Diversity and inclusion – how to get it right

Some guidelines for building a diverse and inclusive business.

The first step is to understand where you are in terms of workplace diversity and inclusion. Depending on the size of your firm, it may be helpful to run a staff survey – this will help you to gain some insights into how diverse and inclusive your own team feel the firm is, at present.

Take time to analyse the diversity of your current team. Consider past employees as well. Why did they leave? Could the firm have been more inclusive and if so, would they have stayed?

Once you have mapped out where you are, you can create objectives around where you want to be in the future. Do you have adequate policies in place? In order to ensure that diversity and inclusion is not just lip service, you need to make an inclusive culture part of the fabric of your business.

Take a top-down approach. Lead by example and ensure that your firm’s leadership team is diverse and inclusive. This sets the tone for the entire business. The leadership team should lead the way on creating a business that embraces a more diverse and inclusive culture.

Increasing the depth of your talent pool is key to building a more diverse and inclusive organisation. Take a look at your current recruitment processes. Could you improve the diversity of your workforce by adopting more inclusive approaches to hiring?

Perhaps you could invest in some unconscious bias training to help your recruitment team to overcome any biases that dictate the type of people that they hire.

Attracting, hiring and retaining a diverse mix of talented people are all crucial steps in building a more diverse and inclusive business. However it doesn’t stop there. You need to create career development opportunities as well. Leadership teams in businesses across most sectors often lack diversity, with non-white males occupying only a small percentage of senior roles. Achieving gender and racial equality in top level leadership roles starts with making diversity and inclusion a business priority, especially when it comes to career advancement opportunities. The management team should endeavour to create a sense of belonging for everyone in the firm. For each individual to bring the best version of themselves to work each day, a sense of belonging must first be established. Having a connection to a firm or a group of people results in greater engagement, productivity and creativity. The management team needs to communicate and be empathetic. As the battle for talent continues to frustrate businesses, employees are increasingly interested in working for firms whose diversity and inclusion initiatives are aligned to their values. If your firm can set the tone and stand out as a diverse and inclusive employer, attracting talented team members should become a little bit easier.