Today we hear in every facet of the media the term diversity and inclusiveness. Businesses are beginning to change their way of thinking to bring in people who do not look or act like them and this is a wonderful idea. They’re looking at inclusiveness and how they can impact their companies and thinking about how to incorporate diversity within their companies. We are having a conversation about diversity.
Let’s look at the word inclusiveness. It means the quality of including all sections of society. This definition is now being applied to businesses. Business leaders who embrace inclusiveness should ensure their teams feel included in every aspect of the business – regardless of gender, race or sexuality. For businesses to excel, companies must be open to different points of view and allow our personnel to express themselves.
Companies that embrace diversity with an inclusive employee culture have a competitive core business strength. Businesses that have honed their diversity and inclusion strategies will be able to outperform their industry peers, double their cash flow per employee and become market leaders. Simply stated, diversity is good for business. The right diversified mix will breed creative teams with innovative insights and, according to a study from CompTIA, inclusive teams make better business decisions.
While diversity is no easy feat to achieve, companies can get there by taking the following steps:
Seek Out Different Mindsets
Start with changing the mindset of the company. Allow for different views and opinions to be expressed. A fixed mindset will limit a company’s growth. A fixed belief will hold you back from making positive changes. Having a growth mindset allows for openness and opportunities to embrace new thoughts and ideas.
Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
Comfort zones can be a good thing but you will never grow beyond them. By expanding your range of comfort, you will be positioned to embrace new thoughts, ideas and realities that will help to foster change. All that is required of you is to be open to new thoughts, people and cultural differences.
Be intentional about bringing diversity into your company. It starts with having open dialogues within the company. Leaders should hire people who are different.
Another point of being intentional is being aware of your non-communicational language. We all have biases and microaggression within us. In order to have true diversity within the company, we need to be aware of our biases and microaggressions and check them at the door.
Lead With Empathy
Leaders should pay attention to their employees’ feelings. This is key in creating a culture of belonging to ensure the success of developing diverse teams. Companies will retain their employees when they feel they belong and can contribute to the company. They will then feel they have a vested interest in the company’s overall success.
Have Accountability for Change
We need to be more aware of our unconscious mindset and monitor our microaggressions and bias in order to become agents of change. If companies embrace this mindset, it’s easy to facilitate cultures of inclusivity.
Corporations must track the progress of their goals to ensure their diversity and inclusion plans are effective and flexible to change if any part of them is not effective. They should think about how they can create a culture that is innovative, creative and, of course, helps their bottom line.
Diversity should be the new norm in corporate America. It should start at the top with an honest dialogue about diversity. Bring in unlike minds to embrace the concept, understand that the status quo is not effective and embrace being uncomfortable with a new potential business prospective and paradigm. This perspective can only be achieved by leading with empathy. Businesses must learn to become intentional in their efforts. Develop a diversity and inclusive plan with the tools to measure the progress of the plan. Businesses must have accountability for their changes. They must have company-wide acceptance and be driven by all resources within the company.
Nathan Archer is director of business development at A & H Technology Group and chair of the Advancing Diversity In Technology Community.