Diversity and inclusion (D&I) initiatives can be both an exciting and intimidating task for a company to undertake. As Forbes reports, these efforts are usually headed by the HR department because they are in charge of employee engagement throughout the hiring and retainment process. This allows HR to be in the perfect position to implement programs and training that will help further D&I in the workplace. HR has the power to affect and make positive changes to an organization's core - and this power comes with a lot of responsibility.
Unfortunately, the same report from Forbes found that most D&I initiatives fail due to a lack of understanding surrounding how to implement their plans throughout the company. The bottom line is that D&I initiatives not only have the ability to foster a better working environment, but Boston Consulting Group found that companies with above average-diversity scores saw 19% more in innovation revenue than their below-average counterparts. What this report also highlights is that diversity initiatives need to include other factors beyond race and age. Companies with the largest gain in innovation revenue had leadership teams made up of employees with diverse national origins along with different industry backgrounds and career paths.
A company should be looking for a diversity of thought among their employees, and this can come from any of the above mentioned factors. Having diversity of thought allows for fresh ideas and new perspectives that can help profits. While it can be difficult to make effective D&I initiatives that promote this kind of deep diversity, there are certain steps that can help your HR department succeed.
Reevaluate talent acquisition methods
One of the most effective ways to bring in employees from diverse backgrounds is during the acquisition process. Each company usually has their go-to hiring method depending on the position they are trying to fill. Technology has made job boards an increasingly popular method for talent acquisition as they can be personalized to pull out stand out applicants. No matter the method, it's not beneficial for a company to just rely on one.
Finding talent through multiple channels not only widens your talent pool, but it can promote diversity in the workplace. Some candidates may not be searching on job boards and shine during a job fair or recruitment. On the other hand, talent from outside your local area may be looking to move but are not aware of a job fair as they are relying on online postings. Additionally, don't automatically dismiss candidates just because they didn't follow a traditional for the industry. Having a new hire with a unique background can bring new ideas to a company.
Promote inter-departmental socialization
This may come as no surprise, but making sure employees are getting to know one another across departments is one of the easiest ways to promote diversity. Whether they are purely social or meant for team-building, these events can give employees an appreciation of how work outside of their department adds value to the company.
Think in the long-term
The best D&I initiatives will have a long-term goal in mind and are more than just a one-and-done event. Holding an event for the entire office as mentioned above should have a larger goal in mind than simply promoting a friendly workplace. Think about how this event will affect the departments. Do you want it to improve communication? To promote the exchanging of ideas? Every event and initiative should be thoughtfully planned out to support the ultimate goal.
Hopefully the success of D&I initiatives can be measured, but while this is not always the case, make sure to be checking in with employees to see how they are responding to these events.