With the summer season well behind us, many employees are finding themselves coming into the office more frequently. Especially since the pandemic began in March 2020. In fact, according to a recent Workhuman study, “48.8% of workers are headed back to the office full-time.”
The change in routine and number of hours being clocked in the office has everyone hyper-focused on how their organizations’ DEI efforts have evolved over the last 18 months. And what role their company’s DEI strategies, training and mindset play in the overall employee experience and leadership development.
In a recent LinkedIn poll we conducted, we asked individuals, “How are you feeling about your organization’s DEI efforts?” 50% of participants answered that their organization was making strides but progress was still needed. With all the work organizations have been doing and continue to do, we wonder why employees are still feeling that progress is still needed. What might be missing from DEI initiatives that create gaps between theory and practice?
Whether you’re a leader or an employee, everyone has a role to play in ensuring your organization is living up to its mission to build a more inclusive and equitable workplace.
Here are 5 ways we believe you (and those you influence) can close some of these gaps:
#1: Build a sense of belonging
Micro-aggressions like covering and code-switching can have a lasting negative impact on an individual’s overall growth, success and sense of inclusion in the workplace. If you witness someone struggling or feeling overwhelmed by a task, then offer to help, ask questions that work to build the confidence they need to get back on track. If that person is you, consult with a colleague, coach, or a leader. And remember that taking risks is essential for career growth and self worth. As Vernā states: “Stop worrying and start being. Give more energy to being your true and full self.”
#2: Become an ally
Everyone can use an ally in the workplace. An ally is someone to help with those feelings of exclusion and inequality. They are someone who can help you fight the good fight of inclusion. Whether you are born with inherent privilege or in a decision-making leadership role, your ability to influence makes you the ideal ally or sponsor for someone looking to get a step ahead in their career path. Leveraging your privilege for good by becoming an ally for those who may be at an unfair disadvantage, can help to make employees feel like they are important to the overall success of the organization.
#3: Lead inclusively
We can’t stress it enough, “Leaders have a unique opportunity to lead differently.” As a leader, you are faced with the unprecedented task of knowing how to lead a team differently than you did just 2 years ago. It’s an opportunity for leaders to change the way they approach conversations around bias and inclusion in the workplace. In order to do so, leaders must understand the complexities around leading a diverse team. Check out Vernā’s 5 Rules for Leadership that are still very relevant in today’s post-pandemic climate.
#4: Practice fair & effective interviewing
As Vernā once stated “If an organization is going to be innovative, competent, and relevant moving forward, it starts with being intentional and conscientious about who they hire—and why.” A diverse workforce is vital to an organization’s success. Diversity brings different perspectives, spurs innovation, enhances problem-solving, and introduces new skills and markets. But to attract new, diverse talent, as an organization you must, as they say, “walk the talk” in the interview process. These days job candidates are keenly aware of the DEI smoke and mirrors that organizations may falsely or inaccurately portray.
#5: Continue DEI training
Whether you’re back part time or full time, the workplace is a very different place than it used to be. And building an inclusive workplace is more important than ever – especially if you’re a leader. There’s no better time than today to continue or jump start your diversity and inclusion training journey. Need a little help? Be sure to check out our Masterclass bundle! Packed with all the tools you need to identify your unique cultural lens and those of your colleagues. Let’s work together to create a more inclusive workplace today.