Over the past several years, many companies have taken strong initiatives to expand their diversity and inclusion. Companies such as Ford, Sodexo, Johnson & Johnson, and L’Oréal have incorporated diversity programs in their hiring, leadership, and supplier decisions. As more and more companies start looking into workplace diversity plans, let’s take a look at some lessons we can learn from these workplace diversity leaders:
1. Understand that diversity includes more than demographics.
Keeping diversity of race, ethnicity, gender, and orientation are vital to an inclusive workplace, but there are many other aspects of diversity that should be considered. Incorporating people of different generations, personality types, and thinking styles makes for a collaborative, inviting office.
2. Ensure leaders represent diversity and inclusion.
You may look at the sentence above and assume that we mean solely hiring a more diverse leadership team, but holding leaders accountable for any discriminatory action or microaggression is also important in creating and maintaining workplace equity for all.
3. Use multiple practices to ensure diversity.
To move towards inclusivity, companies need to factor numerous practices and programs into their diversity initiatives. Consider including multiple measures, such as team mentoring programs, multicultural talent acquisition, eLearning modules, and employee resource groups.
4. Recognize that diversity and inclusion builds innovation.
The Harvard Business review studied the connection between diversity and innovation in the workplace back in 2013. After examining 40 different companies, they found that firms with leadership diversity programs in place are 45% more likely to report a growth in market share over the previous year and 70% more likely to report that the firm captured a new market. Building a welcoming environment for all employees allows for higher participation and idea sharing, leading to increased innovation.
Though navigating towards a fully inclusive work environment can be tricky, a lot can be learned from companies who have taken large steps towards diversity. Applying these methods will help shrink the opportunity gap, encourage a welcoming environment for leadership and peers, and push towards equity for all!
Karine Bah Tahé, Blue Level Founder and CEO