There is no denying that workplace diversity and inclusion is an essential aspect of effective people management. Providing an inclusive environment which encourages innovation and creativity and supports the workforce to reach its full potential is vital to organisational flexibility, responsiveness and agility. Whilst UK legislation provides a minimum standard, the real benefits are derived from moving beyond compliance so that everyone has the right to equal access to employment, training and development.
HR professionals know that this makes good business sense. Indeed, working inclusively is a core behaviour in the HR Profession Map. But HR, whilst traditionally seen as the champions of workplace diversity, cannot do this alone. Creating a culture that values diversity and promotes inclusivity needs to be driven by the top but it is the responsibility of all. How the company’s vision and mission translate to organisational culture provides the foundation for inclusion. To what extent do organisational values cultivate and promote an inclusive culture that maximises the talent, skills and diversity of its workforce?
HR need to work closely with the senior executive to create behavioural standards, integrate diversity and inclusion strategies in recruitment, performance management, leadership assessment and training and create employee networks to keep the conversation flowing. Including metrics and accountability provides a measure of progress and keeps everyone on track. HR’s role is to ensure that they keep the diversity and inclusion momentum going. It’s one thing to recruit a diverse workforce that includes a range of ages, ethnicities, religions and worldviews but how do you ensure that they are happy in their role a few months later? Inclusivity can be measured by the extent to which employees feel valued, respected and accepted and the degree to which they are encouraged to fully participate in the organisation. Are the diverse backgrounds of your people respected and do they feel included? Do they feel emotionally engaged with your cause? How can you make sure that the answer is YES in both cases? How well are you currently addressing the following actions in support of your diversity and inclusion agenda?
– Promote understanding of organisational values and expected behaviours through induction and ongoing policy awareness
– Create an equality, diversity and inclusion group to support participation across the organisation
– Ask staff for feedback on their experiences in the workplace and act on this to cultivate a supportive and fair environment that maximises the talent and skills of your workforce
– Provide diversity and inclusivity training to all employees
– Develop a behaviours framework that embraces equality and enables all employees to feel comfortable and be themselves in the workplace
– Align management performance evaluation with the behavioural framework
– Embed inclusive leadership behaviours in management and leadership training
– Review and update relevant policies relating to equality, diversity and inclusion on a regular basis and ensure that they are available to all employees.
To effectively foster a culture of diversity and inclusion is everyone’s business.