When working with diversity and inclusion, workplaces need to focus not only on the mix of their workforce, but also on creating an inclusive organizational culture and ensuring that internal processes are designed to support the work with diversity and inclusion.
Efforts are needed on an organizational level, but the practical work also includes to review our behavior towards each other in the workplace – are our behaviors inclusive? – as well as raising awareness and challenging our biases and attitudes.
How to do this? Important steps in the work with diversity and inclusion in the workplace are:
- Management’s commitment and that top management signals that this work is important and long-term. The management signals both through their communication, that they communicate about diversity and inclusion over time, but also through their own behaviors, who they recruit, who they promote, etc. It is important that top management follow-up subordinated managers regarding diversity and inclusion, for the implementation to progress and be long-term. The follow-up can be quantitative and qualitative measures, if activities have been carried out, etc.
- Identify your organizations “why?” – in what ways diversity and inclusion are beneficial/crucial for your business and operations. What is your organization’s business case for diversity and inclusion? Communicate your organization’s “why?” and discuss in the entire organization what the respective business areas’/departments’ “why?” are.
- Increase everyone’s – both managers and employees – knowledge and awareness of diversity and inclusion. Different groups may need different amounts of training. Initially, specific training about diversity and inclusive workplaces may be needed, but in the long term, this should be integrated in existing training, such as introductory courses, leadership training, etc. Train and develop your own internal resources. As they get a deeper knowledge of diversity and inclusion they can be used as internal consultants/experts/support.
- Focus on inclusion, to create an inclusive organizational culture. Reflect on and develop the norms and behaviors of the organization. Are norms and behaviors inclusive? Ensure that appreciation of differences is part of your culture.
- “Quality and diversity”-assure processes and procedures. Such as HR processes (recruitment, training and development, career mobility, succession planning, etc.), customer processes (customer service, products, services, etc.), R&D/Innovation processes.
- Ensure that both the internal and external communication is in line with the commitment to diversity and an inclusive culture. What, how and where do we communicate? Who communicates, in what context?