Create a Diversity & Inclusion Policy to Build Trust
By Rebecca Ferlotti
Diversity has become something of a requirement for businesses in 2019, with 67% of job seekers identifying “diversity” as an important factor in potential employers. There are different types of diversity you can support within your business – race, culture, age, lifestyle, ability, and gender, among other things – and having a healthy mix of these groups not only reflects the clientele you serve, but it also promotes creativity and trust among your employees.
Evaluate your current team and identify your diversity issues. Once you’ve identified areas for improvement, create a diversity and inclusion (D&I) policy to hold everyone accountable and foster equity within the workplace.
What is a diversity and inclusion policy?
A diversity and inclusion policy is a section within your employee handbook (and on your website!) that primarily states that no employee or prospective employee will face discrimination for any reason; they will solely be judged upon their qualifications for the job position.
The policy contains an overarching intention statement about the importance of diversity within your company. It also addresses specific areas of concern, how you plan on reaching a more diverse candidate pool, and diversity growth objectives.
An effective diversity and inclusion policy encourages a shared attitude between all employees of an organization, promoting equity.
How to get the word out
Once your D&I policy is finalized, write a press release to let people know your company has a program in place. Consider developing a diversity and inclusion task force to assist in holding team members accountable, or even appoint a diversity manager.
Employees talk. Develop programs they would appreciate that they are more likely to share with their networks, as employee referrals are a key source for diverse talent. A few examples of these kinds of initiatives include: creating a women’s group within your company to attract top female talent, broadening your geographical search for job candidates, and considering cultural sensitivity training so employees can develop a passion for team member-driven advocacy.
Test and reevaluate as you grow
After a few months with your new policy, determine your successes and pitfalls. How was the program successful, and how could it be improved? Seek out employee input and talk with your leadership team to understand how your D&I policy works at all levels within your company.
If your team is reluctant to change, check your company culture. Figure out if there is a root to any hesitation, hold meetings to discuss the policy, and provide training for team members to improve the transition to a more inclusive environment. It’s crucial everyone buys into the D&I program. Any policy violations should be taken seriously and handled as soon as possible.
Creativity, innovation, and profitability are all reasonable business-related reasons to implement a diversity policy. More importantly, the trust you build with your existing and prospective employees will take your company to the next level. A D&I policy reflects your office’s ideals – make sure the reflection is positive.