As diversity and inclusion have been an important focus, businesses have made progress, but we still have to continue to dig deep to align our DEI initiatives with our everyday operations. Here’s where your focus should be in 2021 to stay ON Point and set your organization and team up for success:
Put your soft skills in play.
An ON Point leader knows emotional intelligence and empathy are crucial in today’s workplace. As they say, “We are all in the same storm, but on different boats.” All employees are affected by the ongoing pandemic, with external factors affecting their day-to-day work in different ways. Yet, women, especially women of color, have been hit hardest, with many even leaving the workforce to take care of their families.
As a leader, create space for open and honest conversations and allow your team to voice their concerns. This is essential to building an inclusive workplace. When leaders appropriately address different viewpoints at work, employees will feel supported by you and the organization.
You can’t fix what you don’t know, and you must keep your pulse on these issues to put support structures in place. Remember that an organization’s success is directly linked to its employees!
Diversity among teams is a win for everyone.
Diversity has been at the forefront for a few years, and the results have demonstrated wins across the board.
Drawing on many lived experiences and viewpoints, diverse teams are often more creative and innovative, outperforming homogenous teams and generating more revenue. These diverse viewpoints will also ensure you’re speaking to and reaching a wider, inclusive audience for organizations offering services or products.
Lived experiences and viewpoints long underrepresented will not only find a place to be amplified, but these will be heard by the rest of the team, creating a natural environment of learning, bettering each of your employees and your workplace culture.
Address unconscious bias.
Guess what? We all have unconscious bias. To build diverse teams and take various viewpoints and lived experiences into account, leaders must recognize their own unconscious bias so they do not form their decisions. As a leader, it starts with you. You can minimize the effects of unconscious bias across your team and your organization.
In its simplest form, you can put yourself in their shoes. If the roles were reversed, how would you feel? You can cultivate a cultural atmosphere where unconscious bias is openly discussed without judgment. Diversity training can aid in this, as well as help educate your employees. You can revise your hiring process to ensure you’re giving a diverse pool of candidates the opportunity to apply. You can conduct blind interviews to help diminish your hiring team’s unconscious bias.
Walk the talk.
Your actions must represent your words. If you’re expressing the importance of representation, ask yourself if you have proper representation within your leadership team. Within your board. Within your teams. Within your internship program.
Need an example? Millions of young girls across the country have been told for years that they can be anything they want to be. It’s easy to hear, but hard to believe when you don’t see examples of it. The day our first Madam Vice President was sworn into office, those millions of young girls now see that they, too, can be anything they want – including The Vice President of the United States of America!
It’s more than diversity; equity needs to be a focus.
Businesses have made great strides towards diversity by increasing representation of people from diverse backgrounds, and inclusion by creating space for all voices, but this is only a small piece of the puzzle. More can be done!
By recognizing that we don’t all start from the same place due to barriers, equity ensures everyone has access to the same opportunities. This takes a deep, internal look at your practices, programs, placements, and employee resources to determine where the inequality is and correcting it.
ON Point Next Level Leadership can ensure that your DEI initiatives and employee resource groups are #ONPoint and providing value to your employees and attracting and retaining top talent.