Amid evolving return-to-work plans, the Great Resignation and other uncertainties, Global Diversity Awareness Month is an opportunity for HR leaders to gauge the progress of their organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and consider changes to strengthen DEI in 2022 and beyond. These 5 actions can help:
1. Start with tone from the top
A familiar phrase in the ethics and compliance world, tone from the top is also key to creating and maintaining an effective approach to DEI. Effective leaders are able to drive the principles of inclusion across the organization — from core values and code of conduct to business operations. By being visible and proactive in supporting DEI, senior management demonstrate that treating others with respect and dignity is at the heart of building a strong, inclusive and ethical culture.
2. Integrate DEI into the organization’s business strategy
To have long-term impact, DEI should be clearly defined so that everyone understands what it means to the organization and how it fits into the overall business strategy, priorities and operations. And like any successful initiative, DEI should have its own budget, resources and measurable goals.
3. Involve frontline managers
While tone from the top is critical, managers are on the frontlines of the DEI journey. Through their daily interactions, one-on-one conversations and team meetings, managers are in a unique position to see and hear what’s working and what isn’t, and give valuable feedback to senior executives. Managers are also pivotal in fostering psychological safety and a sense of belonging — two mileposts along the DEI journey.
4. Promote a speak-up culture
A speak-up culture that’s aligned with an organization’s values and overall culture helps break down barriers to honest communication, and reassure employees that their concerns and complaints will be taken seriously. For managers and HR, a speak-up culture reinforces their responsibility to promptly address reports of harassment, discrimination, bullying and other unacceptable behaviors and avoid retaliation.
5. Replace check-the-box diversity training
Like any content created to engage employees, diversity training should approach DEI in ways that are relatable to their everyday experiences. Behavior-based training goes beyond simply raising awareness. It involves deepening employees’ and managers’ understanding of the different types of behaviors that promote or impede DEI — and what it means to think and act inclusively — whether interactions are in-person or online. This includes recognizing and managing unconscious bias and microaggressions and understanding the benefits of cultural competency, empathy and allyship.
Global Diversity Awareness Month is an opportunity for organizations to raise awareness, highlight progress and identify ways to drive positive changes along their DEI journey.
Sign up for a free trial of our online Diversity, Equity and Inclusion course: