Do you long to do more for racial equality in your business? Then move past hiring and consider other ways your company culture may become a shining employer of choice in the Alameda community.
Many business owners are currently wondering how they might get more involved in the conversations about race and creating a culture that celebrates diversity. When conversations about racial equality in the workplace arise, the first area of consideration is usually hiring practices.
But that’s just the minimum of what the law requires.
There’s a lot more to building a culture of diversity than hiring practices. Consider the following:
Encourage Difficult Conversations
We cannot heal without acknowledging a problem and we can’t acknowledge a problem if we feel uncomfortable talking about it. The only way to become comfortable is to create a forum to discuss employee concerns. Doing so can feel like you’re opening Pandora’s Box at first. But that will be defused if everyone has a goal of good communication guided by respect. In the long run, this will create a much more inclusive environment where issues of all kinds will be discussed.
Host Events Everyone Will Enjoy
If you are hosting after-hours activities for employees and you are not listening to the kinds of things that your employees want to do, and rotating through their suggestions, you could be inadvertently favoring one group over another.
Make Room for Everyone at the Table
Departmental groups and multi-level meetings can help ensure everyone’s voice is heard. On the other hand, when you segregate meetings based on obvious job duties or titles, you may not be hearing from everyone. For instance, if you’re redesigning your website and only use input from marketing and not customer service or other departments, you may be missing some valuable input.
Recruit in a Variety of Places
How does your business recruit employees? Is it an ad in the paper or do you solely use online resources? How you recruit deeply affects your pool of candidates, which in turn affects diversity.
Ensure Your Target Market and Employees Resemble One Another
If you want to make sure that your employees understand your ideal customer think about recruiting for similar people. Who you market to should be (at least partially) represented among employees.
Use Stats and Stories
A possible disconnect between management and other employees comes into their use of stats or stories. Decision-makers tend to favor stats because stats support goals easier than stories do.
While statistics provide good information, employees who are always charged with finding stats to back up their arguments will likely at some point decide it’s just not worth bringing issues to management. They may feel put off and unappreciated if they need stats to be heard. Instead, you want to find a happy balance between stats and stories, especially since the frontline will have more of the latter, and you want to ensure their voices are heard.
Create a Place People Want to Be
Finally, another common problem employers face when it comes to diversity is they stress the wrong thing. They want existing employees to make new employees feel welcome in the current environment or culture.
Instead, businesses should plot a course for where they want to be as a culture and hire people accordingly so that together the new and the old can create the type of atmosphere that people want to be a part of.
Most adult professionals want to treat colleagues fairly and want to have meaningful friendships in the workplace. Where most businesses fail is in not creating the kind of environment where everyone feels comfortable. Instead, they try to lecture employees on what to do and not do. What they should be looking at is the culture. They should strive to create a business that attracts more diversity because it’s a great place for everyone. Simply telling people to be more tolerant won’t create that type of atmosphere.