HOW TO START A DIVERSITY INITIATIVE
Diversity & Inclusion Rationale
Making a Case for Diversity
Steps Toward Diversity and Inclusion
Preconditions for Making a Shift Toward Diversity and Inclusion
Reasons Diversity Initiatives Fails
The Diversity Training Challenge
Design, Develop, & Implement a Cultural Diversity Initiative
This information provides several lists of thought-provoking, surprisingly practical, and highly effective principles. The information originated as daily diversity lessons that subscribers receive for free (Click Here for your own subscription). They are presented as a collection here in an order we believe will walk you through the procedures.This information provides several lists of thought-provoking, surprisingly practical, and highly effective principles. The information originated as daily diversity lessons that subscribers receive for free (Click Here for your own subscription). They are presented as a collection here in an order we believe will walk you through the procedures.
DIVERSITY & INCLUSION RATIONALE
Full details in the Managing Diversity e-Coach Book.
Organizations engage in diversity and inclusion for several reasons:
1. To make up for past discrimination
2. To show that the organization is inclusive
3. To follow government regulations
4. To create organizational synergy
It does not take much thought to realize that the last reason, creating organizational synergy, is the best one.
The bottom line is today's fast-paced, constantly change, and competitive world of business is about productivity. We do not have the luxury of putting our efforts into looking good on the surface for outside agencies or social equality programs.
Synergy is about developing an environment in which each employee has an opportunity actualize personal potential while nurturing team members. Effective diversity and inclusion takes advantage of
individual and group differences by harnessing them in the service of productivity.
Assess your organization's mission and/or your diversity team's assumptions about diversity and inclusion. Make certain that the focus remains on the "bottom line."
DIVERSITY RATIONALE: Top Ten Demographic Trends
- Increase in the number of women in the workplace
- Increase in the number of people of color in the workplace
- Increase in the number of immigrants in the workplace
- Increase in the number of aging people in the workplace
- Increase in differences in workplace values
- Changing family needs of employees
- Increase in the number of employees who rely on the workplace for social life.
- Increase in the number of immigrants in the workplace
- Increase in retraining needs of employee
- Increase in tolerance for different identity groups
The Top Ten Reasons for Turning Diversity into a Corporate Asset
Effectively managing diversity and creating an organization in which differences are truly valued is more than just a good idea--it is good business. It is propelled by more than a moral imperative--it brings about a strategic advantage. Those organizations that meet the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities presented by a diverse work force will show bottom-line results and a significant edge over the competition.
- Better return on investment in human capital
- Attracting the best and the brightest
- Increased creativity
- Capitalizing on a diverse market
- Increased productivity
- Increased ability to compete in the world market
- Capitalize on available human resources
- Learn to improve diversity and inclusion capabilities
- Receive recognition from competitors
- Balance social, moral, and economic concerns in a single effort
Top Ten Steps in Making a Case for Diversity
- Interview top management about their opinions on diversity. Use the assessment to identify allies.
- Perform a cultural audit of the organization to assess hiring, retention, and promotion practices and demographics.
- Compile data about complaints, potential lawsuits, and hiring, retention, and promotion problems, current and projected customer demographics.
- Find the links between diversity and other organizational initiatives, such as top-quality management, self-managing work teams, or career development.
- Develop organization-specific arguments for diversity.
- Create tools to communicate the data and arguments.
- Understand the diversity politics of the organization enough to describe the dynamics.
- Consider whether or not to hire an outside consultant to effectively manage the initiative.
- Develop a strategy and plan for presenting the data and follow up.
- Present data to top management, including the board of directors.
Twelve Steps Toward Diversity and Inclusion
A monocultural organization must go through the following 12 steps on its road toward becoming diverse and inclusive.
- Commitment to a Long-Term Change Effort
- Commitment to the Time, Money, and Emotional Energy Needed
- Obtain Support From the Top is Critical
- Offer Only What Can Be Fulfilled
- Expect the Discomfort that Comes with Change
- Be Clear About the Depth and Breadth of the Effort
- Work to Modify the Systems the Organization Has in Place
- Help Employees Understand the Big Picture and Get Beyond Individual Needs
- Set Measurable Goals.
- Show that the Changes Lead to Something Better than the Existing State of Affairs
- Recognize that Training is Necessary but Not Sufficient
- Recognize that An End Point Does Not Exist.
Top Ten Organizational Diversity and Inclusion Beliefs
Organizations committed to diversity and inclusion work toward the goal with a core set of beliefs. These beliefs serve as a foundation for achieving their goal. The top ten beliefs are:
- Racism and other forms of oppression affect all people and systems.
- Racism has effects that hurt all individuals: Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans, Gay-Lesbians, Physically-Different, etc.
- Racism decreases productivity.
- It is possible to develop diversity and thus change the current cultural norms.
- Identifying the steps involved in developing diverse systems gives people a map to follow.
- Organizations move through cycles, not linear processes.
- Developing diversity entails an organizational and cultural effort to change.
- Developing diversity causes people and systems to be upset.
- When organizations reach a point of change, its members may get stuck, feel frightened, or feel they have completed necessary changes. These reactions limit tmediumheir ability to move forward.
- To achieve the maximum benefits of change, the process must be managed and designed strategically.
How do organizations that are serious about diversity and inclusion achieve their goal? The following is a list of preconditions that help position organizations to evolve toward diversity and inclusion.
