Across the country, organizations are changing their internal culture to become a more equitable workplace. Our society is socially conscious, and companies are no longer exempt by global demand.
Now more than ever, there’s a big push to provide proportional representation across opportunities within an organization. Successfully done, businesses create inclusive work environments and a positive employee experience.
Here are three initial steps to drive equity in your organization.
Organizations looking to create an equitable workplace must first evaluate their current posture. Change is not possible without acknowledging that things aren’t okay. And acknowledgment leads to nowhere without action.
Self-reflection allows companies to identify areas of improvement. From there, they can execute a strategy to rectify their issues.
When we don’t address elephants in the room, others notice. Issues then grow into huge roadblocks, making work and innovation at times almost impossible. For instance, you may not want to acknowledge a lack of diversity among leadership. Regardless of your passive avoidance, your employees, customers and prospective partners can see it.
When walking into an interview room, candidates notice that they look different from everyone else interviewing them. Internal employees are aware of a lack of diversity among executives. And they live the obvious truth daily as they work within an organization without allyship, voice and representation. Sadly the issues can often result in unfair treatment and inequity in the workplace.
Adverse effects of inequity in the workplace include:
Internal pay discrepancies
Unfair decision making
Poor career development opportunities
Low employee morale
If your organization lacks equity, it’s essential to be upfront about your pitfalls rather than ignore the obvious truth. It will always be the first step in addressing issues head-on.
Creating an equal playing field in the workspace is more than checking boxes regarding culture, gender and race. It’s also about ensuring your organization has a wealth of diverse perspectives and experience.
Our thinking is limited when we don’t include thoughts beyond our vantage point, and we don't obtain a complete picture without other perspectives. The best ideas come from unique perspectives or diversity of thought, not routine thinking.
Diversity of thought offers the following organizational benefits:
Avoidance of groupthink. Organizations can make better-informed decisions when they have different sources of information. Executing objectives improves when data is processed carefully and creatively in a heterogenous setting.
Better insights. Generating innovations requires rich insight. Some of the best advances are enabled through crowdsourcing and bringing diverse human thinking to tackle challenges.
The age-old adage remains the same: change begets change.
Nothing in this world is done without action, and the same applies to business. Safe or typical thinking won’t create change in your organization. Creating a more equitable workplace starts with hiring differently.
In hiring, this can be looking outside specific geographic regions or demographics to obtain candidates. Hiring equitably can also include putting processes in place to avoid eliminating candidates based on age or length of experience. Organizations can additionally frame their searches to incorporate different markets and new talent pools.
When developing job descriptions and conducting interviews, companies can design competencies and questions to help identify cognitively diverse candidates. If you want to create real change, you’ll need to shake up the status quo with opinionated employees from different experiences.
Alongside hiring and interviewing, organizations should prioritize managing differently to inspire an equitable workplace. Facilitate open discussion on a frequent basis to create a safe environment for all. Emphasizing your employees' values, styles, ways of thinking, and approaches to problems will only break barriers to creating innovation and reversing assumptions.
Having accountability, thinking differently and making changes are just the beginning steps in creating a more fair workplace. The journey will be long with many obstacles along the way. To make significant strides, organizations must commit to equity by updating practices and executing the ideas that inspire us all.