Encouraging inclusion and diversity is no longer optional in today’s work world. Here are some ways you can get started.
Ask yourself the right questions
First, organizations must take a step back and assess their situation when it comes to inclusion and diversity, says Déborah Cherenfant, Regional Director of TD Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs segment and entrepreneurship strategist. “You have to ask yourself simple, but sometimes delicate, questions. For example, is our team representative of the company? Is it diverse? Does it make room for minorities?”
“For this soul-searching, we can turn to external resources, to help us better understand what blocks inclusion and diversity,” she adds. Is it a question of recruiting, openness, or of unconscious bias? “It can also help us understand, as a company, where we fit into this.”
Make a committee
“Who will oversee the various action points regarding diversity? Will it be management, or human resources?” asks Déborah Cherenfant. Basically, for an approach to be successful, you must identify those responsible, objectives, tools and a budget.
“It’s everyone’s responsibility, but you need leaders who will own the project – measure and implement various actions.”
Training and learning
Ideally, you need to train the entire team to make sure everyone is on the same page. “The essential starting point is to define the different concepts, like diversity, inclusion and equity,” Déborah Cherenfant lists off. “We can also address questions of supporters, unconscious bias and gender identity.
When these different terms are clarified, we determine the tools to be put in place. For example, should we add diversity to the recruiting committee to avoid discrimination? Introduce a checklist to limit bias? Establish quotas to increase representativeness in management positions?”
More specifically, Déborah Cherenfant suggests creating a twinning program between people from different backgrounds. “Organizations could set up a sponsorship system between high-ranking workers and others of diverse backgrounds to help them move up the ranks and share their experience.”
It is a concept that could help women break the glass ceiling, but that applies just as well to those who are poorly represented in positions of power, she believes.
In brief, we must ensure that, at all levels of the organization, workers will have the position they deserve. A long-term job that concerns everyone!