I believe that we are at an inflection point with organizational diversity and inclusion efforts.
What got us to this point is not likely enough to take us forward. It’s time to hit the reset button on some of the mindsets and practices we apply to this work. Whether you are just getting started, trying to breathe new life into a stalled out effort or chasing greater impact, here are some potential “next practices” for your team, department or organization.
Clarity is one of your best and most underrated friends. If “diversity,” and “inclusion” mean something different to everyone, you do not have a common language. It means you will fight an uphill battle. Take your language back! Proactively provide concise, common language so that everybody is talking about the same thing when the words diversity and inclusion are used.
There are good people in the world–you are probably one of them. Good people are open-minded, nonjudgmental and without bias. Then, of course, there are bad people. Bad people are close-minded, biased and judgmental, right?
A lot of folks and a lot of organizations are still wrapped up in this antiquated mindset. We know enough today about human beings — and especially the human brain — to know that there is no such thing as a nonjudgmental human being. People are automatically and naturally judgmental as humans, no hatred or fear is required. Rather than proclaiming our “goodness,” talent advisors can actually use insights from behavioral science to mitigate the bias that shows up naturally.
Bias is running amok inside our existing talent practices. Behavioral science is your secret weapon.
As the eyes are the window to the soul, how you make decisions says a lot about your culture and about what is valued. Do you intentionally bring a diversity of experiences, identities and perspectives together to fuel your decision-making and problem-solving efforts? Intentional and evidence-based decision-making processes will help you rethink your diversity and inclusion strategies.
Greater potential for tension and conflict is one of the natural by-products of greater diversity. Conflict, done the right way, can be incredibly valuable. Do you do it the right way? Or do you avoid it all costs? Or is it a disaster? Without a robust mix of inputs and an intentional process, it is pretty hard for groups of humans to avoid groupthink. Embrace conflict, and if you can’t, find someone who can help you mediate the difficult discussions in your company.
TRULY HIRING for Inclusion
You might be in the midst of an effort to bring more diversity into your applicant pool. You may be trying to remove bias from the hiring decision. Are you also hiring for inclusion? Diversity and inclusion are truly important to your organization, yet many of your employees are incredulous when they “have to talk about diversity yet again!” Make sure that expectations of inclusive behaviors are clear in job descriptions, interviews, onboarding, performance reviews, succession planning and promotion processes.
Where Do We Go From Here?
Much is changing in the world of work. Our tools and organizational strategies are changing. How we communicate and share resources is changing. The very meaning of the word “talent” is changing. HR and recruiting professionals must look around and radically transform their approach to diversity and inclusion. I hope the “next practices” that I provided to you are helpful when you have an opportunity to do just that.