With the protests stemming from the Black Lives Matter movement taking the national spotlight, business leaders and HR teams are being forced to give more thought to the topic of diversity and inclusion. We’re at one of those points where we must ask ourselves whether we are really doing enough to create truly inclusive environments that leverage a diversity of experience, thought, gender, and race.

As recruiters, we have a lot of discussions with organizations seeking to develop a diversity recruiting strategy. While that’s a vital part of the process, it’s also crucial that we create a culture that welcomes, embraces and values real inclusion. Of course, building and changing culture is rarely as easy as it looks.

Here are some key things to consider when working to create an inclusive culture.

Get Team Members’ Buy-in by Making the Business Case First

One of the biggest reasons why D&I initiatives fail is because we don’t communicate why we are making the changes. People generally don’t like being told what to do, and they especially don’t like it if they don’t understand why or see the big picture.

For example, if you’re setting a new diversity requirement for a hiring project, communicate the tangible, direct benefits to your business. Share statistics on how diverse teams are often more profitable, more innovative, and more likely to succeed. Explain how diverse teams create a diversity of thought which gives us new ideas, new perspectives, and allows us to better understand our customers and audiences.

The business case for diversity is overwhelming – but it’s our job to communicate it to our teams.

This creates buy-in from all levels of the organization, which makes it much easier to achieve successful diversity initiatives. People need to understand that it’s not just about doing the right thing, but about doing the right thing for the business so it’s sustainable.

Get Feedback From Employees and Truly Listen

Every business is going to face unique challenges when it comes to D&I, so it can be hard to know what you need to do to create an inclusive culture. The best thing you can do is solicit feedback and truly listen to what people have to say – whether it’s good, bad, or neutral, you can’t fix the situation if you don’t understand how people feel. That’s part of why we are so focused on using people analytics to understand our team – understanding is the key to addressing our people challenges.

You can get feedback in a number of different ways, whether that’s one-on-one meetings, workshops, anonymous surveys, or a dropbox for suggestions. The key is to make sure you’re getting input from people in different departments at all levels of the organization. Oftentimes, one group can be highly diverse while another is more homogenous, which will affect responses.

Offer Concrete Support for Inclusion

Every organization preaches about how inclusive they are and how much they value people from all backgrounds. Unfortunately, that’s not always reflected in their actions. Organizations that truly embrace inclusion reflect diversity across all levels of the company. When you are looking at the mirror of your company, what does it show you?

When creating corporate policies that affect a diverse workforce, make sure you are considering differences. Be careful not to inadvertently exclude or alienate any segment of the population that makes up your team. If you choose to celebrate a holiday of your preference, provide the opportunity for others to celebrate theirs.

Talk is cheap – the policies or support you provide for inclusion will depend on your company and situation, but it’s important that you let your actions speak loudly.

Building Teams That Thrive for the Long Haul

Inclusion is one of many critical components of a winning team. In this turbulent market, businesses need every advantage they can get to adapt to change, drive results, and earn profits. HR needs to lead the charge in making that happen. If you’re looking for extra help recruiting for diversity or driving performance in the workplace, then our team is here to help.

Set up a consultation with our team today so we can learn more about your talent challenges and get started planning a solution. Click here to set up a call.