Did you know that over 67% of job seekers consider workplace diversity an important factor when considering employment opportunities? 

The topic of diversity and inclusion continues gaining momentum as the years pass by in various types of workplaces ranging from startups all the way to well-established Fortune 500 companies. With more interest in diversity benefits and the topic of systemic racism, many new and established businesses are creating Diversity and Inclusion strategies as well as revisiting their existing policies on the matter. Many businesses have been looking closely into 

While creating a strategy is relatively easier to work with, the follow-through has quickly become the make-or-break factor for businesses around the world. Whether or not you have a Diversity and Inclusion strategy in place, these three steps should always be at the forefront of your business:

  • Integrating Diversity and Inclusion into your business plan

Revisit your business plan (or if you’re starting your business, make sure to include it) and integrate it into your policies and recruiting strategies. The policies and recruitment strategies should be inclusive to people of all backgrounds, ages, etc. with the opportunity to allow you to hire outside of your network. Policies should combat any sort of discrimination and be allowed to be revisited on a certain timeframe to ensure that these remain relevant despite your business scaling.

Within the recruitment policy, you’ll also want to establish what growth opportunities you can provide your employees with and what your company’s investment in them should be as well as the type of investment opportunities available to them.

Hiring outside of your network can be difficult at first, but it’s important to keep in mind the benefits that it has to offer. One of the benefits is that it allows you to implement inclusive leadership from the start. By staffing people of different perspectives and backgrounds, you’ll be able to lessen the probabilities of creating an unconscious bias which could lead to eventual employee discontent.

This leads us to our next step:

  • Provide training for both employers and employees

By minimizing the possibility of an unconscious bias in the workplace, employees will feel supported and comfortable to speak up about issues that could hinder their productivity and retention. It’s been statistically proven that an unhealthy work environment has led to not only affect a business’ retention level and reputation, but also hinder their productivity and henceforth their profitability, a critical $64 billion per year. In order for a business to become sustainable and scalable, training should be provided to both employers and employees in an effort to enforce a healthy workplace environment through D&I.

Within your recruitment policy, you should already have an idea of what items are reasonable for employee training such as in-office training provided by your HR department, out-of-office training such as seminars or online courses to enhance your employee’s skills and knowledge, or others depending on your business’ mission.

As you continue to scale your business and recruit any additional hiring managers or a staffing department, it’ll be important to create training that will promote inclusive leadership and minimize any unconscious bias from new recruits. In addition to this, providing quarterly training to your C-Suite for emerging employee issues that they should be aware of will make it less likely for issues to fall through the cracks. This will not only keep your workplace healthy, but will also provide further insight to your employees as to your business’ core principles and mission.

  • Take action

Taking action is the most difficult step for many employers, but it doesn’t have to be. The foundation of a business should always be the first and the most important item to consider when running a business and keeping it going. If there are no D&I strategies established, a business can easily start going on a slippery slope and in worst cases, destroy a business before it becomes profitable. It’s never too late to begin implementing D&I, actually. 

Within your business plan, you can also set up a D&I council whose sole purpose is to manage business/employee resource groups for various minorities. In addition to managing these resource groups, your council will be responsible for revisiting your strategies, improving them, and adding to them as needed. 

If you don’t have a strong strategy in place, you’ll be made aware far more quickly on underlying issues that may be building up which will give you the opportunity to correct them and move forward in a better direction. Keep in mind that your strategy doesn’t have to be perfect from the start. The first and vital step is to start implementing this and constantly improve it as your business grows.

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