It is generally understood and accepted that a diverse and inclusive culture can bring a wider range of perspectives and experiences to the decision-making table, which can lead to better decision-making, creativity and innovation within an organisation.
When colleagues feel comfortable sharing their unique perspectives, they are more likely to come up with creative solutions to problems. This form of innovation is integral to an organisation’s growth and success.
Organisations that value diversity and inclusion also enjoy a positive reputation. Stakeholders and employees are more likely to trust and support organisations that have a diverse workforce and inclusive culture.
Diversity and inclusion improve employee engagement and retention. Employees are more likely to be engaged and committed to an organisation that values their differences and creates an inclusive environment. Diversity and inclusion can also boost outcomes like performance, retention and productivity.
The challenge that many leaders face is no longer about understanding the ‘why’ of diversity and inclusion, but about understanding how to develop and implement diversity and inclusion strategies. We will look at this in this article.
As you might expect, there are many best practices that organisations can adopt to create a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Here we have laid out the key steps that we at Mahogany Inclusion Partners apply to support organisations to create diverse and inclusive cultures:
- Align diversity and inclusion strategy with organisational vision and values.
- Create a culture of inclusion.
- Review and update policies and procedures.
- Conduct inclusion surveys and audits.
- Provide training on diversity and inclusion.
- Develop strategies for the entire value chain of the organisation to engage all stakeholders.
Let’s look at each of these keys steps, how they support diverse and inclusive cultures and then also where to start the journey.
1. Align with vision and values
The first step to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is to align diversity and inclusion with the organisation’s vision and values. This means that diversity and inclusion should be seen as a strategic priority, not just a ‘nice-to-have’. When diversity and inclusion are aligned with the organisation’s vision and values, it becomes easier to make decisions that support these goals.
For example, if an organisation’s vision is to be a leader in its field, then it needs to make sure that its workforce is diverse and inclusive. This means hiring people from different backgrounds and with different perspectives.
2. Create a culture of inclusion
Once an organisation has aligned diversity and inclusion with its vision and values, the next step is to create a culture of inclusion. A culture of inclusion is one where all employees feel welcome, valued and respected, regardless of their background or identity.
There are many things that organisations can do to create a culture of inclusion, including:
- Promoting diversity and inclusion at all levels of the organisation.
- Providing training on diversity and inclusion to all employees.
- Creating a workplace where employees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and perspectives.
- Focusing on equity and fairness in all aspects of the workplace.
- When an organisation creates a culture of inclusion, it becomes a more attractive place to work. It also becomes more productive.
3. Review and update policies
Another important step in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is to review and update policies and procedures. This includes policies
related to hiring, promotion, compensation and benefits.
Organisations should make sure that their policies and procedures are fair and inclusive. They should also make sure that these policies and procedures are communicated to all employees.
4. Conduct surveys and audits
Organisations can also get feedback from employees on their experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This feedback can be used to identify areas where improvements can be made.
There are a number of ways to collect feedback from employees. One way is to conduct an inclusion survey which can be used to ask employees about their experiences of diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Another method is to conduct an inclusion audit which can be used to assess the organisation’s policies and diversity and inclusion procedures.
5. Provide training
Organisations with a desire to develop and maintain inclusive cultures should provide training to all employees. This training can help employees to understand the importance of diversity and inclusion, and how to create a more inclusive workplace.
Training on diversity and inclusion can cover a variety of topics, such as:
- The benefits of diversity and inclusion
- The different types of diversity
- How to create an inclusive culture and workplace
6. Develop strategies
Finally, organisations seeking to develop and sustain an inclusive culture should develop diversity and inclusion strategies for stakeholders outside of the organisation. This includes consumers and businesses, partners and the communities within which they operate.
Some specific considerations for consumers and businesses, partners and communities for organisations to focus on as they develop their strategies include:
Consumers and businesses
- When designing products and services, consider the needs of all potential users, regardless of their age, gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.
- Make sure your communications materials are inclusive and represent the diversity of your target audience and society as a whole.
- Provide customer service that is respectful and responsive to the needs of all clients.
- Do business with partners that share your commitment to diversity and inclusion.
- Work with partners to develop programmes that promote diversity and inclusion in their own workplaces.
- Support partners that are owned by or employ people from underrepresented groups.
- Get involved in your community and support organisations that are working to promote diversity and inclusion.
- Advocate for policies that promote diversity and inclusion.
- By considering the needs of all stakeholders, organisations can create a more equitable and inclusive society.
In summary, creating a diverse and inclusive culture takes strategic focus which systematically addresses policy, processes, culture and the entire organisation. Considering your internal people and your external stakeholders as you change your systems and culture is the only way to create a truly diverse and inclusive organisation.
For further information visit www.mahoganyinclusionpartners.com
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