Twenty Ways to Integrate Diversity into your Company Culture
Are you having people-related issues in your workplace? Do you know if you're having issues or not?
If you are in a position to make policy: find out the issues and their underlying causes, and create more inclusive policies and procedures. Are there grievances? Find solutions. Admit mistakes and work towards a better future. Use outside help if you need it. Identify and reach specific benchmarks along the way. The message comes from your level and trickles downward, so mind what you say and do. You cannot afford to lose staff or clients over misunderstandings.
If you are in a position to hire: specifically ask yourself what type of viewpoint would benefit your team. Who's at your decision-making table? Who's missing? Find someone different from your current circle: they will diversify the information available to you.
If you are in a position where you are being abused or discriminated against in your workforce: now is the time to document and file a report. Information is power, and the more you understand the issue and explain it, the better you can improve your situation.
Many times, people feel powerless because they don't have enough information to deal with a situation, or they don't feel like they have an ability to change their situation. We always have choices and we foster abilities in other people when we offer multiple choices.
Always remember that education is the key, and change may come as a result of small building blocks that, added together, create a strong edifice. Some suggestions include: adding a grievance box, utilizing an ombudsperson, adding relevant sections to your manual, posting calendar events like heritage months and religious holidays, hiring diverse staff, training your managers, and disciplining (or firing) people who display hostile behaviors.
1) Replace one of the photos on your marketing materials with a picture of a person of color
2) As you grow your staff, make a specific effort to recruit women and minorities to apply
3) Expand your client base by networking in circles outside of your typical routine
4) Present at, host, sponsor, or join a group devoted to women of color in business
5) Check your Policies and Procedures and make sure you have systems in place to deal with potential misunderstandings
6) Do you offer your products/services in different flavors, colors, and styles? Make sure you have an option that "matches" what your potential customers want. Listen to customer feedback to take care of your existing base.
7) Get a women of color onto your board or advisory group
8) Develop a mentorship program for new staff: help build teams and "buddies" to retain your employees
9) Did you know that some cultures recognize a third gender, which is when a man or woman prefers to dress or act like the opposite sex? You might consider how to re-organize your personnel areas: perhaps adding a "unisex" bathroom or non-gendered changing area or lounge would work.
10) Make sure your management team represents different viewpoints and backgrounds: find unity within your diversity.
11) Translate your brochures into Spanish, Chinese, or Braille (or something different, depending on your community) and offer them alongside your regular brochures
12) Add a conversion chart for any numbers, currencies, or metrics on your website
13) Add pictures where people are different races, genders, and ages
14) Increase the font size by two points: older eyes appreciate it!
15) Decrease your jargon, technospeak, or slang by 50%: everyone will appreciate this! Say what you need to say clearly and succinctly.
16) Add coffee, tea, cocoa, herbal tea, and juice at your snack bar or kitchen. Not everyone likes or is allowed to have caffeine.
17) Encourage a creativity contest, hang new pictures on the walls, or allow people to personalize their own areas: if everything looks the same, you're headed towards blandness, decreased creative thinking, and a reduced competitive edge. Celebrate unity within diversity.
18) Recognize cultural and religious holidays in the newsletter, calendar, or in your e-mail announcements. People might not be affected but they'll be reminded!
19) Focus on an employee of the month and highlight their career, their job responsibilities, and how they came to be a part of your team.
20) Write it into the manual. Make sure you expressly state the company's position on religious and cultural holidays: when you show that you value your employees by giving them time and flexibility, they will value working with you.
Diversity is key to your company's success in the 21st century and beyond. If you want more ideas from ASuccessfulWoman.com, subscribe to our newsletter: