Does Your Organization Embody Diversity? A Checklist for Managers
You’ve made every effort to reach out and connect with a broad cross-section of candidates. You’ve worked hard to develop workplace policies and practices that support your multicultural staff. Your organization’s commitment to diversity is a leading priority. But when it comes to making a genuine difference in your organization, is all of this really enough?
According to leading experts in the field, procedural changes are a major step towards true workplace diversity – but they’re not the whole story. It often takes a great deal of time, patience, and practice to successfully align an entire organizational culture with a set of diversity-friendly policies.
Practice Makes Perfect
In order to ensure that your workplace can fully reap the benefits of diversity, it’s important to periodically conduct “audits” of your organizational culture. According to Dr. Sondra Thiederman, diversity consultant and author of Making Diversity Work: 7 Steps for Defeating Bias in the Workplace, there are a handful of distinguishing characteristics that tend to set truly diverse organizations apart from their not-quite-there-yet competitors.
Is your organization getting the most out of its diversity-friendly policies? Have you made the leap from merely practicing to fully embodying a culture of diversity? Use this checklist of organizational characteristics to conduct your own diversity audit today.
A top-down commitment to diversity.
Time and time again, workplace diversity experts have emphasized the key importance of an organization-wide commitment to both the principles and the practice of diversity. Organizations that truly embody diversity display a boardroom-to-break-room level of buy-in. In this kind of atmosphere, everyone from top executives to frontline staff engages effortlessly in diversity-friendly practices.
A strategic outlook that leverages diversity.
Organizations that embody diversity incorporate the unique strengths, advantages, and benefits of a multicultural staff into their short- and long-range business tactics and strategies. They understand both the challenges and benefits of workplace diversity and address them in the business planning process.
Diversity-friendly branding, images, and communications.
Organizations that embody diversity have incorporated a diversity-friendly approach into every aspect of their operations and management, including branding and imaging. They recognize the importance of marketing collateral and communications that are respectful and reflect the diversity of both the workforce and consumers.
A robust network of diversity support systems.
Organizations that embody diversity have established a number of programs and policies designed specifically to address the unique needs of their multicultural staff members. These include mentorship programs, affinity groups, training and development programs, recruitment and retention initiatives, and others that make sense in context.
A reputation for diversity-friendly practices and policies.
Organizations that embody diversity tend to garner acclaim and recognition for their efforts. Although it may take time, community recognition and industry accolades are often a sure sign that an organization has made a meaningful commitment to diversity. In addition, organizations that embody diversity also leverage their commitment to multiculturalism as a selling point in the recruitment process.
How does your organization measure up? Take note of your strengths and weaknesses and devise an action plan to help you make up for any shortcomings. You’ll be glad you did!