We often talk about this work as part of HR’s remit to find talent and retain them. I believe that this subject and work is fundamental to any businesses looking to achieve success. Why do I think that? Well, aside from having your policies and informal practices in place what else should you be doing to make sure that your culture is one that upholds inclusion and diversity in its many forms?
Your strategy should align with your overall business objectives so that as your business evolves, your approach is centered around it and can grow with it.
Leadership need to authentically speak about this subject and include everyone. Making statements during Pride Month, Celebrating international women’s day. Talking about mental health, recognising black history month. Promoting and engaging with any employee networks you have in your business as a mentor and guide as these networks should be a part of your way to understand better what is taking place on the ground within your organisation.
No matter your size, you should have clarity on how you will manage and retain your talent and how you attract them to the business in the first place. Where do you source your expertise, how diverse are the agencies and company you buy services? Do they have a strategy and opinion on D&I, you should ask these questions before partnering? As with more government guidance around reporting, you want to make sure you have the right partners to support you.
You should develop and invest in your people as technology will always align, but your people will be the true testament to your business.
So still focusing on your people you should work to understand who works at your business and what their expectations of you are, that might be looking at how flexible you are around work, what adjustments you have made for those working with a disability. Do you showcase and let all employees know about any EAP assistance you might have, especially now during Covid-19 where mental health issues are on the rise?
As you continue to weave D&I throughout your culture, you will need to review and measure, how are you performing against your objectives. You can do this in several ways: internal surveys, external benchmarks, employee town halls and looking at the return on investment concerning your D&I strategy but also your business goals.
While doing all the internal activity, you need to consider how you use your brand in the marketplace. How do you use your customer insights? How diverse are your suppliers and what barriers might you have in place that stop you working with businesses based in your communities where you’re based or finding suppliers that are diverse to support you. Also, within your sector are you speaking to the next generation beyond your community. Research shows that most children decided what they are going to do in life by the age of 10 and that constructed around what they have access too. So maybe strike up a conversation with a local school.
Diversity and inclusion is a big culture program that impacts your employees, customers and world at large. Amplifying, why it’s essential to have a position and understanding of the complexity of this conversation beyond the visual makers we all use to categories each other.
Happy pride and until next time remember life is a journey of continuous learning, enjoy!
Geoffrey Williams is an Inclusion & Diversity Professional, Owner of Geoffrey O. Williams Ltd, a consultancy that focus on I&D, Culture, Communication, and confident I&D narrative building. He is also the co-founder of Rocking Ur Teens a social enterprise that works with young people aged 13 – 16 across the UK to build strong self-esteem, good mental well being and career goals.