.nav li ul { width: 300px; }#top-menu li li a { width: 240px; }

Part 1: Setting Yourself Up to Become Unbeatable

Defining Diversity & Inclusion

Before we dive deep into the power of Diversity and Inclusion, let’s take a second to establish our terms and clarify what D&I actually looks like.

  • Workplace Diversity: The practice of hiring, promoting, and building a team in a way that brings together people of different backgrounds, educations, personal histories, experiences, and areas of expertise.
  • Workplace Inclusion: The practice of ensuring diverse voices are fully comfortable, integrated into, and valued as members of a thriving, complementary, interdependent team.

To be clear, diversity is nothing without inclusion! It’s pointless and somewhat dishonest to build a diverse team only to maintain a leadership framework where a certain “in-group” maintains the power to impactfully steer the ship while a nominally diverse team underneath them feels disenfranchised or fearful.

Why Diversity and Inclusion Build the Best Possible Team

The true potential of humanity lies in our ability to come together and build a unit that’s more powerful than the sum of its parts. A group of people from similar backgrounds, educations, and ways of navigating the world might be able to put their heads together to come up with one, two, or even three ways of solving a given problem, but when you invite professionals of diverse backgrounds to the table, the possibilities are far more open-ended.

When businesses make diversity and inclusion main values and priorities, they can gain incredible benefits, includes:

  • Increased brainstorming/innovation potential
  • More access to outside-the-box problem-solving
  • A wider skill and knowledge base across the organization
  • A thinktank and business team that accurately reflects the national and global marketplace

Building a Foundation for a Great Team

There’s no magic recipe you can learn to turn D&I into areas of pride and opportunity for your business, but the key is to foster a strong culture. If that culture is one that values diversity of people and ideas, fights for representation and inclusion in every situation, and works to give everybody a voice, then you can really capitalize on the innovative power of D&I.

Workplace culture determines both the levels of buy-in, engagement, and persistence your team will put into their work on a day-to-day basis, their feeling of personal investment and their job, and the dedication they put into embracing and maintaining the company culture. Great talent wants to work in a culture that supports them and sets them up for success. When they encounter a situation where they don’t feel comfortable, valued, or positively plugged in, they leave quickly.

Creating a Level Playing Field Through Education

While diversity hiring programs are nearly ubiquitous in the big business world, they often lack the crucial, consistent ground-level follow-through (inclusion) that turns that diversity into business power. Employee education (in the form of in-house training or formal professional development) is a key piece of the puzzle when it comes to shaping your existing culture into the kind of inclusive environment that sets the business up to win big with D&I.

Of course, you can’t just do diversity and anti-harassment education to check them off the list for compliance purposes – employees can smell that from a mile away, and it directly affects their ability to engage authentically with the training and reflect on the information in a way that’s going to augment their mindset or behavior at work. Discussions of diversity and inclusion need to be powerful, real, and backed by thought-provoking human-to-human engagement – not a comprehension quiz at the end.

Designing and building that education program is a key step in articulating, fostering, and supporting a great employee culture. When you give great talent something important to aspire to and make it real for them, the possibilities are endless. At the same time, worker education creates a foundation for accountability and makes it easier to remove toxic mindsets that do damage to inclusion or morale.

Don’t Hesitate to Be Great!

The biggest mistake organizations make is waiting to articulate the perfect approach to D&I. Every business can and should be doing something about diversity and inclusion at scale today. If you think diversity training or inclusion workshops would be valuable to your team, seek out a great independent PD provider who can help you today – don’t form a committee to discuss what the training might look like two years from now.

Of course, long-term initiatives are key to harnessing diversity and inclusion as business strategies over time, but the best thing any organization can do from a talent-centric and corporate decency standpoint is to identify a starting point and dig into exploring the challenge and addressing the issues at hand.

In the next section of this book, we’ll explore some of the thinking points and strategies businesses can use to find a starting point for their D&I program, articulate a commitment to diversity and inclusion and begin creating that great culture and winning team. Depending on the size, industry, or existing culture of your business, some of these approaches might be more relevant or feasible early-on in the process than others, but any of these strategies will help you grow in your ability to embrace D&I in a powerful, data-driven way.

Part 2: Planning to Become Unbeatable

Share This