Accepting and addressing diversity issues and the realities of the lived experiences for underrepresented professionals is a central way that management can improve the workplace. How simple or complicated that may be is determined by the culture of the organization, and the systemic support or opposition in place. In recognition of this, here are strategies for addressing diversity and inclusion issues in the workplace.
Burying your head in the proverbial sand is a typical response for some when faced with situations that cause discomfort both for those involved and the management team that has to resolve the situation. Approaching diversity issues by shining a light on the facts and acknowledging the feelings of aggrieved parties can go far in connection with taking the emotions out of the conflict and allowing everyone to see a way forward.
Leadership sets the tone for how diversity and inclusion is implemented both as a matter of policy and procedure but also in values and actions. Those with responsibility for the cultural experience and financial health of a company must be held accountable for ensuring diversity is central to how they manage by using metrics to measure diversity and inclusion and working toward improving those metrics. Be open to the feedback of underrepresented groups about their experiences and how you can better be an ally to the communities present at the company.
Create a safe space for underrepresented professionals to share both who they are and how they want to be celebrated, and for them to highlight opportunities for improvement for the company. When receiving this information, active listening is central to the next stage of improving the experience of various groups. Focus on sitting with any discomfort that comes up without attempting to negate others’ experiences, noticing themes that arise from what you hear, and listening not to reply immediately but to understand what’s being shared.
Once the management team has gathered intel on the challenges and opportunities they’re facing, they are charged with creating a living, dynamic plan for diversity and inclusion. The plan must be dynamic because as cultural and legal standards change, the plan should shift as needed to accommodate these updates.
Goals in the plan should be SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-constrained, so that anyone checking on progress could benchmark the work against the intended outcomes.
Sharing status updates along the way allows the entire team to participate in creating a better workplace for all. Sharing also gives space for feedback about the intended and unintended consequences of cultural changes in a company.
Are you a manager who is dedicated to addressing diversity issues and improving the workplace? Share what your company is doing to help underrepresented employees feel welcome on Kanarys. Create an account and share a review of your company today!
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