11 Jul

How and Why to Drive Diversity and Inclusion

Hannah Greenwood | | Diversity and Inclusion

diversity and inclusion matter to millennialsDiversity and inclusion have become buzzwords with human resources and in the media at large. You’ve probably seen and heard stories about how organizations are creating diverse and inclusive workforces, and maybe they’ve left you wondering why and how your organization could improve its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Millennials know that, for many, changing the world begins with the workplace. A lot of progress has been made for those who’ve faced challenges and discrimination based on sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion or gender identity, but there’s still a ways to go. Millennials are more likely to share socially progressive values. We value the idea of accepting everyone and maintaining a well-rounded work culture representing many backgrounds and skill sets. With young people flooding the job market, many major companies are adopting diversity and inclusion policies to match those values.

This trend builds a foundation that does more than just appeal to millennial workers, however. Here are some other points every business should consider when making decisions about their diversity and inclusion efforts.

Gain respect and trust from prospective employees

potential candidates check out your company before they interviewWhen going through the recruitment process, applicants might scan your website for a diversity statement or photos of your team to get an idea of the workplace culture. They want to know they’ll be comfortable working for your company, so getting a feel for what that workforce looks like is a quick first step. The hiring process tests those first impressions, so it’s important that diversity and inclusion efforts aren’t just theoretical.

Be an example to your current employees

When you show your employees that you’re passionate about implementing a diversity and inclusion policy, they’ll begin to incorporate it into their own values. This is where efforts can face resistance but empowering and giving a voice to those who have been silenced or overlooked in the past can offer a new and personalized perspective to those who didn’t have to think about it before.

Show your customers that you serve and support all people

Customers can see right through a business that just follows the trends or adopts a progressive stance when it’s advantageous or profitable, only to walk it back later. Prove your support is genuine by showing, not telling. Share the steps you’re taking to incorporate inclusion with your company mission and other steps along the journey.

Showcase how authentic and transparent your brand can be

Don’t be afraid to talk about it and answer questions people may have about these difficult topics. Your support of diversity and inclusion can’t be a when-it’s-convenient thing. This means making it a conversation with your employees. Listen to those who think you’ve gone too far, then explain why you’re approaching it the way you have. Listen to those who think you haven’t gone far enough and evaluate whether there’s more that can or needs to be done.

Because it’s the right thing to do

Every person deserves the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Everyone.

Current Trends and Where Diversity and Inclusion Are Headed

addressing sexual harassment in the workplaceAn article from Forbes named the diversity and inclusion trends to watch this year and they’re so overdue. These include more inclusive product launches, more diverse leadership dynamics, the aftermath of the #MeToo movement and more. These forecasted trends will not only provide more opportunities for others but will shed light on some of the issues we face as a society that still need to change.

Some companies have risen to the occasion when implementing better inclusion practices and everyone should take notes. These companies probably won’t have as many worries about millennial engagement thanks to their flexibility, empathy and their sense of purpose to create a balanced workplace. When you can provide a space that’s positive, comfortable and productive, all ages, genders, religions, races, sexual orientations and those with disabilities will aim to be on your roster.

Your business and your team have the power to make change happen.