when you bring together a variety of stakeholders. Consider consulting with:
By working to identify barriers and potential actions, aim to co-design SMART goals. SMART goals – that is, goals which are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound – will respond to the issues faced and support you to measure your progress. Diversity and Inclusion is too often seen as the ‘soft stuff’, the unmeasurable – but that is simply not true. To embed your goals within the fabric of the organisation, Diversity and Inclusion goals and actions could be included in your organisation’s Workforce Management Plan, integrated into staff performance metrics and feed into its overall strategic plan.
Additionally, a Diversity and Inclusion consultant will be able to provide extra support at this stage of the process. They can create a safe space for your employees to share ideas and ensure that the goals being set are achievable, align with best practice and create the change you want to see.
Accountability is central to the success of Diversity and Inclusion actions.
And though setting goals is an important step, without a person to make sure that they’re being met, your business is unlikely to improve its practices in a meaningful way.
One way you can do this is to create a task force to be responsible for measuring the progress of your goals and actions. They’ll be able to identify what’s working, adapt approaches to implementation and be able to identify if plans become stalled (and why!).
Your approaches to improving Diversity and Inclusion in your workplace will necessarily change over time to meet the needs of its staff. By reviewing and adapting your goals and actions where appropriate, you’ll make sure your organisation responds quickly to gaps in equity or to new problem areas that may arise.
Creating sustainable change within an organisation can be a complex process. If you’d like to make a start on a Diversity and Inclusion strategy at your workplace, but would like a helping hand, get in touch with the team at Bree Gorman to discover the ways they can assist you.
15 October 2021
06 September 2021
01 March 2021