Diversity in the workplace has now become an essential and integral part of any organisation. Many companies are subscribing to it and it has been observed how workplace diversity has contributed to an organisation’s overall success, industry competitiveness, achievement of financial targets, as well as the employees’ well-being and reduction of employee attrition.
In order to achieve diversity in the workplace, it has to start from the top. The ideology of diversity and inclusion has to be reflected especially in the leadership teams. When employees see that their leadership teams are composed of different backgrounds, race, ethnicity, and gender, this encourages the rest of the organisation to promote diversity in all that they do.
As leadership teams push for diversity, the organisation has to ensure that the succession plan also reflects diversity in its composition. This will ensure continuity of the diversity in its ideas and culture, as well as identify potential successors early on. So how can organisations build diversity in their leadership?
Re-align the Organisation’s Corporate Objectives, Strategy, and Vision
It is essential to reinforce to the organisation the importance of having a diverse set of talents in the workplace. Driving this culture will set the proper mindset and behaviour to recognise how differences in individual background and preferences can improve work effectiveness, collaboration, trust, and transparency. The diversity-driven culture encourages equality and inclusion in the workplace.
Revisit Recruitment Process
Recruitment activities, while considering the skills and experience, should also make a candidate’s personal background and preferences one of the top priorities during hiring. This will ensure that a talent pool of successors with diverse representation is being developed along the way. Bringing balance between the criteria of diversity and skills when selecting candidates should be carefully practised.
Implement Leadership Development Programs
Part of an employee’s development should not only focus on the technical skills but more importantly on the qualitative parts such as behaviour and culture. Establishing formal education, mentoring, and coaching programs across different levels of the organisation will immerse the employees in the importance of diversity and practising it in the real world. Developing oneself will equip an individual with useful and great leadership skills.
Drive cultural transformation
One of the most important changes an organisation can do is transform its culture. Promoting diversity as part of the organisation’s culture should be consistently nurtured to ensure that it becomes part of the employee’s mindset and behaviour. Integrating these key cultural changes will form part of the entire organisation’s total outlook and ways of working.
Encourage open conversations
Engaging employees with regular dialogues in order to get their feedback on their view on diversity, as well as areas for improvement, will enable the promotion of diversity in the workplace. Getting feedback via surveys or discussions across the different levels in the organisation will secure critical insights whether the desired understanding or actual application has been achieved.
Promoting and achieving diversity in leaders in an organisation will take real determination and effort. Leaders have to serve as the model for encouraging diversity. Carrie Benedet can guide leaders and organisations to integrate diversity in the workplace.
Carrie is an experienced leadership coach and emotional intelligence expert. Drop her a message to get more insights on diversity and leadership.