Do you really want diversity that moves the dial on human understanding and your business – or is your diversity management program just window dressing for this year’s public relations effort?
If you are serious about diversity management, try the tough stuff:
- Broaden your definition of diversity to include all types of difference: mental, emotional, physical, spiritual, ornamental, and sartorial.
- Hire for difference, listen for difference, give opportunities to difference, and promote difference.
- Expand your talent pool by having an office locale that’s reachable via public transportation.
- Recognize that people are energized for work at different times and in different environments and push for work flexibility.
- Think back to grade school and provide training on how to work through conflicts, deal with bullies, and responsibly handle anger.
- If you deliver diversity training, make it voluntary and then have it focus on how to improve collaboration, knowledge-sharing, efficiencies.
- Devise informal diversity training. My experience as a lone white person in an African-American literature class during grad school informed me more than any sculpted training program.
- Create a stand-in policy until the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is passed.
- Review your HR policies and benefits to ensure they cover and respect difference, such as dress codes that recognize, medical benefits that cover gender changes, and pay raises for women who ask.
- Make it matter. Create accountability for statistics around hiring, engagement, development opportunities, mentoring relationships, increases, and promotions.