Practice What You Preach: How Any Organization Can Truly Embrace Diversity

Linda ReyesBlogging, Forbes Coaches Counsel

With as many as 41% of businesses saying they don’t have time to include diversity in their workplace, the need for inclusivity seems greater than ever. Many organizations claim to have a handle on diversity from within, but there is much more work that can be done to make all their employees feel like a part of a team.

There’s a lot to learn about diversity from a business perspective. Your organization needs to stay ahead of the curve and be a true leader when it comes to being truly inclusive. With a little effort and time, you can provide a work environment that your diverse staff will thrive in.

Fifteen members of Forbes Coaches Council weigh in on the steps organizations need to take to embrace diversity and actually “practice what they preach” regarding it. Here’s what they recommend:

1. Get Clear About Inclusion

Diversity plans are nothing without inclusion. Most of us understand the benefits and competitive advantages of a diverse workforce, yet we are challenged to be inclusive of the very diversity we create. So before you start mixing things up, get extremely clear about the culture you are trying to cultivate and why. – Susan Taylor, Generon International

2. Embrace Diversity From The Top Down

Organizations interested in diversity and inclusion must begin at the highest levels. The board, senior executives and upper-level management must reflect their diversity philosophy. In addition, training on diversity and inclusion should be mandatory for all employees on a regular basis. This should begin with orientation and continue each year. – Dr. Venessa Marie Perry, Health Resources Solutions, LLC

3. Set Realistic Goals And Definitions

Each company should set internal goals around what comprises “diverse” makeup of employees. For instance, some companies could become more diverse by hiring employees who have more socially conservative or liberal viewpoints. Other companies might benefit from hiring individuals with a different worldview or political background. And others may benefit from hiring more civilians or more veterans. – Billy Williams, Archegos

4. Motivate And Reward Diverse Players

Too many employers think their job is done by bringing in a robust set of cultures. Take things many steps further by identifying what matters to each team member and using it to realize how and what they’re really contributing. Call it out and continue to encourage performance according to their internal motivators. You might find a newly energized top performer in doing so. – Laura Smith-Proulx, An Expert Resume

5. Be The Change You Want To See

An easy start would be to remove names from candidate resumes. You will be looking at candidates based on merits. Then, be aware of biases during the interviews and set those aside. Ask yourself, “is this person qualified and a good fit?” If so, hire them and support them as they navigate through your work culture. Ensure others support them, as well. – Kari Price, The Art of Being a BOSS

6. Believe That Diverse Teams Are Stronger

You have to get to the point where you truly believe that diverse teams are stronger. A football team with 11 top quarterbacks or 11 top linemen will never beat a team made up of top players from different positions. Once you start believing this, you’ll be on the lookout for different ethnicities because you’ll know that they bring different ideas and viewpoints to your team. – Ruben Gonzalez,Olympian Motivation

7. Ditch The Sameness Mentality Attitude

Everyone thrives when people feel included, and this has a positive impact on the bottom line. Organizations that are stuck in the belief that diversity means numbers, quotas, and lowering of the bar, should ditch such thinking, move away from a “sameness mentality” attitude where everybody looks, acts and thinks alike, and embrace the collective expertise that diversity and inclusion bring. – Daisy Wright, The Wright Career Solution

Continue Reading on Forbes