Diversity and Inclusion – Four Initiatives You Can Start Right Now
To have a company culture that embraces and supports diversity and inclusion, it needs to start at the top. Most companies aren’t large enough to have a Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) who is responsible for architecting a company’s diversity, equity, and inclusion programs.
So, regardless of company size, what specific actions can be taken by company leaders to show that their commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just talk? A recent article from the SHRM Executive Network offers the following four suggestions.
1. Adjust Your Job Descriptions for Gender Balance
When writing job descriptions, managers may already have a certain image of their ideal candidate in mind. This may lead to bias, which may leak into the job description itself. Certain words, such as “aggressive” and “assertive”, might be gender-coded and may sway a candidate’s decision to apply.
Particularly in male-dominated roles, such as finance and IT, words such as “guru”, “rockstar”, and “independent” can be replaced with words such as “dedicated”, “sociable”, and “conscientious”. Alternatively, a compromise would be to add words that are more feminine-coded to balance the job description, such as “supportive” and “cooperative”.
While it isn’t necessary to completely remove all descriptors, working toward having gender-balanced job descriptions can level the playing field from the start and help to ensure that all potential candidates are encouraged to apply.
2. Expand Your Current Definition of Diversity and Inclusion
Think beyond gender diversity, racial diversity, and the inclusion of LGBTQ individuals. D&I best practices are continually reaching further demographic segments – to those who are disabled or neurodivergent. Some characteristics people with autism may have, such as a meticulous attention to detail, are a major strength for roles in fields such as quality assurance or software testing.
Looking into talent placement programs for underserved communities may not only help your company fill roles with untapped potential, but also will allow you to give back to the community in a tangible way.
3. Gather Data
When a company is small or just starting up, face-to-face confirmation may be good enough to keep track of employee satisfaction. But as the company grows, keeping track of employee satisfaction can get put on the back burner when the company is busy scaling up.
One suggestion of a useful tool is for a company to survey their workforce’s employee Net Promoter Score (eNPS). Ranging from -100 to 100, this employee engagement benchmark can help you determine workers’ loyalty and satisfaction while allowing them to answer anonymously and honestly. Depending on the industry, a good rating is around 30 and a score over 50 is considered to be exceptional. An increasing number of companies are displaying their eNPS on their employer branding profiles, and high-ranking companies are able to better attract top talent.
There are many tools and vendors companies can use to measure their Net Promoter Score in various areas (employees, clients, etc.). Check out ClearlyRated, used by J. Kent Staffing for the past five years.
4. Lead With Empathy
No matter your personality type, you can start being a more empathetic leader. But, in order to become one, you need to talk with your managers and employees about real life and what they are going through.
In addition to daily work stress, your employees are navigating ever-increasing stress factors from life outside of work – taking care of family, coping with personal health issues, adjusting to shifting pandemic rules and regulations, addressing widening political polarization, and bracing for the latest global crisis.
Start showing empathy. Be an active listener. Don’t wait for someone to come to you with a problem – check in on your employees. Opening the door to honest dialogue shows that serious concerns can be discussed without fear of reprisal.
Are your managers pushing their teams too far and driving employees to leave? Invite experts in to administer empathy coaching and have company executives and team leaders join the sessions.
Are people feeling unappreciated or burned out? Show that their work matters by celebrating the wins, professional and personal, of every employee. As a company leader – and by being the first one to take action – you will create a positive culture that fosters empathy, trust, inclusion, and a sense of community.
The SHRM Executive Network, 12/21/2022. “4 Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives You Can Start Immediately”, By Elinav Lavi, August 17, 2022.
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