Organizational Culture & Values

5-point action plan for building a more inclusive workplace

inclusive workplace team

How do you reach your diversity and inclusion goals? Build an action plan.

Multiple perspectives, bold and varied ideas, increased innovation and working with an assortment of people from different backgrounds has its advantages. If your company isn’t as diverse as you know it should be, now’s your chance to do better. Does this seem like a daunting, overwhelming task?  Diversifying your organization doesn’t have to be stressful, especially when you develop and implement an action plan.

Let’s take a look at solutions to some commonplace issues that you can pursue to move your company closer to becoming a more diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace.

 1. Reevaluate your hiring and recruiting strategies.

  • Analyze your recruiting techniques.
  • Connect with minority businesses, business owners and industry professionals when you have open positions.
  • Do hiring managers typically hire those who look like them? Discuss how to address the issue.
  • Rethink your employee referral program to encourage a wider talent pool. Avoid unintentionally excluding minority groups and external candidates by consciously assessing all applications submitted internally and from outside recruiting sources

2. Establish employee resource groups (ERGs) or clubs within the workplace

  • ERGs consist of team members who share mutual or similar traits, backgrounds or interests. They can provide greater visibility to certain groups, particularly those who are underrepresented in a particular industry or within a company.
  • Employees volunteer for and lead these groups, which can help foster career advancement and professional development, employee engagement and loyalty.
  • Rather than distracting from the mission, ERGs intentionally align with the organization’s goals. They also partner with leadership to identify ways the group can carry out the company’s goals while also advancing a commitment to diversity and inclusion.

3. Create inclusivity in your leadership roles

  • Make sure diversity doesn’t begin and end in entry and mid-level jobs. When there are diverse groups of people in upper management roles, it shows that all perspectives and types of people are represented when decisions are made.

4. Build a diversity task force

  • Entrust these individuals to lead the charge on all things related to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Request their assistance with helping your organization exercise best practices.

5. Encourage open, reflective, empathic listening by your own example.

  • Embrace vulnerability in yourself and others.
  • Abstain from demonstrating defensiveness when approaching inclusion initiatives.
  • Be willing to learn from other people’s perspectives as well as your own possible past mistakes.

The bottom line

Reaching your workplace diversity, equity and inclusion goals is not a sprint – it’s a marathon.

With that in mind, just know this sort of workplace transformation requires patience, persistence and commitment. Change won’t happen in an instant. But you can begin shaping future change as early as today.

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About the Author: Aisha Thompkins

Aisha Thompkins has over 16 years of combined HR experience in both public and private sectors. Her areas of expertise are EEO law, employment best practices, leadership development, diversity and inclusion, and or

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