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Driving Organizational Change Through Diversity and Inclusion

For years, organizations have been focused on implementing diversity and inclusion programs as part of their cultural fabric. Diversity hiring has become a cornerstone component of talent acquisition strategies because it’s clear that having diverse employees enables organizations to understand and view things from different perspectives and experiences. Different backgrounds lead to a variety of ideas, knowledge and new ways of doing things.

A study by McKinsey indicated that organizations with rich gender and ethnic diversity are 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.

As a Minority-Owned Business (MBE), diversity and inclusion are at the center of Aditi’s mission. Our internal research backs up our own belief that diverse teams lead to better overall company performance, enabling us to better meet the needs of our clients and consultants.

One step we’ve taken is by partnering with a few local organizations whose sole focus is to identify diverse talent, including but not limited to military veterans, people of color, refugees and individuals with disabilities. Through these partnerships, we’ve been able to match talented individuals with opportunities at Fortune 500 companies – opportunities that would have previously been out of reach. Our clients are reaping the benefits, quickly driving value and hitting growth goals.

If you’re still on the fence about incorporating D&I programs or maybe you’re just unsure of how to start, here are some strategies we’ve implemented for creating a diverse, inclusive workplace.

Find Talent in New Ways

The way we work has shifted, possibly forever, and so it makes sense that the way we source candidates needs to change, too. While the latest talent reports would have you believe there’s no available talent anywhere, it’s just not true. We know that in 2018, the unemployment rate for persons with a disability rose to 8% compared to the unemployment rate of people without a disability, which was just 3.7% in 2017.

There are a growing number of excellent resources for companies looking to ensure their recruiting efforts take into account diverse candidates. Here are some organizations providing valuable resources and doing great work in the diversity space:

Establish a Culture of Belonging

While the term “inclusion” often gets tied directly with diversity, the definitions are different. SHRM defines inclusion as “the achievement of a work environment in which all individuals are treated fairly and respectfully, have equal access to opportunities and resources, and can contribute fully to the organization’s success.” According to Built In, “When employees perceive their organization as committed to diversity and inclusion, and they actually feel included, employees are 80% more likely to rank their employer as high performing.”

If your employees and/or colleagues can’t see themselves represented in your organization, what’s their incentive to stay? Having a diverse workforce is simply a first step – including those individuals in the vision, planning and execution of your organizations goals is where you reap the real benefits.

Understand Your Blind Spots

Launching quarterly company-wide surveys provides employees with an opportunity to share feedback that can both be helpful and validate whether or not the programs in place are having the desired outcome. These surveys can also help illuminate areas that need special attention or focus, ensuring the culture stays strong and employee morale stays high. Without a feedback mechanism in place, no matter how well-intentioned your D&I program may be, you’ll never truly be able to understand whether you’re meeting the needs of your employees.

These are just small pieces of the larger puzzle that diversity and inclusion programs represent. So, I’d love to hear from you! Please share in the comments some strategies or best practices you’ve experienced when it comes to diversity and inclusion.