It is largely accepted that more diverse workplaces achieve better results and have happier employees, with diverse teams making better decisions 66% of the time and diverse companies being 70% more likely to capture new markets. These workplaces tend to have some sort of diversity plan.
But for some companies, especially those with highly specialized positions or very low levels of turnover, becoming a ‘diverse company’ isn’t as simple as bringing in new employees, and quite honestly – there’s a lot more to being a genuinely diverse company than simply hiring targeted demographics and practicing Affirmative Action.
In order for a company to be truly diverse, it needs to have an ingrained culture of acceptance, diversity, equal and equitable opportunities, and a genuine desire to do this (rather than just because of the optics).
A Diversity Plan (also known as an Inclusion Plan) is an approach that lays out the aims and goals for business diversity, looks at the different elements (such as policy, recruitment, internship, product, marketing, sales, aftercare, etc) and then plots out how to achieve the company goals in each area.
The process isn’t a one-time effort – although the initial implementation is most often the largest undertaking, and in order to stay diverse, businesses need to continually update, review, and implement new actions in order to stay on task.
Implementation is often the most difficult stage and can vary in time and success depending on the company culture and willingness of employees to embrace the changes.
In order to succeed in bringing true and sustainable diversity into the business, there are a number of actions that you should consider taking before you roll out your plans:
Educate Managers and Team Leaders
Your Managers and Team Leaders are going to be actioning your Diversity Plan, and they’re going to be explaining the actions to your other employees. If they don’t know enough about what the business is doing (and why), or don’t actually believe in what you’re doing and are just ‘doing their jobs’ by rolling it out – you’re going to have unnecessary trouble when your employees decide that if the managers don’t care, why should they?
Create Opportunities for Employee Engagement
Your team may have some great ideas for inclusive actions, and it’s important to allow for open and honest discourse. Think about creating employee-led task teams so people can get to know others across the company and be actively involved with people outside of their own groups.