Ten Diversity Tips
By Simma Lieberman
1. Create processes to make people who are different from you feel welcome and included in your organization, and then use the media to alert potential employees that you are a welcoming inclusive employer.
2. Mentor people who are from different cultural or ethnic backgrounds or a different gender. It will help you become more comfortable with other people and will help your staff grow in their careers.
3. Incorporate ideas from other cultures to solve problems and be more innovative.
4. Use resources already in place and research what other organizations have done to be successful. Develop relationships with employee affinity groups and keep them apprised of any openings.
5. Provide cross-cultural communication training to help staff work well together and serve the client population more effectively.
6. Survey and interview staff across demographics to determine their needs to create a strategic plan for retention and increased recruitment under represented populations.
7. Examine your definition of leadership qualities to include ways in which people who have different thought processes and communication styles can lead. If you have been hierarchical in the past, start learning people with consensus styles can also be effective leaders and do not exclude them from the recruiting process.
8. Conduct exit interviews and identify patterns and themes if they exist. Be willing to change to accommodate and use new ideas and creativity.
9. Be aware of your own biases and stereotypes and their impact on the environment Participate in high-level diversity training. Rethink your beliefs that a candidate should always have direct eye contact, be a certain weight or height, speak the way you do, have children, be single, lead in only one way, not be in a wheelchair, not be hearing impaired, etc. Unless there are physical requirements to being able to do the job, don't let your biases exclude excellent candidates.
10. Always send a recruiting team who have been trained in diversity and inclusion awareness and are willing to go beyond their comfort zone to attract the best candidates.