The Role of Leadership

Have you identified a need? Or do you already have a framework that you would like to enhance? If yes to both questions, where are you today and where would you like to be both short and long term?  There are five important characteristics of how management can create and support a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Commit Like You Mean it and Mean It:  Develop a clear and concise statement of purpose on your company’s commitment to the culture of inclusion.  Communication is key. Find multiple ways and opportunities to communicate with your employees. Develop the “big picture” strategy that outlines the what, who, and why of diversity and inclusion.  

Modify How You Conduct Your Meetings: Schedule brainstorming sessions to generate new ideas and solve problems. When your staff sets up these meetings, consider rotating the team leader and the make-up of the group by; age, tenure, organizational function, subject matter expert, etc.  

Leadership Matters: Leaders must visibly and authentically model the inclusive behavior in thoughts, words, and deeds.  Understand that inclusion is not only an HR mandate, but it is a leadership imperative. Set goals to promote diverse leaders at all levels at the organization.  Create a company D & I policy that includes zero-tolerance for disrespectful and un-inclusive behavior.

Acknowledge the Biases in your organization: Recognize that your own bias is a great level set or baseline; everyone has biases and companies can focus on eliminating or minimizing biases in their organizations.  Create a workplace where executives feel safe with recognizing their own biases and eliminating them. One strategy is to test yourselves for unconscious bias. 

Embrace the Differences: Change and disruption of norms pose challenges.  Sometimes the safe approach is doing the same thing with the same people. Acknowledge and recognize great ideas wherever they come from.  Communicate and celebrate with your employees how diversity and inclusion have impacted creativity and engagement with recognizing diverse ethnic and cultural celebrations in organizations.  Identify ways to mentor all groups in your organization to empower their ability to be catalysts through sponsorships. Consider implementing “Employee Network Groups” that represent different religious celebrations, cultural heritage, gender differences, etc.  

SELF-ASSESSMENT

This self-assessment is designed for you to measure your current status and commitment as it relates to either creating or supporting an existing diverse and inclusive workplace.  It will identify gaps of where you are today and where you want to be on your Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) journey as well as giving Heartland input on how we can help you achieve your corporate strategic goals in creating a diverse and inclusive workplace.   

  1. Do you currently have a strategic goal either short/long term that includes creating and supporting a diverse and inclusive workplace?
  2. Do you have resources to support a diversity & inclusion initiative in your organization?
  3. What metrics or processes internally or externally that reflect your commitment of a D & I environment?  Could be your current demographics, mission statement, hiring, and recruiting, promotion process, etc.
  4. Does your organization reflect the diversity of where you conduct your business?
  5. Do you have a formal performance management process?  If yes, does it measure behavior that could link to behaviors that support diversity?