What can leadership teams do to address diversity, equity and inclusion in ways that can enhance workplace culture? We compiled a number of straight-forward tips that can help your organisation improve your DEI strategy and address any issues you might be facing.
Review the behaviour of your management team
Are there toxic leaders who don’t make their team feel valued or who exhibit bias in your organisation? These very leaders are why good employees resign, even if they don’t have a new job lined up! Don’t shy away from having a straightforward conversation with any manager showing toxic tendencies and give them an opportunity to change.
Remember, the best thing a leader can do is lead by example. Leaders have a responsibility to establish the tone of the organization and maintain it. They also need to make sure managers follow suit and next-level leaders have the training to do the same.
Watch out for diversity issues
What might be considered “normal” in many workplace cultures may possibly alienate a section of the workforce. For instance, Ruchika Tulshyan, author of Inclusion on Purpose, gave the example of companies that routinely host social events that include alcohol. Such occasions can exclude employees whose religion, culture or health prevent them from drinking.
The best approach is to hold frequent group listening sessions and provide opportunities for private one-to-one conversations. In group meetings, you can identify individuals who dominate as well as those who might be excluded or undermined.
Listen to your employees
Gather the perspectives of a wide range of employees regarding the company’s DEI initiatives. Are they constructive? Do they make a difference? What could be done better?
Once you gain this feedback, it’s important to act on it and highlight to employees the steps you are taking in response. Applaud team members for their input and share the positive changes with their colleagues.
Foster a sense of community
Does your company have a genuine, compelling DEI program? Do your leaders build a team spirit and camaraderie? This is something that has become increasingly difficult to do with the expansion of remote working since the pandemic.
However, there are several ways to foster a sense of community even in the wake of Covid-19. To get started, designate time during the week for employees to get together for an event that is not related to work. This way, they can share information about what’s going on in their lives such as hobbies, social activities etc. Even if certain team members are working remotely, you can have a virtual “happy hour” to make them feel included also.
Allow your team to open up
Promote an open culture whereby everyone feels like they can freely give feedback without fear of adverse reactions. An atmosphere in which individuals can openly and honestly express their views not only helps eliminate bias but also leads to constructive debates that can ultimately boost the business.
Prioritize diversity from beginning to end
Organizations need to be conscious of the need to train for diversity. It’s not going to happen by itself. This training should happen throughout the year; not just as one annual exercise. This is training that should be carried out at all levels within the organisation, from bottom to top.
Integrating DEI practices into every aspect of your business should include hiring, training and performance reviews all the way through to exit interviews. A comprehensive approach and all-in strategies are the only ways to succeed.
Are diversity and inclusion issues currently impacting your business? We’d love to have a chat to help you find out more about how Our Tandem can help. Get in touch here.