HR Professionals: How to bring awareness of D&I to your workplace

How Diversity and Inclusion Impact HR

In the world of Human Resources (HR), working with company leaders to create an environment where people are the company’s competitive advantage is a common goal for many HR professionals. As an HR professional and keeper of the culture, making sure that a focus on people is ever present ensures that a company maintains or improves their competitive advantage. As associates build relationships in collaboration with peers and leadership, their level of engagement improves since they feel valued by the company. As this happens, there’s a shift in values and a noticeable improvement in contribution and ownership of the job. Companies that focus on the equation of “diversity+equity+inclusion= Belonging” realize superior business results and outperform those that do not excel in this area

Companies that really focus on diversity and inclusion make sure they are incorporated into their values. These companies know how important it is for people to be their competitive advantage and they take the right steps to make that happen. When decisions are made, it is important to consider how those choices will impact people. Businesses that put people first stand out from their competitors.

D&I and HR are intertwined. In all decisions that impact people, a D&I focus should be the starting and ending point. Making sure that policies and procedures, employment decisions and employee relations are inclusive of everyone is key to having a strong business. Knowing how these decisions impact daily work and operating in an environment where business leaders are understanding and empathic to each associate’s individual needs create an atmosphere where associates like coming to work, which leads to the competitive advantage business are seeking.

When a company is hiring individuals to fill leadership roles, HR should oversee the process to make sure those individuals value diversity and inclusion and are aligned to business values. If leaders do not share the same values, they are not able to foster the culture the company is driving. It is crucial for HR and business leaders to select the right people for these roles.

It is also important to bring awareness to diversity and inclusion to all associates across the organization- not just leaders. Hosting various training sessions for associates helps to make sure there is common understanding. It also makes it easier for associates to relate to one another and understand everyone comes from different backgrounds and cultures.These training sessions help develop a cohesive team that works together, and a team that works together is best for the business.

If you are assessing your company’s diversity and inclusion efforts, some things to consider would be:

  • Associate/Employee Resource Groups - Does your company have resource groups for underrepresented groups? (Women, Black/African American, LGBTQ+, Veterans, Differently Abled/Disabilities, Hispanic/Latino)

  • Recruiting Events - does the company attend a multitude of events that attract individuals from a diverse range of backgrounds?

  • Open Door Policy - are associates able to bring up concerns in a safe space and feel like what they have to say really matters?

  • Training - is training available to bring awareness to unconscious bias and cultural differences?

  • Accountability - are leaders expected to operate in an inclusive manner that values diversity?

To wrap things up, every company wants a highly engaged workforce that creates a competitive advantage. In order to achieve this, the company must recognize the value that diversity and inclusion bring and work to support these efforts in all decisions that are made.

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