A strong diversity and inclusion strategy can help organizations attract top talent, drive innovation and reduce turnover. And, while it’s easy to get behind the concept of an inclusive workplace, however, true inclusion requires some heavy lifting. In our experience, here are a few ways organizations, leaders and teams can amplify DEI efforts.
Inclusion goes well beyond policies or programs in the workplace. For each employee to bring their best self to work, they must first feel like they belong. This starts with building trust and connection. While it would be wonderful to wave a magic wand, creating a sense of trust amongst teams, colleagues and throughout the organization takes time and effort. It’s not something you can fast-forward. On an organizational (and managerial!) level, trust is built on some very basic tenets: clear expectations, open communication, mutual respect, and accountability.
Our latest L&D Trends report outlined the importance of empathy in the workplace. And, it’s not enough to be a one-off training exercise. It must be part of the social fabric within the organization. Senior execs must step up and own DEI and be able to tap into their own feelings and experiences, calling up a time when they felt excluded or like an outsider. Empathetic leaders have the capacity to internalize diversity and inclusion matter, and then to convey why it should matter to their teams.
Understand That Quotas Don’t Equal Inclusion
Setting goals around hiring to increase the diversity in the workplace doesn’t automatically translate to equity or inclusion. Many times, minorities, women, and members of the LGBTQ+ community do not feel seen or heard by senior leaders. As Yomi Adegoke wrote in The Guardian, “Having minority staff and having minority staff who are empowered to speak up are two very different things.”
Creating a diversity and inclusion strategy is a much-needed first step. But to be effective, your programs must move beyond simply establishing mentoring relationships, hosting one-off learning events or creating insular communities in your organization. It’s critical to begin amplifying the understanding around unconscious bias and cultivating sponsorship for marginalized groups of leaders. Giving senior leaders a chance to see high-potential leaders in action in a group coaching setting (like our Catalyst program) is an extremely effective way to forge new, cross-functional networks and help diverse talent rise through the ranks.
Need Help Amplifying Your DEI Efforts?
If you’re curious about how The Roundtable can help your organization amplify its diversity and inclusion initiatives through group coaching and mentoring, let’s start a conversation. And, be sure to download our 2022 L&D Trends Report for more insights into the issues affecting L&D professionals in the year ahead.