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How to Start a Diversity & Inclusion Program

Published on March 30, 2021

An effective diversity and inclusion program not only benefits employees and company culture, but it also helps an organization become more competitive and profitable. There’s no reason not to do it, yet so many companies hesitate…why is that?

For the most part, businesses don’t know how to get started. They’re intimidated by the process of creating a more inclusive workplace…of doing something wrong. In this blog, we’ll discuss the ways that you can create an inclusive workplace with a diversity and inclusion program.

  1. Do your research

You won’t know what to change until you’ve collected the data, identified areas of concern, and developed objectives. In other words, do your research! Some data may already be available for your workplace through Equal Employment Opportunity reporting while other types of data may necessitate voluntary self-identification. Always remember that self-identification is a complicated ask because certain individuals aren’t always comfortable sharing so proceed with caution and sensitivity.

  1. Train your leaders and educate your employees

With your research in mind, it’s time to seek out Diversity Training Videos for your leaders and employees. While not everyone is thrilled to take time for workshops or conferences, these efforts are important. It’s what helps a company build a more representative and inclusive culture.

  1. Form an inclusion council

Consider forming an inclusion council that can work with both senior employees and C-suite executives as well as lower-level employees. This council would be made up of around 8-12 employees in that “mid-tier” (a level or two below the CEO). They should be passionate and committed to workplace inclusion and ready to work on issues that arise on difficult topics. Here are some of their responsibilities.

  • Set goals about hiring, retaining, and advancing a diverse workforce
  • Address any issues among underrepresented employee groups
  • Determine the proper number of meetings to troubleshoot challenges
  • Communicate messages about work to both employees and senior peers
  1. Change your in-office habits

An effective diversity and inclusion program ultimately results in action. Once you’ve researched and trained, it’s time to actually change what you’re doing in the office. Take a look at your meetings and ask yourself, “How could we do this better? How could we be more inclusive?”

Look at how you acknowledge and celebrate employee differences. Ask yourself, “Do we offer all of our employees the same benefits, or are we biased in our services?”

This type of reflection and change demonstrates that you’re taking diversity and inclusion seriously.

  1. Ask for feedback

Part of creating an effective program is asking for feedback. Take the time to listen to your employees and see what they think. Are you doing better than you were?

  • Distribute surveys
  • Create focus groups
  • Have an anonymous suggestion box
  • Hold open HR office hours each week/month

You can’t do better if you don’t know what obstacles you’re still facing. Asking for feedback is an essential part of this process.

Final thoughts

Are you ready to create a diversity and inclusion program for your workplace? The hardest part is starting. Once you’re in motion, focus on meeting the specific needs of your employees and asking for feedback. You’ve got this!

Newsdesk Editor