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Diversity and inclusion are the keys to creating a truly modern team that’s built to maximize each individual’s skills, shore up individual weaknesses, and build a powerful unit that can thrive, brainstorm, problem-solve, and celebrate achievements together. With that said, getting diversity and inclusion right is such an important responsibility that many HR and business leaders continue to hire for cultural fit, leaving a coordinated, purposeful D&I initiative for another day.

In order for businesses to succeed and innovate into the 2020s, that kind of thinking needs to stop. Each and every employer should be doing something at scale to encourage diversity and foster inclusion. The businesses that do not will soon stand to miss out on some of the world’s best talent and leave themselves exposed to costly lawsuits.In order to demystify the complexity of D&I and connect business and HR leaders with actionable strategies, Launchways recently held a free one-hour webinar, “Everything You Wanted to Know About Workplace Diversity & Inclusion but Were Afraid to Ask.”

The webinar featured an all-star panel of four of the Midwest’s leading experts on diversity and inclusion, each of whom provided crucial considerations and actionable strategies for businesses of any size or growth stage looking to improve their commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Rebekah Wolford of Paylocity began the conversation by articulating the importance of diversity and inclusion as prized values baked into the core of what your organization does and represents. She explained how D&I initiatives all about building the “We” that’s going to maximize company potential and customer experience.

Rebekah also provided a valuable real-world case study for D&I success by walking through how she and her team planned, initiated, and built an impactful diversity and inclusion program at Paylocity. She discussed…

  • How to use surveys and HCM data to build an understanding of the current state of D&I at your organization
  • Which data points should be most important to your D&I planning and assessment
  • How to create a comfortable space in which employees and leadership can challenge each other
  • How to be sure you’re practicing inclusive behaviors and creating a strong culture
  • How to use employee resource groups (ERGs) as an on-going part of a D&I strategy
  • How to create and provide meaningful D&I training for your team

Rada Yovovich of The Darkest Horseshared some of her wisdom as an expert diversity and inclusion consultant, expanding on the vital importance of strong company culture and discussing how businesses can work towards getting there from any starting point.

Rada stressed that the workplace is an unintentional “bias factory,” which presents an unwelcoming or additionally challenging situation for diverse talent. She specifically discussed how organizations can work to identify and eliminate bias in their job postings, hiring interactions, and performance management evaluations. She also explained…

  • How to build buy-in for your D&I program by making it authentic to, designed for, and reflective of your organization’s existing culture
  • How to use employee engagement to drive forward the culture and team you aspire to
  • How to recognize, address, and eliminate the unconscious bias that works against diversity and inclusion
  • How to provide non-judgmental employee assessments by staying grounded in functional competencies
  • How to create a documentation trail that protects your business in compliance scenarios

Dr. Renee McLaughlin of Cignadrew upon her years of experience as an LGBTQ+ inclusion and healthcare professional to emphasize the importance of proactive planning in corporate D&I. Whether it’s an early-stage organization devising a plan for maintaining their strong culture if a merger or buyout occurs or choosing which healthcare offerings will ideally support your team, the best answer is to have a clear, powerful plan in place.

Renee also provided tremendous insight into the necessity of transition resources for professionals in any workplace. That means having a policy-backed transition plan, proactively working to ensure the safety of trans professionals, and providing healthcare offerings that provide trans team members with the best opportunity to be their authentic selves at work. She specifically discussed…

  • Why diversity and inclusion are especially relevant for early-stage businesses
  • How to work toward combining cultures in a positive, authentic way during a business merger scenario
  • How early stage companies can plan proactively to reduce these challenges
  • How to proactively address the needs of LGBTQ+ employees, particularly transgender team members, through company policies and insurance offerings
  • Which specific terms need to be included in your policies
  • How to plan to address resistant beliefs in LGBTQ+ inclusion scenarios
  • The importance of understanding all local laws related to LGBTQ+ rights, particularly for multi-site corporations

Alex Koglin of Launchways applied his expertise as a leading employee benefits consultant and LGBTQ+ rights activist in the Chicago area to provide specific insight into how you can build alignment between your benefits offerings and your commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Alex provided specific employee benefits recommendations that organizations can use to build the necessary support for diversity, inclusion, and transition that Renee, Rebekah, and Rada discussed. He explained…

  • How to create a strong, supportive D&I framework regardless of your personal feelings through employee benefits and healthcare offerings
  • The importance of benefits offerings that account for domestic partners and same-sex spouses
  • How to ensure your transgender employees’ healthcare needs are met
  • The importance of providing robust mental health coverage as well as physical healthcare
  • How to provide on-going health and wellness education to maximize team-wide well-being

    Get the Full Webinar!If you’re a business, HR, or finance leader looking to learn more about the potential of diversity and inclusion within an organization or connect with real strategies you can use to turn your business into a D&I powerhouse, be sure to check out the full “Everything You Wanted to Know About Workplace Diversity and Inclusion…” session here.

The hour-long diversity and inclusion webinar contains a wealth of knowledge on D&I topics, including…

  • The first steps of D&I initiative design
  • Strategies for fostering a company-wide culture of diversity and inclusion
  • How to back up diverse hiring with meaningful inclusion
  • How to view your employee benefits offerings through the lens of diversity and inclusion
  • How you can ensure your policies and procedures support LGBTQ+ talent to maximize their comfort and value
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