How to Start a Diversity and Inclusion Program

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How to Start a Diversity and Inclusion Program

Diversity and inclusion programs improve the equality of your workplace. They help organizations to meet compliance obligations, generate higher morale amongst employees, and have financial returns above industry medians. Yet, countless companies struggle to enact training that’ll advance their culture. If you’re ready to get started, keep reading! We’ll provide actionable tips that help you create a successful program. 

How Does a Diversity and Inclusion Program Benefit Your Company?

Diversity and inclusion programs are springing up everywhere. Are you still skeptical that they’re worth it? Here are some of the benefits that’ll get you ready to establish one. 

  1. Diversity and inclusion programs address biases and prejudices within a workplace
  2. Diversity and inclusion programs ensure that training is successful because it helps tailor it to your company’s needs
  3. Diversity and inclusion programs lead to great innovation in the workplace 
  4. Diversity and inclusion programs make it easier to recruit top talent 
  5. Diversity and inclusion programs boost employee engagement 
  6. Diversity and inclusion programs help to improve a brand’s image 

Steps to Create a Diversity and Inclusion Initiative 

Step 1: Conduct an internal census

Before your organization implements a diversity and inclusion program, you must first conduct an internal census to better understand your demographic make-up as a company. you should include information from all the major federal and state-protected groups. These include: 

  • Race 
  • Gender
  • Religion affiliation 
  • Disability
  • Sexual orientation 
  • Age
  • Nationality 
  • Education level
  • Years of experience 
  • Family status 
  • Languages spoken 

Step 2: Identify areas of concern 

Once you’re armed with data on your workforce, you can begin to identify areas of improvement. Remember, your data should lead to this. For example, reviewing your data may reveal where there are areas of underrepresentation. Take this information and use it to devise strategies for change. 

If you’re having trouble identifying issues at your company, here are some common ones related to diversity and inclusion. 

  • Underrepresentation in leadership 
  • Resistance to change 
  • Unconscious bias in hiring 

Step 3: Implement diversity and inclusion training 

Now that you know where the problems lie, you must communicate them to your staff along with strategies for change. This is often done best through diversity and inclusion training. This can help create a more inclusive culture, change policies and practices, and reduce biased practices and microaggressions in the workplace. Diversity and inclusion are the work of every single employee — train them all! Don’t leave anyone out. 

Final Thoughts

Congrats! You’ve put in the work to start a diversity and inclusion program. Follow up your efforts by measuring the results, so you can learn whether the program is achieving its intended purpose. Look for representation among groups, employee survey scores, employee retention, and public recognition. Continue this process by using a diversity calendar to ensure inclusion and awareness occurs throughout the year. These are some of the indicators that can help you see if you’re moving in the right direction. Keep the progress going!