5 Steps to Creating an Inclusive Company Culture
If you are in the business world and haven't been hiding under a rock, you will know that diversity within company culture is a huge topic and boarder line trend being pushed into the business limelight.
Major corporations like Google, Facebook, and LinkedIn have all put out there diversity reports, showing how not diverse there companies are. Good ole boy Venture Captilist firms are being sued for discrimination because of diversity or lack there of. More and more companies are tapping people to become Directors of Diveristy or even Chief Diveristy Officers.
Diversity is finally a true focal point of the conversation, but there is only a whisper about the ever so important counterpart to diversity...inclusion.
Shifting company culture to become more diverse has to include inclusion. Your company can have a rainbow of people, a well balanced ratio of gender, and a concoction of varying ages---but if you don't have systems in place that revolve around inclusion...well your company is missing the beautiful part of diversity.
1) Start from the Top. Now We're There!
Unlike rapper Drake and his comrades, cultural shifts do not start from the bottom. Just like anything that evolves, pivots, or shifts a business it has to start with vision from the top level. The company leadership has to genuinely believe in diversity and inclusion in order for it to trickle down and impact the broader employee base and affect the culture. It is also imperative that your leadership is composed of a diverse group. If there is no diversity in leadership then your D&I efforts are subject to groupthink...which means every one views things with same perspective.
2) Get HR Off Their Ass!
There is an abundance of talent out there and HR recruiters and hiring staff need to get off their ass and go out and find the talent. Consider developing a system that fosters people's different perspectives. When looking to fill a position, think about how this persons life experience can impact the role. How does their perspective differ from the majority and can that become an asset? Deploy mentors and support networks within the company and forge ways to integrate their ideas into the grand company culture.
3) Build Inclusion Like Any Other Company Product
Companies should approach inclusion with the same innovative, iterative, and metric-driven process as they would when developing a new product or services. Everything starts with a comprehensive strategy for advancing diversity and inclusion. You start by focusing on removing the barriers to diversity and then you integrate inclusion by honing in on the people operations process. Figure out the best practices for recruiting, performance reviews, promotions, and most importantly keep track on how your efforts are impacting the cultural vision.
4) Be Self Aware And Willing To Change
If your company has it's products on the shelves in stores across the country, yet your company workforce does not reflect the diverse people you serve...then that should be a clear cut sign that something has to change. If recruiting diverse talent as employees is a problem (which it shouldn't be if you refer back to step 2), create a diversity supplier platform for the company and utilize it. Acknowledge that you have to do better, then start doing better.
5) Educate, But Don't Mandate!
One of the worst things to do is force diversity and inclusion on your team or workforce. Mandating D&I and making it into a "company program" will result in meaningless, generic, and pointless outcome. You should develop ways to educate people by embracing differences, but focusing on the commonality and how it impacts the business as well as the people you serve. Diversity and Inclusions has to grow organically and should be viewed as a cultural movement, not a half-ass program that everyone views as lackluster and irrelevant.
We all have bias and are products of our environment as well as up bringing, but regardless of all that makes us different we have far more things in common. At the end of the day it is about the human experience---one that built on understanding, venerability, genuineness, and respect. That is how you really create an inclusive company culture that matters.