Diversity and Inclusion: Where Do You Start?

As organizations become more diverse – culturally, economically, racially, geographically, physically and more – communications strategies are essential to ensure success. But how does one start?

What is Inclusion?

Inclusion is defined as “the act of including; the state of being included.” This is a very simple definition that becomes more complicated upon implementation within organizations. Diversity and inclusion are often paired together and are two of the most discussed topics in today’s boardrooms. However, companies rarely implement these initiatives well, most often because it is an afterthought versus an actual plan with objectives that have been clearly articulated to staff. Adding a section in your company’s handbook about creating equal opportunity for all doesn’t mean you’re an inclusive organization. Inclusivity must be woven into each aspect of your organization in order to be embraced, valued and then achieved.

But how? There is not one definitive path, but rather many different avenues to create an inclusive culture. But the first step is to talk about diversity in a way that makes it approachable and actionable. A good place to start is to simply start the conversation. There’s no need to wait until someone is uncomfortable or unhappy. Company executives should create a workplace that fosters conversations about diversity or inclusion on a regular basis.

Inclusion In Practice

After the conversation has started, there are a few important elements to consider:

  1. Lead by example: Successful strategies need to start from the top and work their way down.
  2. Develop a tailored approach: Not all work environments are the same, and there is no prescriptive approach to inclusion. Companies should involve all employees in the design and assessment of the program to ensure success.
  3. Measure success: Define what success looks like in a month, six months and so on. The key to this step is to identify attainable benchmarks.

Benefits of Inclusion

Diversity is not the end goal, but a means to a more inclusive, and more effective workplace.

According to a study done by the Boston Consulting Group:

  • Diversity in the workplace increases a company’s bottom line and profitability. 
  • Companies that have more diverse management teams generate 19% more revenue due to innovation. 
  • Diverse teams are often more successful and develop more innovative ideas, because of the unique skill sets and capabilities each person brings to the table. 

Workplace diversity is not just a politically correct way to boost your company’s brand reputation, but a way to increase company profit, reduce turnover rates, increase creativity and more.

To learn more about strategies on how to communicate to a diverse audience, join Proof Strategies on September 30th at our DC Communicators event for tips and tools that can support your organization’s efforts to connect and communicate with multicultural audiences.

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