To truly foster a culture of diversity, equity and inclusion inside an organization, it is important for leaders to begin by first educating themselves on what that actually means.
To eliminate any systemic bias or outdated practices, executives and middle managers on every level also need to be fully invested in making every employee on their team feel comfortable being in their skin at work, have the ability to express themselves and are afforded the same opportunities to develop their skills and improve like everyone else.
Here are 11 tips from Forbes Human Resources Council members to consider if your company is trying to make a change for the better.
1. Facilitate A Hiring Process That Is Centered On Equity
A robust, inclusive hiring process centered on equity is key. Create an approach that focuses on quality, excludes no one and holds everyone accountable. Consider your decision makers: Is your search firm focused on inclusion? Does its own team reflect the diverse group of leaders you want in your organization? Next, ensure that the same standards apply to your own talent acquisition team and interview panel. – Tory Clarke, Bridge Partners
2. Implement Diversity And Inclusion In Your Core Values
The first step in avoiding tokenism is establishing diversity and inclusion as core values. Hiring managers truly invested in diversity can support the elimination of bias in everything from the attraction of candidates to outdated hiring criteria. Transparency and consistency in a structured interview process help eliminate bias and ensure inclusive hiring practices become part of an organization’s DNA. – Laurie Chamberlin, LHH
3. Choose The Best Job Candidate
Choose the best candidate for the job period. Regardless of race, religion, gender or whatever, this is a great starting point in which managers can foster a culture of diversity through their hiring practices in the workplace without being accused of tokenism. – Charissa Cromwell, Visual Connections L.L.C.
4. Diversify Your Candidate Selection Panel
Including more than one interviewer from a diverse group demonstrates authenticity and increases the likelihood of hiring from diverse backgrounds. Ask questions to learn how candidates will add to and not just fit your culture. Be sure to give all hires meaningful work and the chance to advance. Diverse hiring also requires equity and belonging efforts for existing employees to ensure success. – Mikaela Kiner, Reverb
5. Flag Biases In The Screening Process
Have standardized processes and scorecards with every candidate. Flag biases toward underrepresented groups, but only move forward with hiring if the candidate has demonstrated proficiency in the interview process. Provide examples. – Joana Oliveira, Elevated Coaching
6. Foster A Safe Space For Authentic Culture Expression
Too often organizations initiate DEI policies with the best of intentions. But, without having a clear strategy, it can become a series of random acts. Mindset coupled with conscious action can make an impact here. Set some ground rules, communicate them in advance and follow through. Work to establish an environment of acceptance where people know they can bring their authentic selves. – Gianna Driver, Exabeam
7. Appoint A DEI Council That Measures Company Efforts And Achievements
There’s a big difference between hiring for optics and fostering a true culture of diversity and inclusion. Employers should consider appointing a council of employees dedicated to DEI. This council should identify the company’s DEI shortcomings and create measurable goals for overcoming them. They should then report regularly to company executives on the progress of each DEI goal. – John Feldmann, Insperity
8. Gain A Clear Understanding Of Diversity
Having a clear definition and understanding of what diversity means helps leaders set the tone. Hold them accountable for thinking differently and stepping outside of their comfort zones. Managers should feel empowered in their hiring decisions and ensure they embrace everyone who becomes part of their team. With purposeful definition, they will change the makeup of their team and feel good about it. – Iman Abbasi, Plume Design, Inc.
9. Schedule Pre-Interview Meetings With The Hiring Team
Incorporate intentional DEI practices in every aspect of the recruitment and hiring process. For example, hiring managers with job vacancies are required to attend a meeting with me on best practices to recruit and hire talented diverse employees in our company. I also established a required “Pre-interview EEO Analysis” meeting with hiring managers to discuss the diversity of their applicants and interview pools. – Bridgette Wilder, Wilder HR Management & EEO Consulting
10. State Your Case For Representation
Managers should be grounded in the business case for representation. Two critical steps that are often skipped over are focusing on the mindset of each staff member through training and self-awareness and acknowledging that building a culture of inclusion will be an ongoing task. When implementing any recruitment or hiring practices with a diversity or equity lens, those practices should apply to each applicant and candidate. – Tina Enagbare, Peer Health Exchange
11. Educate Yourself On DEI Benefits And Possibilities
Managers need to educate themselves on the value of diversity and the benefits it can have for their teams and organization. Once they realize the benefits, they can then practice authenticity and be excited about the plethora of possibilities, benefits and value add of a truly diverse workforce. – Omar Alhadi, Adobe Care and Wellness