An Organization’s Checklist to Achieving Greater Diversity

Improve your workplace diversity by measuring progress in areas such as workforce diversity, hiring, engagement, cultural competency, inclusion, and policies.
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    An Organization’s Checklist for Diversity

    Creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace is not only an organizations duty to their community, but it also offers organizational opportunities such as improved employee engagement, retention, and productivity. To create an inclusive culture, leaders need to have a clear understanding of the current state of their company’s diversity and inclusion efforts and identify areas for improvement.

    In this article, we will provide a checklist that organizational leaders can use to determine their strengths and weaknesses, and guide them in making progress toward a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

    Let’s Create a Diverse Workforce

    In order to determine the strengths and weaknesses of your organizations efforts in this area, leaders can use the following checklist as a guide:

    Where Do You Currently Stand?

    Understanding the makeup of your current demographic is essential. Conducting an optional self-identification survey can provide valuable insights into the current diversity of the organization. This allows for a comprehensive understanding of the diversity of the workforce as a whole and how it is distributed among different levels of the organization. It is important to consider what the representation of diverse groups looks like across the board but more so at higher levels in the organization. For example, how is diversity distributed in leadership positions, or high-potential and high-growth positions within your organization? This offers the opportunity to reveal patterns of underrepresentation and bias in recruitment, retention, and promotion.

    Additionally, organizations should consider conducting an external benchmarking study of their industry to gain a macro-level understanding of demographic factors prevalent in their field. By comparing their internal diversity data to industry benchmarks, organizations can identify current gaps. For instance, if a tech company finds that the industry benchmark for women in leadership is 20%, and their own representation is lower, they can focus on closing that gap as a starting point. This approach allows organizations to tailor their diversity strategy more effectively.

    Organizations commonly focus on demographic points such as race, gender, age. Religion and disability status, but it is imperative to remember that these demographic points should only be a starting point. As the organization progresses on their diversity journey, they should also explore dimensions such as cultural diversity (socio-economic status, educational background) and workplace diversity (cognitive thinking, experience, and background). This broader perspective enables organizations to foster an inclusive environment.

    Dive Into the Hiring Process

    Recruitment and hiring practices play a crucial role in creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce. In order to assess how inclusive an organization’s recruiting and hiring practices are, leaders should examine several key areas.

    Sourcing of Candidates

    This includes where the organization looks for candidates and the methods used to attract them. The talent team should be responsible for ensuring that recruitment efforts reach candidates from diverse backgrounds and that outreach efforts are inclusive and not biased.

    Additionally, the use of unbiased language in job postings is an important factor to consider. Job postings should be written in an inclusive language, avoiding bias, stereotypes, or discriminatory language that might discourage certain groups of people from applying.

    Composition of Interview Panels

    It is important to ensure that the panel members are from diverse backgrounds and best reflect the community; this can help in preventing unconscious bias from creeping into the interview process as well as providing different perspectives on candidates.

    Employee Engagement and Retention

    Employee engagement and retention are important indicators of a healthy and inclusive workplace. In order to measure employee engagement and retention among diverse employees, organizations should track engagement and satisfaction levels, as well as turnover rates. Measuring employee engagement and satisfaction can involve:

    • Conducting surveys and/or focus groups to gather feedback from employees

      This can provide insight into how well the employees feel connected to the organization’s goals and culture, and whether they feel valued and respected. Leaders should pay close attention to the engagement and satisfaction levels of marginalized employees, as they may be more likely to experience discrimination in the workplace.

    • Tracking turnover rates

      Monitoring this among employees can provide insight into whether employees feel committed to the organization. High turnover rates among employees from diverse backgrounds can be an indicator of potential discrimination or marginalization and should be investigated further.

    Encourage Inclusion and Belonging

    Inclusion and belonging are critical components of creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. They refer to the extent to which employees feel welcomed, valued, respected, and have a sense of acceptance in the organization. To evaluate the level of inclusion and belonging, we recommend the following:

    Examine a Variety of Practices

    These practices can provide employees from diverse backgrounds with support, opportunities for growth, advancement, and a sense of community:
    • Mentorship

      A group of mentors can provide employees with guidance, advice, and a sense of belonging, as well as access to opportunities and networks that might not be available to them otherwise.

    • Networking opportunities

      Providing opportunities for employees from diverse backgrounds to connect with one another, as well as with employees from other backgrounds, can help foster a sense of community and belonging.

    • Employee resource groups (ERGs):

      These groups are employee-led and can be established to support specific demographic groups such as race, gender, sexual orientation, and more. They can provide employees from diverse backgrounds with support, representation, and a sense of community within the organization.

    Your Organization’s Policies

    Organizational policies and practices play a critical role in creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Reviewing and evaluating these policies and practices can help to ensure that they are inclusive and effective in promoting diversity and inclusion.

    One key area to review are policies and practices related to discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. These policies should be clearly outlined and communicated to all employees, and they should include procedures for reporting and addressing incidents of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation.

    Additionally, all organizations should also have a process for investigating and addressing such incidents and ensure that it is not only accessible, but employees feel safe and comfortable in reporting any incidents.

    An important aspect to review is the organization’s code of conduct. This document should outline the organization’s values and expectations for behavior and should be inclusive and non-discriminatory. The code of conduct should also address how the organization will respond to any behavior that is in violation of the code.

    The organization should also review its leave policies and benefits, such as parental leave, family leave, and time off for religious observances, and ensure that they are inclusive and accommodating for all employees, regardless of their backgrounds.

    Final Words

    In conclusion, we recommend that organizations start by understanding their current demographics and benchmarking against others. Identifying and working towards closing these opportunity gaps is a great way to start your organizational diversity and inclusion journey.

    The internal checklist presented in this article provides a guide for leaders to determine their strengths and weaknesses in achieving diversity and inclusion goals. By using the checklist to conduct a self-evaluation and identify areas for improvement, leaders can take steps to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.

    It is important to note that becoming an inclusive organization is not a one-time event or a simple box-checking exercise, it requires continued effort and commitment from both leadership and employees. Thus, it is essential to establish and nurture a culture of inclusion that supports the goal of a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Regularly revisiting and revising the checklist can be useful in tracking progress over time.


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