- The leadership must understand that a diverse workforce will enrich problem-solving and embody different approaches to work. The endresult is a more productive and creative institution.
- The leadership must recognize both the learning opportunities and the challenges that different perspectives offer the organization.
- The organizational culture must promote an expectation of high standards and excellence.
- The organization must achieve a critical mass of employees with different perspectives.
- The organizational culture must stimulate personal development.
- The organization must encourage openness and trust.
- The culture must make workers feel valued.
- The organization must have a well-articulated, widely understood, and inclusive mission.
- The organization must have a relatively egalitarian, nonbureaucratic structure.
- The organization must model and reward the inclusive behaviors.
Top Ten Questions for A Staff Diversity & Inclusion Focus Group
A Focus Group is the collection of information in a group setting. For example, a group of employees and a facilitator discuss the cultural climate of their organization. Focus Groups have distinct advantages over other Diversity Audit tools. One advantage is that it permits clarification and explanation of the information being discussed. It is also more personal than surveys. Asking the right questions to receive information about diversity and inclusion is important. Below are ten crucial questions:
- What are the signs that your organization values diversity?
- What do you wish that management understood about your own group?
- What are the obstacles in the way of employees who are different from the mainstream?
- What kinds of prejudice or discrimination have you faced, if any?
- What contributions and behaviors are most valued and rewarded here?
- What behaviors of other groups are more difficult for you to deal with or most irritating.
- What do you wish that your manager understood about you?
- What do you need to do and/or know to get ahead in this organization?
- What groups are easiest for you to cooperate with? What groups are the hardest?
- What do you think the organization could do to get the most from everyone?
Top 10 Reasons Diversity OD Efforts Fails
Starting a Diversity Organizational Development effort is difficult. One way to increase the probability of success is to learn from the mistakes of others. Below is a list of sources of failure.
- Failure to establish specific goals for the Diversity OD efforts and interventions
- Failure to demonstrate sufficient courage to deal the resistance in the organization and among key managers
- Failure to specify both short- and long-term goals for the effort
- Failure to keep the real client in mind
- Failure to work with real organizational diversity needs
- Failure to be honest about what needs to be done and why
- Failure to develop viable options when ideas do not work
- Failure to solve problems by producing "quick fixes."
- Failure to work with the organization as it is rather than as you would like it to be
- Failure to measure or evaluate the activities
Other reasons include:
11. Failure to plan for and build toward the client managers' ownership of the OD effort
12. Failure to escape entrapment in the "mystique" of OD, which leads to a distorted interpretation of the OD process
13. Failure to tailor the effort to the jointly analyzed needs of the specific organization
Can you think of anything else to add to this list? If so, please send your ideas to us so we can share them.
Don't let all these negatives make you feel like the job is too big. Simply being aware that certain negative behavior patterns have the potential to negatively influence on success can help avoid such
One of the most challenging series of programs was an oil company that wanted a program for a functionally diverse group, including managers, engineers, drivers, and other support personnel who had contact with service station owners.
The service station owners were more diverse as a group that consisted of recently arrived immigrants--Turkey, Korea, Armenia, and Cuba, for example. Each training required different content, depending on the particular cultural group our trainees were encountering. But, that wasn't the most challenging. We discovered that an overlay of corporate culture issues would surface as these different functional groups came together for the first time. It required a change of approach on our part. We learned to step back and let these corporate issues get worked through by participants before we went on with the content. A lot of the participants' communication was aimed at the key people in the room.
After the first couple of training classes in this project, we decided to work with the client to actively engage these issues. We did an up-front survey of participants, to minimize surprises.
These initial interviews were often educational for the client. Then we brought Human Resource and other managers into the training sessions so we could get a discussion going. After the corporate culture issues were considered, we could proceed to general intercultural strategies and specific cultural formation.
The key was to strike balance between general intercultural information and tangible specific strategies for handling conflict--How do you tell when conflict is brewing under the surface? What do you look for so you can diffuse a situation? And finally, as part of the wrap-up, we had participants look at how they were going to apply what they'd learned--What are you going to do with this? How is it going to help you tomorrow?
Bausch & Lomb's Strategic Diversity & Staffing Office found the above information company along with the DTUI e-Newsletter so helpful in the implementation of their strategic initiative that they wrote the following:
DTUI information has been extremely useful in improving Bausch & Lomb's diversity initiative and results. The creative and insightful concepts outlined by DTUI makes the very critical link between diversity interventions and business results. Access to DTUI's information is critical to achieving our results--Clayton H. Osborne, Director, Strategic Staffing & Diversity.
As if these powerful words were not enough, Bausch & Lomb contributed $300 to DTUI's work. This money will help a needy student who aspires to become a diversity trainer.
By coupling what this information contains with your own resources, you can make similar things happen in your workplace or organization.
You can also benefit from our expertise. Taking a DTUI course will give you the considerable expertise to meet the demands of the complexities of developing and implementing a strategic diversity initiative. Click Here to learn more.
Kreicker, Noel and Frank Pasquale (1995). Diversity Training Challenges, In Cultural Diversity at Work, May (7:4), The GilDeane Group (206) 362-0336.High Impact Diversity & Inclusion Consulting (2004). DTUI Publications: San Francisco.Gardenswartz, L. & Rowe, A. (1993). Managing Diversity: A Complete Desk Reference and Planning Guide. Irwin Publications. The Managing Diversity e-Coach Book (2005), DTUI Publications: San Francisco.