Encouraging Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace

During the first weekend of February, Harvard Business School’s African American Student Union organized the 44th Annual H. Naylor Fitzhugh Conference. Attendees discussed many ways for organizations to spur important conversations by engaging employees in diversity and inclusion initiatives in the workplace. Here are three identified best practices:

    • Recruit: Set data-driven diversity goals to promote transparency in hiringIt’s imperative that companies be transparent about where they are and where they’re hoping to go in terms of recruiting a diverse staff. Management (not just the D&I team) should sit down and scrutinize the numbers just as it would any other business opportunity. Once the targets are determined, providing progress updates will demonstrate to interested parties that this is a real business priority and give everyone accountability in seeing the goals accomplished.
    • Retain: Establish employee groups to foster camaraderieEmployee resource groups provide a setting for employees to convene with people who are passionate about elements of minority identity. Having these affinity groups accessible and active is significant for retaining diverse talent. In order to reap the full benefits of the groups, management should invest in the establishment of signature events and regular programming to bring multiple employee groups together as well as to engage the larger employee population.
    • Recognize: Invest in high-performers to prove commitment to diversityIn order to help diverse talent thrive, organizations should coordinate workshops or retreats to engage with minority employees and seek their perspectives and candid feedback. In addition to being a tangible investment in high-performing employees, these gatherings bring diverse talent into the conversation about the company’s future success.

Leaders in corporate America have a great opportunity to promote inclusive cultures by engaging employees in efforts to ensure organizational diversity. With employee enthusiasm and involvement, these best practices can help them do so.

Natalie is one of the leaders of Powell Tate’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Perspectives. Her previous post on racial discourse can be found here: “Pushing for Progress on Racial Discourse during #BlackHistoryMonth.”

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