I was recently asked if I had any advice for organizations that lack diversity. Here's my response.
Here’s a 4-step plan for companies lacking diversity:
- Realize that lack of diversity is a problem that needs to be solved fast.
- Start measuring and publishing these numbers (at least internally). The numbers will reveal how severe the problem is.
- Prioritize diversity and invest in increasing diversity in the organization at all levels.
- Continue to measure diversity at regular intervals to determine which initiatives are helping improve diversity and which are not.
Step 3 is the hardest part - this is where organizations falter. Some tips for step 3:
- The prioritization of diversity and investment in it should come right from the top of the organization (for example, the CEO). Any efforts at the grass roots level will only go so far.
- Organizations should review their HR and benefits policies to ensure these are competitive in the market place and effective/useful for diverse groups of employees (for example, Flex time, good parental leave policies, remote working capabilities and so on). Sometimes, these “policy” changes could include tiny, little things that are often overlooked – like designated parking for expectant mothers.
- Organizations should revisit their recruitment practices to ensure they are free of conscious and unconscious biases (for example, review job descriptions to ensure they appeal to all groups of people).
- Companies should invest in networking events and resource groups for the underrepresented groups in the organization.