Organizations are like sponges.
The messages leadership sends through an organization get repeated and ultimately come out in what associates do and sometimes even end up believing. I’ve found that when we positively reinforce the types of things we want to see; they begin to happen more and more — and sometimes at an exponential rate.
Whether we like it or not, people can be turned off by the diversity and inclusion conversation. They can immediately put up walls based on their own set of beliefs or experiences. I believe the fastest way to get the ball rolling is to share concrete examples of how and when a diverse workplace has helped a team perform at a higher level and then celebrate these stories by sharing them throughout the company.
Leaders must intentionally create an environment where associates feel they can safely express themselves and where specific concerns can be raised with transparency and confidence.
This means building a culture of trust and feedback.
One of my personal fears is that without a diverse workplace we defer top talent. Consider that ideal candidate that has everything you’re looking for.
They want to work at your organization, but when they come in for the interview they don’t see or interact with anyone they can identify with. And because of that, they may question whether they will be welcome or able to thrive. This thinking could lead them to accepting a job elsewhere.
The climate of the era
I was recently on an airplane and watched the movie On the Basis of Sex. In it was this quote “A court ought not be affected by the weather of the day, but will be by the climate of the era.” Meaning laws should not be rewritten based off trends, but as society systemically changes over the course of a long period of time, laws may need to be modified.
I deeply believe that the diversity and inclusion conversation is not the weather of the day, but the climate of the era. Therefore, just as laws must change, so must business.
Giving everyone a voice
At Luck Companies we use a tool called Insights Discovery. It’s a personality assessment that helps identify personal style preferences and those of others. We have found Insights to be incredibly effective across backgrounds and roles. The Insights Discovery methodology uses a simple and memorable four-color model to help people understand their style, their strengths and the value they bring to the team. A better understanding of self and others means that relationships at work can become vehicles for, not barriers to, business success.
Insights reinforces the value that different styles, perspectives and experiences bring. We’ve used this tool to construct teams across the organization and have seen the positive results when we have teams built with a mixture of style preferences. Our teams have seen this work and believe in the philosophy.
As leaders, our job is to take this same mindset and broaden it to all types of diversity. Because a more diverse and inclusive workplace is better for everyone.
Steve Case once said “We need everybody on the field, actively participating. We are not going to be able to maintain our lead as the most entrepreneurial nation in the world if half of our population is on the sidelines. We need to be far more inclusive.”
By building more inclusive workplaces, organizations can bring the best talent forward and gain the competitive edge. How are you building a more inclusive workplace culture?